KABUKI LESSONS BY DAVID LOHREY29 Jun 2017, Posted by Poetry in
Art: “My Bowl is Full” by Riikka Fransila
Japanese praise role-playing above all else.
If the teacher acts like a teacher, and looks like a teacher,
he is deemed to be a teacher. Dress the part. Polish your shoes.
Students take their cue from the act. If you act like a teacher,
they will in turn act like students.
This has nothing to do with teaching, of course,
and nothing to do with learning. The act is the outcome.
The performance is what is rated, not the applause.
There are no gods of caring. Passion is frowned upon.
You’re expected to come in everyday for the duration of your career.
That’s what teachers do. Caring too much is seen as a sign of malfeasance,
a possible illness. You can teach your heart out, but if you leave early,
they’ll call you lazy. Interference is a form of molestation.
You don’t call the parents when daughter forgets her homework.
You don’t call the police if she comes in with bruises.
You mind your own business.
People will wonder why you care, and she better not be cute.
If you talk to the boys, they’ll figure you’re a homo. They’ll be concerned.
Stand back, and do your job. Your job is to go through the motions.
Attend commencement, accept flowers at graduation, smile.
Don’t laugh or cry, that’s not professional.
Look busy; you don’t have to do anything.
Don’t complain. Don’t offer suggestions for improvements.
Don’t talk about student needs. Come in at 7 and leave after 5.
You’ll do fine. Don’t whine.
Prepare to be surprised: My top engineering student aged 19 asked me
why all Americans eat McDonald’s, breakfast, lunch and dinner,
seven days a week. “Don’t you get tired of eating the same thing?”
“Do you have fish in your rivers?” “Have you ever eaten rice?”
Tell them you’re dying to try. Smile.
About the author:
David Lohrey grew up in Memphis. His poetry can be found in Otoliths, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Easy Street and New London Writers. In addition, recent poems have been anthologized by the University of Alabama (Dewpoint), Illinois State University (Obsidian) and Michigan State University (The Offbeat). Work can also be found in The Stony Thursday Book (Limerick) and Hidden Channel Zine (Mall Sligo). David is a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective in Houston. Recent fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Brilliant Flash Fiction and Every Writer. He teaches in Tokyo.
“My Bowl is Full” by Riikka Fransila, Helsinki, Finland, @vintageart_originals.