Thursdays, aka the day I go to my junior high, has had quite the change since the new school year started. An obvious one would be that my favorite 3rd years have graduated and are no longer at school. The first month was a little sad as I knew I would no longer be hearing random screaming from the girls playing around, talking to English with some of the boys or Maido’s ever energetic greetings to me.
Along with their departure, Mrs. Morita has also been transferred out to another school. She was hinting at this during graduation so I wasn’t too surprised. Still, it bums me out because she was an excellent teacher. Always going all out with her lessons and willing to try anything, she shaped me to the teacher I am today by always giving me a little push when I first came here.
I’d say it’s thanks to her that I am planning the majority of the lessons with a little help with Mrs. Kitada. Mrs. Morita’s ideas have influenced me into making more creative lessons and Mrs. Kitada happily lets me do anything as she said “Since this will probably be your last year, I’m going to let you do whatever you want.” While it is a lot more work, it’s more satisfying when I see my students enjoy the lessons that I have personally made for them.
Replacing Mrs. Morita is Mr. Taichi, a rookie teacher. Trained to be an English teacher, but never actually using his knowledge until this year, he started out as a very nervous guy. I guess it reminds me of me back when I came here: clueless, anxious, and tending to look up to the veterans. Oddly enough, I’m considered to be one of those veterans now. Whenever I can, I make small chit-chat with him just to make a more relaxing environment between us. I know that really helped me out when teachers like Mrs. Morita or Chika-sensei would do that with me so I’m hoping it will apply to him. It seems to be working as a little over a month into the new school year, he seems more relaxed around me.
If anything, all the students think he’s awesome. I guess they’re happy that we have another young teacher into the mix of our staff; the majority of them are middle-aged. Amusingly enough, I sometimes get jealous of all the attention he gets, but I’m happy he’s getting a warm reception from them. He’s also in charge of the new 1st years, which were my old sixth graders at my Wednesday school. They’re currently a little nervous since they just entered junior high but I’m sure they’ll turn out just fine. Even the noisy kid Daiki seems mellowed out now.
My old students are still great. I really enjoy teaching the new 3rd years; we really have gotten close ever since I came to Japan. The feeling is similar to what I had with my old 3rd years. Maybe that’s why my sadness of their departure didn’t seem too long. Instead of hearing the screams of Ina and Reno, I’m hearing Mina and Aya. Instead of talking random English to Kimiya and Ryo, I joke around in English with Jun and Sho. Instead of Maido excitedly saying “HELLO DIEGO!” at me, I have Nana-chan and Ami waving me a hallway away and yelling “Good morning!” to me when they see me. Things may have changed, but new, great memories will still be created. I’m lucky to have yet another good group of students for what might be my final year here.
One lame new change this year is the drastic reduction of classes. This has happened because the classes are no longer split in half. I really enjoyed that way of teaching because I felt the students had more one-on-one time and I was able to get to know everyone a lot faster. It also kept me very busy (which is a good thing). Now I only have three classes, like I used to have when I first came here. I think this change was made because Mr. Taichi probably couldn’t handle this teaching style and he has many seminars to go to since he’s a new teacher. It’s a shame but I can understand. Now I try to keep myself busy when I have downtime, which can be difficult. Sometimes I go to the library and talk to Mrs. Harada for a longer time. I’m glad she’s still around as we have some interesting conversations. It’s funny, we used to just speak English with each other but now it has turned into some sort of language exchange. I will talk to her in English while she will respond in Japanese. It’s pretty amusing but also good practice for the both of us.
Other than that, my junior high is more or less the same. Wednesdays feel so different now but I’m glad that Thursdays are still my favorite days of the week. I was worried that the departure of my favorite teacher and students would change it but it hasn’t. I hope it never does.