Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Elementary School Tour - Day One

I like to think of my two month stint of elementary school visits my elementary school tour. A new school every two days. Kids staring and cheering and asking for your autograph. You feel a little bit like a celebrity on some tour route, and the first school on the tour is Fujino Minami Elementary School in Southern Sapporo. This was actually a pretty easy school to find - their directions were pretty straight forward and I'm used to riding a bus. Honestly, I thought that I'd be more anxious than I was; the whole ride to the school I was surprising calm, despite this huge change in routine. The school was big, much bigger than what I'd been experiencing at Higashi Yonesato. The school had to be three stories, and as I walked to the entryway I could feel all the stares of the students waiting outside. Some would let out a "Hello", and I would answer back, which would just make them laugh and giggle. The teachers I met were all very nice, yet everyone seemed nervous, like I was going to judge them critically on the fact that they couldn't speak English. I heard, "I can't speak English", a lot today, to which I replied, "I can't speak Japanese well, so it's OK". I tried to make it clear to them that I'm not here to judge them, but to help them. There was one young fifth grade teacher that was so nervous that I was in his classroom that he was sweating! One teacher at the school - a first grade teacher - speaks perfect English, and the poor thing had to leave her classroom all day to be my English chaperone. I taught two fifth grade classes and one class with all the 6th graders (90 students in all), just giving my self-introduction and whatnot. I thought it was lots of fun, especially answering the kids' questions. Between classes, I was ushered into the principal's office, where I could "rest". Their previous ALTs must have been very tired, because I was frequently told throughout the day that I must be very tired, teaching all these elementary students. I tried to explain to them that I've been a teacher before and am used to teaching several high-energy classes every day. I wasn't tired at all! In fact, it was invigorating to be back in the elementary classroom.

Now, if I could just have my own tour bus.

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