We all know where the devil is, of course. In the details.
So what I have managed to get out of Me First in the past couple of days (and it hasn’t been easy) is this:
A) Three boys are kicking, punching, hitting him etc., when the teacher is not looking.
This may be hard to understand if you are in a country where kids are even remotely supervised, but kids here are left to their own devices a lot: break time between classes, when the class is moving to music class or English class, during lunch clean-up, etc.
B) Me First tried to tell the teacher on one occasion. His response was that he didn’t see what happened, he had the boys give their version of events (in front of each other) and apologize to each other. Me First didn’t tell me because he was made to feel that he was wrong (by apologizing.) After that he felt that the teacher wouldn’t listen. He is afraid the other boys will get him back if he tells.
I also have felt the teacher minimized my concerns on several occasions. (Does anyone else remember the ruler incident?)
C) Me First is not the only boy being hit or kicked, though he said he “gets it the most.”
D) At least one of the other boys is taunting him by calling him “gaikokujin” and “America-jin” in a mean way.
That last one is kind of the clincher for me. Hitting, kicking, stupid stuff like that? Boys do that shit. It isn’t nice to talk about, but they do. But the name calling and picking on someone who is “different” crosses another line, doesn’t it?
I heard this boy say this to Me First at the beginning of the year. (This kid has poor social skills, I think I think I mentioned before. Even 2nd graders should no better than to do stuff like that in front of the other kid’s mom, right?) Me First seemed to handle it well, explained calmly that he wasn’t actually “gaikokujin.” The other boy seemed to get bored and walked off. Me First didn’t get that the other boy was trying to be mean to him, so I let it slide. Perhaps I shouldn’t have.
Anyway, sorry to keep going round and round like this. I’m still trying to get my head around it, and steal myself against what I expect to be another minimizing reaction from the teacher. An absolute disgust tears through me when I think that this little boy, who I gave birth to and nursed and cuddled, have fretted over and laughed with, who has given me great joy and more than a few gray hairs, that other children think this boy is an object for their ridicule and abuse. And right now, just thinking about his teacher makes me feel sick to my stomach. He taught for 34 years. How many other children did he ignore?
But I’m being dramatic.
It doesn’t help matters that I feel like I’m being set up, again, to play the role of Hysterical Angry Foreign Woman, aka Kaya What’s-her-name and just about any other foreign woman on TV here. Even the “half-talent,” even the old ones, like Helen What’s-her-name who are over sixty and have never lived anywhere else, are presented that way.
Maybe I can work it in my favor.