Today I had another class with Awesome-sensei. I was totally bewildered to discover that our second class, he expected me to pretty much lead by myself. (Our first 'real' lesson together, we were kind of a tag-team) I managed to make my way through that. This time, he told me he was going to explain the grammar, and basically do it by himself. Which was cool. I tagged along anyway, just to spectate and "help the students with their worksheets," which turned out to be a small scale but fairly important job.
The worksheet part reminded me of being a sub in elementary school, attempting to get a handle on the material myself enough to present it to thirty squirming elementary schoolers... wishing I or anyone had a spare second to explain it in two different ways and walk the slow kids through it. But I couldn't abandon the class as a whole for that one kid. Here, though, Awesome-sensei and I were a fair team again. He would point out which students would be needing the most help, and I'd step-by-step them through the questions until the lightbulbs went off and they could just do it.
It made me really happy, to see the kids getting it right. One reason they were getting it right was because Awesome-sensei explains the hell out of that grammar.
It's fascinating to me to watch him teach. I honestly feel like I'm learning on both fronts.. first, I'm learning Japanese. I keep getting reminded of stuff I learned, and occasionally stuff I've heard around Japan. It's amazing to see it going the other way, as I recall what life was like in my Japanese class years back. I keep reminding myself, I was in college then, not middle school, so the atmosphere is different. Still, learning a new language brings you to about toddler level anyway, so there we all go. Secondly, I'm learning how language gets taught here, how teachers interact with the students and the material, and make the students interact with the material. It's really fascinating to see him using those colors of chalk like a champion. And everything he's explaining is right (teachers occasionally make mistakes). Even the stuff not in the textbook.
Seriously. He taught them the word "whom," briefly, and then moved right on to "that." Because we don't really say whom all that often. But it's good to know it exists.