I waited at a table while they lined up for a homework check, and attendance stamps. Each one stared at me curiously, some too nervous to come near, but with some encouragement from their regular teacher the line was eventually finished. I had a little crutch sheet to help me remember the flow of the lesson. First, the song, then review, then various methods to teach the new material. I was having a little trouble at first trying to explain it, but the teacher gave a few hints, and then one kid got it. Then another, then the entire class. Soon I had them all listening and enjoying the lesson. We ended with English words for sounds (onomatopoeias). I had the whole class barking and sneezing. It was pretty funny. Afterwards, I helped see them off. While my heart had raced up and down during the lesson, I was pleasantly surprised at my evident success. The other teacher was impressed too, noting that my positivity, energy, and willingness to be flexible in the lesson were crucial to teaching children. He was going to give me a perfect rating, but he said there's, "always room for improvement". Why do people think holding you back is helping you? He said I was the best trainee he's ever seen, but still didn't give me the best rating. Just like my whole. damned. life.
ANYWAY, after being introduced to each class that day, and teaching my first lesson, the day ended with two three year olds. The cutest, most adorable toddlers you've ever seen. My goodness. I swear to you, Japanese babies are the cutest babies of them all. I often find other babies to be sort of weird looking - not Japanese ones. They have beautiful, pink, chubby cheeks and are so innocent it hurts. You look into their dark, brown eyes and instantly feel like you're seeing a cherub in real life. I played with them, read a book to them, helped with their shoes...so cute. I don't know if my ovaries ever ached so much. When I finally said goodbye, and the day was done, the teacher offered to drive me to the station. He said he didn't really think it was safe for young women to be walking around at night, especially somewhere so rural. I was very grateful - I had been dreading the walk back. He dropped me off, wished me luck, and left me feeling like there were still good people in the world. I sat on the train and contemplated my future life in Japan. Each day was a challenge, but I could feel myself growing. I wondered what I would become.
Hope you enjoyed my anecdote! Next update is March 17! À la prochaine!
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