I know I have a Part II to my last post to write up, but honestly it still makes me sad to think about leaving that last school so I would rather post about this. Plus, I think this may be more interesting. Maybe.
In Sapporo, the board of education has us change schools halfway in the year, so from May to September I am at one school and then October to March I am at another school. It's a very stressful, depressing time because leaving schools is depressing and starting a new school is stressful. This year was no different. I left my previous school on a Tuesday and then started at a new school on a Wednesday (all while fighting off the beginnings of a cold). It was very, very hard for me to leave this last school, as I'd been there for a year - October 2013 to September 2014 - and it was honestly one of the best schools I have ever gone to. Needless to say, my first day was going to be a rough one.
|My shoe locker in the entry|
Per my contract, I don't have to be at school for the morning meeting (which usually happens thirty minutes before first period) but on the first day the principal wants to introduce me to the teachers and staff. This means that I am usually sequestered in the principal's office for twenty minutes trying to come up with some sentences in Japanese to impress my new coworkers all whilst fighting back my nerves and making awkward small talk with the principal.
This principal, however, wanted to interview me. He began by asking if I was from Orlando, Florida. After I said that I am he told me about how his daughter had been there, and then asked me about Disney, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center. Once that was out of the way, he asked me about my history teaching in Japan, mainly confirming what my company had given him. Then the questions about Japan started: "What Japanese food do you like?" "How are America and Japan different?" "What surprised you about Japan?" etc.
This entire conversation was done in both English and Japanese, and once he felt he had enough information on me he told me how his son is living in Canada and then stood up to show me something on his phone. It was a picture of his dog, a miniature dachshund, which is his "best friend". Then, he pretended to be a dog. At this point I honestly thought that maybe I hadn't woken up yet and was in the middle of some strange stress-dream.
The introduction to the staff went well, I had decided to plan ahead on my welcome speech and written something in Japanese the week before, which got me many compliments from my new coworkers. My morning, however, was still very stressful. I had to give my first lesson during first period, which gave me very little time to unpack or prepare or adjust or really do anything. I also had to give a speech on TV to students, which lead to a gaggle of third year boys crammed in the staff room doorway to get a good look at me as I left the broadcasting room.
It had been a while since I had started a new school and I'd forgotten just how much attention my appearance garners. The entire day was filled with groups of boys or girls following me down the hallways trying to convince each other to talk to me. Eventually a boy would muster up enough courage and introduce himself to me, which would lead to a good five minutes of me answering questions about myself, normally in the vein of if I'm single or not, how tall I am, and what my age is.
|Worksheet I use during my introduction|
There's really not much else to say at this point. I'm still adjusting to the new school, having finished all of my self-introduction lessons this past Tuesday. Usually once I get through an actual English lesson with each class I finally feel at ease, as I know what to expect. Overall, I think I'll enjoy this school. The teachers seem really good and friendly, and the students are engaged and good at listening (so far). I've honestly yet to have a "bad school" in Japan, so I feel very lucky and I'm really not even sure they exist.
I'll try to get another post up Monday or Tuesday, as it's a long weekend (health and sports day, wooo!). Hope you have a wonderful day!
|My desk! It's small :(|
I've also added this post to the Lotus Collective Daily Diaries. You can see more posts there!