September 8 2013
Yeah, it’s been a long long time since the conversation was held, incidentally between me and Mr. Jo. Mr. Joseph, to be exact. Don’t know him? Well, he’s one of our teachers in EF, which is tall, white-skinned, blue-eyed (or maybe green, I forgot), blonde (or maybe red, or may I say ginger?). With a little mustache above his lips. And… I thought he would give such an excellent first impression to us, his new students. Since Mr. Edward was away for two weeks to London, attending his friend’s wedding party and became the best man there, being home sick of Jakarta (which I found out that wasn’t true. Bet Mr. Chris lied again to us), Mr. Jo replaced his honoured position to become our teacher, for a day.
Mr. Chris had been twice replacing him. I didn’t come on his first day teaching, that was surprising for me because I thought Ms. Emma would replace Mr. Ed. I forgot that she actually had a class to handle, filled with girls students who are adoring Mr. Edward like shit!
Enough of that. On the day Mr. Jo was scheduled to teach us, I think he wore the best clothes he picked for this special day. Wow, he looked so formal! More formal and more neat than Mr. Chris and Mr. Edward ever did. He was so cool and handsome, wait until you know what’s going on after this. The figure of the handsomeness was gone forever when we, me and Atnas, heard what he said about us.
“You don’t know about this because you don’t wanna learn. It’s because you’re too stupid.”
Yeah, he called us two, stupid. Ridiculous, huh? It’s his first time with us and he made it worse than we ever thought in the eye of Atnas, at least of Atnas. As a psychologist (soon-to-be), I have to be neutral around this kind of people. Understand his unique character, and not to judge about anything of his special trait.
It was somewhat an introduction between a new teacher and his new students for a while. He was mumbling about something we could hardly hear and then ended up with me asking him to introduce himself. “Oh, my name is Jo. My real name is Joseph. Can you spell my name correctly? Most of my students misspelled it.”
Well, for me, it’s a piece of cake. There’s a common spelling for Joseph. “I can. J-O-S-E-P-H.”
Guess what? He looked astonished! He didn’t believe that I could do it. “Wow, wonderful! Exactly. You know what? My students will spell it with F. So, it’s J-O-S-E-F. I’m surprised that you knew Greek system.” I didn’t know I was just guessing Greek.
Then, he appeared as a very intelligent and knowledgeable person. I must admit that I’m surprised of his unusual hobby, read books. Other than books for his major, Animation whatever. He reads psychology, maths, social, science, art, music, religion, politics, everything. How could I know? I asked him. After long minutes of him blabbering about his knowledge, everything he knew, I suspected something. He’s a damn reader.
“In my spare time,” he started, “I read books. Everything I like. Not just books about animation studies, all books I’m interested in.”
“How do you find your spare time when you’re so busy at college?”
“I don’t know. I just find it.”
What a good answer.
Why you say it’s unusual? Not for me. I’m also a reader, folks. But, I hardly find times to do what I like because all I have to read now is psychology books, in the name of quick graduation. Aamiin. It’s unusual for me because I’m used to ‘unique’ hobbies that my teachers have. Going out drinking wine, partying, traveling around the world, those kinds of things. Joseph? Reads books? Sounds good. Finally, I had someone to talk to.
He speaks very fast, you know. He can start from the unit we gotta learn for that day then go to another subject that isn’t related to anything in the unit. Sometimes, he slips another jokes or insults to respond something that is written on the text book. For example, in one number of exercise, there’s a question that asked, “In the thought exercise described in the last paragraph, water symbolizes….”
a. Human stupidity
b. Global warming
I’m so smart that I answered pollution. We were talking about geoengineering as a possible answer for global warming in this hot and polluted world. But, I didn’t realize when he stood beside me and started talking about the answer. “It can be human stupidity. Though I know it’s not the right answer, yes. But, it makes more sense.”
Sir, just do the exercise!
When I was about to continue, he read paragraphs on the text. He read so fast that I couldn’t catch which paragraph he was reading. My eyes scanned through the words until some seconds. I tried to make him stop, you know what? It disturbed me. I was so distracted.
I felt that we were so connected to each other. Since we’re on the same line of awkwardness and weirdness, I have no problem with him. While Atnas chose to stay in silence. I tried making some ice-breaks by making her mingle with us. I joined her in some of our jokes (I can understand that some of it was too much I couldn’t stand myself at, but hey, appreciate it. At least, he wanted us to be happy, with his sarcasm jokes)
Shortly, after class, Atnas finally confessed that Mr. Jo was….”So weird! He blabbered things I don’t know. He was a show-off by delivering us all he knew.” Don’t forget about the quiz, dear. The themes were art, music, religion, science, social, politics…
I’m not surprised of her confession. Once again, I positioned myself as a (soon-to-be) psychologist. One crazy thing I’d found on him was his wide laughter, after he offended us with his sarcasms, then he laughed for himself. I told Atnas that, his laughter was surprising. We swore at each other that he’s the weirdest living thing we’d ever met!
But, then, an idea came cross through my mind. If he was so smart, then I could ask him about everything. EVERYTHING. Maybe he knew things I’d been wondering about. Maybe, his knowledge could help me!
Well, he didn’t teach us at Thursday. It was Mr. Chris. Some yeay, but some noo echoed in my brain. I was hoping that Mr. Jo could teach us again this day, which was extremely refused by Atnas, and some girls after knowing our “whaaaat” experience with Mr. Jo.
Days after the whaaaat moment, I met Mr. Jo on the hallway, on his own way to his class, said “hi!” and everything. Until, one day, when we’re met by God in front of my class, waiting for it to be empty so I could sit down then run through the hall to the mosque before start the lesson. He was out from his class, while I was still standing in front of my class, seeing through inside that it was sat by children. Children!!!??
“Hi, Mr. Jo!” I greeted, just like the one you’ll do if you wanna get recognized. He smiled at me and he stopped. “Hey, you’ll be taught by Mr. Chris, ya?”
“Ya, it’s been twice,” I answered.
“How is it to be taught by him? Was he a fun teacher?” Oh, man! He’s amazing, so adorable, so funny, so laid-back. unlike you. Except the part when you cursed too much at us while Mr. Ed and Mr. Chris won’t allow us to, even they have a swear box to charge us Rp500,00 for each cursing. Of course, I didn’t say that.
I was gasped for a while as he asked me that. I’ve never been so honest to almost everybody about Mr. Chris. The way he teaches us, his personality, his clothes, his cut-off dreadlocks. I would say, “Oh, he’s really fun, really funny. I’ve never met teacher like that in my life.” And that’s true.
I’ve never met teachers like Mr. Chris, Mr. Ed, and Mr. Jo. I’ve met many teachers like Mr. Aaran and Mr. Euan, which are so boring. “Well,” I answered after swallowed a little, “I like him. Every teacher has its own way of teaching, they’re unique. So is Mr. Chris, he’s very unique.” What bullshit was I telling him? Just say he’s unique, enough. Why was I chattering like a pro? It wasn’t a seminar, after all.
He just smiled, again. Theeeen, I offered this question to him. Though, I guessed I already knew the answer, “Why aren’t you teaching us again, Sir? Is it because we’re too stupid for you?”
Yeah, he laughed at first. He continued. “Yeah, I can’t stand teaching at your class. Maybe it’s because of my level of intelligence was too high for you guys or your standards were too low for me that you’re too stupid for me I’m afraid you couldn’t catch my lesson.”
I set up a disappointing expression, just for fooling around him. I’m sure whoever sees me like this will crack up, and yeah, he cracked up. “Sorry, I was just kidding.” I know, me too. “It was fun teaching at your class,” every teacher who has experienced teaching there said so, so I must admit that we’re that damn cool! “But, I guess I gotta give another teacher a chance to teach here, so I gave this opportunity to Mr. Chris.”
Bullshit! He’s been so busy teaching in business class, Sir. He was also a model for EF next flyers and posters, he said so. I hope this one is true. Once again, definitely, I didn’t say these things. And one more, Sir, he’s the cause of the craziness in our class. So, he’s our daddy!
“Beside, I’ll end my contract at September 25th. So, I have to go back to London.”
“Then, I’ll teach again in another Asia countries. Maybe, Korea or Japan.”
Oh. Well, we’re gonna miss you.
Moral of this story is that, no matter how much you hate weirdos, they always have special something about you, which someday you will keep inside your heart. Those positive responds I’ve accepted about our class, that we’re so well-said (but Mr. Jo said that our class was the most distracting in the whole school ;( ) fill me with joys and blessings. Once again, we’re united for a purpose. And here we are, we’re known as we are. Nobody denies it, I’m so happy. I hope that there’s never a negative thought about us.
If there is, I will be the one who apologizes first.
Also, no matter how crispy someone’s jokes are, appreciate it. At least, they’re trying to make us happy. Laugh at it, so we give them the happiness they expected from us.
At the end of the course, with Mr. Jo, the quiz I mentioned in many paragraphs before, was given according to our ages. “How old are you?” he asked Atnas. “Fifteen,” she said.
When it’s my turn, he asked mine. “Nineteen.”
“Then, I can give you much difficult questions!”
“I regret it! I should’ve said thirteen!”
Before we went home, he really wanted us to ask about his age. So, he asked. “You think, how old am I?”
“But, you’re almost right. I’m twenty-three.”
See, I’m so smart!