For the past 7 months, I've been teaching English part-time at Asakusa Junior High School. It's been a really enriching experience. I was really lucky to be placed in such a great school. The best part for me was learning from the kids about their daily lives. In Japan, the last year of JH is extremely important. They must all pass high school entrance exams and the pressure to say the pressure to do well is high would be a gross understatement. Personally, I think it's too young of an age to put so much stress, but that's their system and who am I to judge. Other highlights from the year:
- Helping the drama club perform a play in English (can you imagine memorizing 50 lines in a foreign language when you were 15?!)
- Cornering kids into having conversations with me
- Helping the 3rd graders with their interview tests for high school and hearing the news that they passed
- Singing The Beatles, Monkees, Cindi Lauper and Queen 5 times a day
- The surprise of sitting down to school lunch!
A few last tidbits about Kyushoku: the meals are planned out by a nutritionist and they are always between 800-950 calories and well balanced - carbs, proteins, grains. A lunch menu with all the nutrition facts is sent home to pare ts so they know what their kids have been eating. Teachers eat the same meal as students and they talk about all the nutritional value during lunch, so lunch is an educational experience too. Given the childhood obesity issues in America, a school lunch program like Japan's would be a really great way to educate kids at a young age about the importance of as healthy diet. It also assures that all students get at least 1 healthy and substantial meal a day. Just something to think about Michelle Obama.