Today was another good day filled with reunions and smiles (wow, that sounds really cheesy). The first thing that made me really happy was that instead of the board saying “the ALT is coming” like most schools do, they wrote my name instead. The new school principle is really sweet as are all the other new teachers.
The kids, once again, aced my self-introduction quiz despite only hearing it once and only having one class with me. See, the current 5th graders were 4th graders who did not have regular English class. The kids seemed a little nervous about having a regular English class once a week, but I think playing ridiculous amounts of games today put them all at ease.
I also got asked a lot of great questions and had some funny reactions from the kids. When I asked kids in my quiz what job I had in America (being a soccer coach) at least 4 kids in every class shouted that I had been a model. One kid guessed I had been a house wife. Two of my favorite questions from the day came from the same boy. The first question was “What is something about Japan that makes you laugh?” This resulted in me walking around the room and translating shirts, pencil cases, and bags with English on them into Japanese. Some of the kids were rolling on the floor laughing. Their teacher and I then explained that this happens in America too where Americans wear shirts with random Japanese characters on them or have tattoos where the kanji are written incorrectly. This got the kids thinking a lot. The second questions was, “What is something about Japan that you don’t like?” I then explained to the kids how uncomfortable it is walking down the street and having people stop in their tracks to just stare at you or how some people will not sit down next to you on a train or the bus because they are afraid for whatever reason. The teacher and I did some skits to demonstrate this to the kids. We made sure they understood that not all Japanese behave this way, but there is still a large population that does so and did some role playing with the kids so they could understand the emotions and help them become more aware.
All in all, another solid day. Tomorrow I go back to the Jr. high and will actually have some classes. Today, the elementary school teachers were telling me how much they liked the school and thought the students were great. Hope this means that I will actually get some reactions during my self-introduction instead of looking at me with blank stares!