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November 29, 2015

Teaching Update and Looking Ahead To Christmas

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Read more about Diana’s adventures and life in Yachiyo City:

Life in  Yachiyo City, Japan

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Today I wanted to post a simple wordy entry, no pictures this time. Rather, an update of the happenings in my world as an ALT in Japan.

My current school is rather large, with about 26 classes in total. That equals to 8-9 classes per grade level, of which there are three, and also one special needs class (named Yukari). I’ve finished with introduction lessons (finally!) by this time and have moved on to other activities and games…

I have especially enjoyed working with the Yukari class. With only 8 students, all boys, it has been easier to work one on one with the students as opposed to the usual 38-40 students in a classroom. I haven’t spent much time at all teaching students with special needs, so this has been a welcome and exciting experience. And if anyone ever thought that people with special needs are unable to learn a foreign language, let me tell you that they can and do so very well! It brings me joy to see how much they know.

An event that happened over the weekend at school was the Chorus Festival. Each class of students had been practicing diligently for this event. And yes, ALL the students sing! Each class picks their own song and is very self motivated in practicing before and after classes. They then competed with the other classes within their grade level, while performing for their families and the rest of the school. I’d also like to point out that a student from each class conducted, while another one played the piano.

I am constantly impressed by the self-sufficiency of students in Japan. Everyday they are the ones to come get their teachers for class and are there to help bring anything to the room. They all have their own classrooms, which they are also expected to upkeep; there aren’t janitors in the school. The students clean their room every day after  lunch, which they help to serve to each other and then eat together in small groups. Even with other club activities, the students do much of the leading. Another example is their Sports Festival. While there is a big festival that is city wide, each school has it’s own with just their students. The students take a huge role in organizing their groups and participating dances and events. The Sannensei (third years) in particular do a lot of the leading, since it is their last year in junior high school.

Outside of school, it’s starting to feel like Christmas time. Even in Japan! Many shops have decorated and the malls even have a few Christmas songs thrown in their repertoire of music. My birthday is also around the corner, which I’m pretty excited to celebrate. It happens that Japan is getting the new James Bond film in time for my birthday, so I may have to drag a few people to that with me.

Currently I’m still reveling in our Thanksgiving meal that Jennifer, my fellow ALT hosted at her apartment. Shots of the glorious feast were pictured in the previous post. I’m also looking forward to flying home to spend Christmas with my family; and kimono shopping with a really incredible Japanese woman, Hisa, that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She is a part of the International group I went to Yamanashi with. Her and her husband, Masao, are both very intelligent, active, hospitable, well traveled, and completely witty people. Having dinner at their house with Jazmyn was one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had while in Japan. It has been a true cultural exchange with them and I look forward to Hisa sharing her wisdom on Japanese kimono, of which she wears 3-4 days out of the week. It is only the beginning of my studies into Japanese textiles, a study I hope to be able to continue in the coming months.

Sayonara for now,

d.r.