There always seems to be one student who finds a really solid connection with me in the first few days of the school year. It's one of those, "You like that thing? I like that thing! No one else even knows about that thing!" situations that always makes me smile and nod while other students stand by with confused faces.
Today one of my quieter students pulled me aside after science class and pointed to the wall above my desk.
"I know you like cartoons, Mr. Bertoli, but have you ever heard of Anime?" he said with a faint glimmer of hope.
I almost laughed. "Oh yeah!" I exclaimed as I nodded enthusiastically, "I watch Anime all the time with my wife. I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z and all sorts of Japanese shows."
He literally dropped his books at this point, "No way! What's your favorite?"
"Probably Samurai Champloo or Cowboy Bebop... or Death Note... maybe Trigun. I guess I have lots of favorites," I told him as helped him pick up his spilled materials.
"Have you seen Sword Art Online? That's my favorite."
"I have. In fact I just got caught up last night. Have you see any of SAO2?"
He hadn't. But he told me that he was going to ask for a subscription to "Crunchable" for his birthday. I'm sure he meant "CrunchyRoll", but I didn't want to squash his enthusiasm.
Every time I saw him in the hallway today he asked me about another show.
"Kill la Kill?"
As we filed down for the busses he caught up to me and said, "I can tell we're going to be good friends, Mr. Bertoli. Anime friends. No one else really knows about it or wants to talk to me about it."
I told him I would gladly discuss anime with him as long as it wasn't taking away from class time. He practically skipped to the bus and then turned back around to wave at his new "anime friend". As a teacher these are the kind of connections I live for. Ones that help me reach students on a personal level and motivate them in a meaningful way.
So I guess it's time to do my homework and catch up on the newest Anime.