A Crush

One of my students has a crush on me. No doubt, this is a common occurrence and hardly noteworthy in circles occupied by teachers, but it’s new to me, and thus, good fun.

Her name is Toshie and she is one of my grade nine students. Each time I have been at her school, my presence around her has induced giggles and blushing a plenty, but this most recent sojourn to Hagishou Jr. High has seen her step up her level of involvement.

Last week, while engaging in snow-based combat with my students after lunch, a sing-song yell of ‘I love you Darby-sensei!’ chimed from the school balcony over the battle cries and sounds of snowballs slapping exposed heads. Ok. Well, I guess I can play along with a harmless crush, ‘I love you too!’ Screams and delighted giggles followed.

Yesterday, in her class, I was asking questions to each student such as ‘Where do you live?’ and ‘What are you going to do next Sunday?’ All these questions are from a set list and I was randomly choosing questions for each student.

When I reached Toshie, I randomly chose, ‘Do you want to go abroad?’ She happily responded with the canned answer of ‘Yes, I do.’ Now, this question comes with a couple of follow up questions. Next on the list is, ‘Where do you want to go?’ Her face beginning to flush, she answered, ‘I want to go to Canada.’

Before I asked the third question, I naively thought to myself, ‘Cool, she wants to go to my home country. I wonder why.’ And so I asked the follow-up, ‘Why do you want to go there?’

Before finishing, my naivet’ had faded and I already knew the answer to her question. I couldn’t stifle my laughter and neither could the rest of the class. By this point, Toshie was as red as the bars of the Canadian flag. Her classmates giggled at her and she slapped back at them while laughing at her predicament.

But, brave girl that she is, she managed to regain her composure long enough to ignore the hilarity surrounding her and blurt out her reply, ‘To meet Darby-sensei!’ Laughter and applause erupted in the classroom while the red-faced girl re-took her seat. My belly ached from laughing with all the kids.

The next morning, in between classes, Toshie appeared in the teachers’ room and stopped me as I passed her. She handed me a miniature envelope sealed with a sticker featuring the faces of her and a friend while adequately delivering a, ‘This is for you.’ She also passed me a small, hand-stitched Hello Kitty head with a little, green bowtie. In her other hand she held another of these most-beloved Japanese icons with a pink bow-tie. She pointed to the one she had just given, ‘This is you’ and at her own feline friend, ‘This is me.’

Before I could finish expressing my gratitude, she had giggled her way out the door.

In the Hello Kitty envelope written on Hello Kitty paper was a note that read as follows:

‘Dear Darby

Thank you very much for everything. You are so cool, so I am in love with you. We can’t meet some days. I’ll miss you. I’m looking forward to seeing you again. Do come back to see us.

Lots of love,


Not only is that that the cutest thing in the world, but the English is pretty good too!

So, to Toshie, I want to thank you for providing the most memorable and uplifting moments of an otherwise grey week.

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