This past week was my last one at Higashi Yonesato elementary/Junior High School. I honestly didn't think the two months would go by so fast, but man, did it ever fly! For my final days we had lots of activities with the kids - it's always nice to end on a really high note.
So Thursday we had a Halloween Party.
We made pumpkins out of clay.
And put on costumes
And played games.
The party was a great success, and we all had tons of fun. The next day was my last day, I was dreading it, mainly because I was going to miss all the students and teachers I was working with. But also, this meant the end of my routine. My very comfortable routine, and if you've read my blog in the past, you know how feel about that.
Every morning at 8:30, the entire staff was a morning meeting, and this morning's meeting started with the principal telling everyone about my last day. Harada sensei, my JTE, translated for me, and told me that he said that I was very kind to the students that this school would always be my home. Wow. I was not expecting that. And then it was my turn to say something to everyone, which was difficult, as I was still a little thrown off with the home comment. I wish I could've told them in Japanese how much I respected them and how much I enjoyed teaching with them, but I settled with telling them in English, and I think they got the gist of what I said.
The rest of the day's classes went by too fast, and at the end of the day, the nine students of the school brought me into a classroom and each one - even the elementary students - told me a message in English. They then gave me a photo album with photos of me and the students along with messages from each one of them.
I have to admit, I got a little choked up. I promised all of them that I'd come visit them sometime very soon.
And as if the day couldn't even more sweet, I was given a little bag from my 3rd grader JHS student, Yumi. When I got home and opened it, it contained this -
a little white felted bear. You see, about a month and a half ago, Yumi and I were looking in a needle felt craft book, and I told her how cute I thought that bear was. "Oh, it's very hard to make", she said, "but I will make it for you." I told her she didn't have to do that, and I had completely forgotten about it, until I opened the little bag yesterday. She'd probably been working on it all these months I'd been at the school. When I finally left the school that afternoon, all the teachers walked me out and told me goodbye. I can't exactly remember what I said, something like, "I'll see you again sometime!"
I'm sure I will make great memories at all the other schools I'm going to visit while I'm here in Sapporo, but Higashi Yonesato will always hold a special place in my heart. Having this school as my first teaching experience overseas was such a blessing. I couldn't have asked to work with a better group of people, and have a sweeter bunch of students.