This past school year my Wednesday school has more or less been the same as last year. It’s such a good school that I never have anything bad to say about it. If anything, it’s only getting better the longer I stay there because I’m getting even closer with the teachers and students.
While we did lose a lot of teachers last year, the new teachers have been great because they see the relationship between the veteran teachers and I. Seeing people chat with me and properly lesson plan with me has made them follow this route too. We got more younger teachers now which is great for me.
My new 5th and 6th graders couldn’t be better. I was a little worried about 5th grade because they can be a loud bunch if not controlled properly. They’re a great kids, but loud. However, Take-sensei has control over them without even yelling or anything. He’s a little shy with me but I think we’re finally getting over that. I probably have the best repertoire with the 5th grade students since we got pretty close last year, thanks to Chika-sensei. I eat lunch with them pretty often and you would think they would get bored of me but they always get excited when they see my face. There is even a separate Janken event to see which group I sit next to.
I’ve been expanding my horizons though when it comes to who do I eat lunch with. One day the third graders asked me and I went ahead and did which got them super excited. Conversations with them are a bit more childish but still fun. I also get to know more of the student’s names and personalities when I sit and chat with them. I got to know a cute girl named Chi-chan. After I finished lunch with them she’ll always say “Please come again next time!” and will always wave at me when she sees me ever since. What a cute girl.
Once in a blue moon I eat lunch with the fourth graders. It’s interesting because they don’t move their desks in a group when they eat but just eat in their normal desk formation. So, whenever I go eat with them, I’m dead center, facing everyone stare at me. It’s a little awkward so I have to start the conversation to make things more comfortable. They’re a fun group though.
I just started eating like with sixth grade, and I don’t know why it took so long. Maybe it’s because they’re a pretty big class and sometimes really noisy that I avoided it. Kanatani-sensei eventually said I should visit them. They ended up being a good bunch, whoops. I guess it makes sense since they’re great in class as well, which we have to thank Kanatani-sensei for. Half the time he’s the one teaching the classes, not me. But that’s okay!
While I don’t eat lunch with the little ones (1st and 2nd grade), they still have some of the best classes. I’d like to think it’s because of the energy that Chika-sensei and Nishi-sensei bring to the table. I’ve praised Chika-sensei a lot in the past already so it’s only natural her 1st grade class is great. She’s definitely more tired nowadays though because she’s not used to teaching younger kids. Her students are so adorable though. I even know some of their siblings. For example, Honoka is the younger sister of Ash, who graduated from junior high last year. She has his face and everything. She’s adorable. Then there’s Erika , a relative of Misa, who will always cling onto me the second she sees me. While not the greatest student, she’s one of the smartest since she studies English outside of school.
Speaking of Chika-sensei, she continues to be a great teacher and friend. This year she is in charge of English so she’s always asking me if classes went alright that day and makes sure that everyone has lesson planned for me. If I need anything, I go to her and she gets it done. I wish I could just clone her and have her in all of my schools. During work parties we will always have the most random yet fun conversations. She’s easily my favorite teacher in Japan.
2nd grade is a riot. When it comes to energy, these kids have it. Maybe too much energy. It’s not common to see these kids screaming the English words and doing wacky poses along with the songs. They don’t mean harm though because they are genuinely having a lot of fun with the class. Nishi-sensei also has a ton of energy. I feel like this is what it would be like if I taught with one of my former good students. She acts very young for her age with her outlandish expressions and reactions but she isn’t immature, just full of youth. It’s also really easy to get her to laugh and man, she has one of the most unique laughs I have heard. Ever since our school summer trip, we’ve been pretty buddy buddy. Whenever I talk to her in enkais, it’s like I’m talking to an old friend from high school. Chika-sensei and her are close as well, probably because they’re the only young, female teachers in the school. They’re like sisters, egging each other on or complaining about each other in a teasing way. They’re hilarious.
I guess the one thing I miss about last year (besides some of the great teachers) is recess. Yes, recess still happens but every grade does their own separate activity. No one really plays soccer like the 6th graders did last year so that’s now nonexistent. The 6th graders like to play dodgeball which would be fun if they didn’t just use one ball and a Nerf-like Frisbee. The 5th graders play kickball which I sometimes play with but for some reason, it doesn’t feel the same when I played the games with my old kids. I guess things can’t always be the same though.
There’s a good chance I’ll be losing Kanatani-sensei and my awesome vice principal next school year during the teacher transfers. They’ve both been there awhile now and it’s thanks to them that I’m so close to everyone. Back when I first started I was still shy and not used to this work life but they happily invited me to everything and brought me into all the conversations. And for that, I’m really thankful for them. I hope we can experience one final year together though!