Yesterday my 3rd years graduated. Whatever that means, because I'm pretty sure about half of them couldn't have had more than about a 50% GPA by American standards. Oh well.
At graduation they were perfect little angels, but for the last two years they've been a pain in my (and every other teacher's) ass. They're obnoxious, rude, and seem to actively try not to learn anything. It's been tough.
However as I said goodbye to them yesterday, and actually experienced a positive outpouring of emotion so rare in Japan, I was reminded of all the good times we've had together. We've shared very brief, very simple conversations in English. Mostly about the size of my penis or the color of my pubic hair (boys) or if I've done my girlfriend recently or which 3rd year girl would I like to have sex with (girls)...but conversation nonetheless.
Most importantly, however, I was reminded of one big thing. I was reminded that each and every one of those little shits is exactly what I love(d) about youth. They're rebellious, angry, cocky, alive... how can I fault them? The truth is I don't. It took me until now to realize it, but they're what kids really need to be. Untrusting of adults, willing to experiment and test boundaries. They're EXACTLY what kids need to be, especially in Japan.
Now if they'd had a bit more of a penchant for study of course I'd be happier, but I'd just finished with having almost an entire class of punks (in one form or another), and that made be incredibly proud and happy.
Too bad I had to play the role of their "man" too long to figure this all out...