My First Few Days of School

So I've been to school a couple of times by now.

School is pretty awesome. There are clearly the parts that suck, first and foremost being that there is little for me to do on the days when the kids don't have English. However, when the kids do have English it's quite a lot of fun.

Maybe I should give a quick rundown of Japanese school first, for the people who aren't familiar with it. The main points are:

1. There are five "classes" in my school. One class of 1st Years, and two classes each of Second and Third Years. Japanese students do not change classes each period for different subjects, they stay in their "homeroom" and the teachers change classes. Teachers live in the teacher's room when not otherwise occupied.

2. In Japan school is a right, not a privilege like in the States. There is no detention, and you pretty much cannot fail. This being said, kids in Japanese schools are either extremely well behaved or extremely poorly behaved, there is no middle ground. They either decide they really want to learn, and do things like seek out teachers between every period to check their homework, or they decide they don't care and do things like talk during class and shout things out at inappropriate times. Teachers pretty much don't care either way and they just teach at the students regardless of what they're doing.

3. In Japanese school the kids do things like serve the lunch and clean the school. The teachers look at this as being as valuable as classroom learning. Each student also belongs to a club, and they pretty much don't have a choice. I mean they have a choice of what club, but joining one is mandatory. This is seen as part of their education as well. In addition there are things like "Sports Day," a day when the whole school gets together to, not play sports as one might think, but to do elaborate cheers, chants, and dances. Time is taken out of the school day to practice for this event. Right now my school is in the thick of practicing for Sports Day.

So yeah, those are some basic points of difference between US schools and Japanese schools. Also Japanese schools, like most Japanese buildings, are not air-conditioned in the summer or heated in the winter. Actually the rooms are heated in the winter...but the halls and gym and stuff aren't.

I actually go to two schools, Kanagi Junior High and Asahi Junior High. I rotate each week, so I haven't been to Asahi yet. Kanagi is pretty cool though. There are a lot of kids who seem genuinely interested in English, which makes my job a lot easier. There are a group of girls who pretty much talk to me in English whenever they get a chance. The guys just like to shout "Hello" at me really loud and then giggle.

In the classroom I'm pretty much a glorified tape-recorder, but I think I can change that. My English teacher has told me to come up with ideas for lessons...so I guess I'll just have to impress her.

That's about it so far. No pics from school yet, sorry Mom. I keep forgetting because I get really nervous right before I have to teach. I'll be sure to get some soon, and I'll get some pics of "Sports Day."

Talk to you guys later. Peace.


Anonymous Dad said...

Glad to get some insight into your school day. Sounds like you are getting into the groove. We had a party last night and everyone wanted to know how it is going. We told them to check out your blog... Woody did already and was excited for you.



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