Just before the beginning of one of my classes today, two male students got into a bit of a tussle at the back of the classroom.
Since that particular class is mostly boys, they often horse around so I didn't realize they were fighting for real until just before/right around the time my JTE rushed back there to break things up.
I don't know the particulars, but it seems like there was some sort of mutual misunderstanding--and seemingly with some sort of build-up from earlier--that just escalated. It wasn't the conflict itself that really struck me, however, but the aftermath/resolution.
After my JTE heard both of them out (this was at the back of the classroom while the rest of the students were diligently doing questions from their workbooks with me supervising/helping), both of the boys started crying.
And it wasn't because they were hurt. They were crying because they were upset/remorseful about the fight. (When their homeroom teacher talked to them about it, both of them said they felt that they had been in the wrong.) Even after their injuries (minor) had been tended to, apologies had been made, and class had resumed, both of them were still sniffling for a fair period of time.
It sounds a bit odd to say this, but I've got to admit that I thought it was rather cute/admirable. I mean, I've had elementary students come to me crying while apologizing for tearing the corner of one of my flashcards (I didn't even notice, but their teacher obviously did and made sure they apologized properly), but it was a bit of a surprise for me to see such reactions from junior high students (and they aren't first years either).
I guess it impresses me to see teenagers display that kind of sincerity/pure heartedness. And it makes me glad to know that they haven't become "too cool" to openly express their feelings--especially in apologizing.
And I thought my JTE's response to the situation was also quite admirable. Once things had settled down and we were ready to start class, she briefly talked to everyone about the importance of talking things out to avoid misunderstandings, as well as the importance of being careful with words (because they can hurt and once said, they can't be taken back) and apologizing and making up after conflicts.
Such basic, simple things, really.
If only more people made greater efforts to do these simple things, I think the world would be a much better place.