Friday, March 27, 2009

Tying up loose ends

DSC00010 My time at my originally assigned schools has officially come to a fulfilling close. Looking back at the nearly two years I’ve spent working as an ALT, a glorified English communications teacher, I’ve noticed I’ve gained a lot from my experiences. I also found out I was more appreciated and wanted there than I really knew.
I was requested to attend my main junior high school’s farewell ceremony and even gave a speech in Japanese to the student body and staff. I was pretty surprised I spent three minutes speaking straight Japanese with a little English mixed in for jokes. I was given about three bouquets one of which was still potted, so I put them in my little yard. I also received a DVD made by the students, and a few more farewell cards. I kind of didn’t want to go to the farewell assembly but I am glad that I did after I realized how much I was really appreciated.
DSC00003I learned a lot from attending the final days of school and the farewell parties that followed. For one, I was pulled aside by most of the teachers, even ones I didn’t talk with much and told how happy they were to have me there. What really made me happy was how the main English teacher that I’ve been working with since the beginning complimented me on how in all his 20 years of working as an English teacher, I was the best he’s worked with and he really didn’t want me to go.
I was really touched by all of this and was also pretty sad when I realized this was the probably the last time I’d interact with any of them. At the end of the farewell party, I was given another bouquet of flowers and 5000 yen in cash. Not only did I receive cash, my whole night of dinner and drinking was paid compliments of the permanent staff. I guess it’s all fair since, I chipped in last year for the same thing last year.
DSC00011 I think the reason why I worked so well with them was that I didn’t hold myself so high or expect too much out of my position. I knew what to expect from the students I worked with, and didn’t rock the boat by trying to change their school or worlds. I am sure it also didn’t hurt to be able to communicate with them in their language. If anything I’m sure it lightened the tension between us and they were more willing to accept me as one of their own.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to use my language asset to my advantage once again with my new schools. I still really don’t know anything about where I’ll be going besides the general area where I’ll be working. It’s kind of unsettling but I’m sure I’ll find more out within the next few days at the latest.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Scott, did you ever think to get a recommendation letter from some of the staff you worked with- especially those who saw you work? That would be a great contribution to your portfolio for future jobs!