I have by no means forgiven the Board of Education for what they are doing to the schools and how they are treating the ALTs. It really upsets me that they are making us the last people to officially know that we are changing schools when we are the ones working at them. If my two schools had not flat out asked me about the change, I would still not know. Both my changing schools (favorite elementary school and Jr. high school) were in shock that I did not know. My boss came to observe my elementary school classes yesterday and, while I did not have the chance to talk with him directly, apparently raved about how well I taught the kids, my good team-teaching relationship with the teachers, how well I got along with the kids, and how much the kids appeared to love me. My school’s principal and vice-principal told me that they went on and on about how much of an impact I had made on the school and how much they enjoyed having me there as a member of their teaching staff. I am still holding out that between my phone call from the other day about how I just want to keep this elementary school and the class observation today that maybe just maybe I will get to keep this school…but I am not getting my hopes up. The Board of Education takes the opinions of the ALTs with a grain of salt, if even that.
Last night, some of the non-teaching elementary school staff had a mini-going away party for me at a very fancy French restaurant. I was given flowers by the principal, who was pretty tipsy from the wine by that point, who said some really sweet things, but got side tracked by trying to figure out what type of flowers he was giving me because he wanted to be sure to tell me the meaning behind giving me this particular bouquet of flowers. It was kind of cute to be honest and I was really touched that they put that much effort into just giving me flowers. The vice principal gave me a box of Japanese sweets and also said very kind things about me. This all brought me to tears. We ate great food, had some delicious wine, and talked for about 2 and a half hours before the restaurant told us that they were closing and needed us to leave. I have two more visits to this elementary school before summer vacation and I am going to cry at the end of each of my classes – I am sure. The vice principal seems to be planning some sort of HUGE going away ceremony for me in the gym with all the students and teachers.
During dinner, and this is something I had decided a while ago, I made a very important and formal request of my elementary school’s vice principal. At wedding ceremonies in Japan, it is customary for a respected member from work or school to do a speech about the bride and groom during the party section of wedding. Technically, it is supposed to be your boss, but after talking to Jun about the whole traditional aspect, he explained that in a Japanese company the boss or supervisor usually knows the person the best, so that is why they are selected. In my case, my boss almost knows nothing about me as they see me once a month during the school year and hardly interact with me at all during the summer when I go to the Board of Education everyday to sit for three hours. Jun told me that I should pick someone who I felt had gotten to know me the most and the person I respected a lot. I could think of no one else more fitting than this elementary school’s vice principal. Mom, Dad…you would really like him and he said he is going to try to translate his speech into English and say both. Apparently, the mini speech I gave him asking him to do me this honor brought him to tears. I was really happy that he accepted.
All in all, after last night, I feel like I kind of at peace with these school changes. While the thought of going to another Jr. high school frightens me as it has a reputation for being a bad school, I am looking forward to getting to know another group of elementary school students. Who knows, maybe I will be able to form as strong a bond at this school as I did at my favorite. Doubtful, but I suppose it could happen.