The Life of a Japanese School Kid
Working at a language school you have to TALK to your students. At the college you could quite obliviously teach without needing to get to know the ins and outs of every students (often extremely tedious) life.
Now that I'm back in the classroom and having to find out about the students (okay, maybe 'having to' is a bit strong: I'm a nosy fucker who loves knowing the ins and outs, whys and wherefores of everyones existance), I'm again being stunned by some of the things I'm learning.
Take one 8 year old girl I taught the other day. She'd missed most of her day at school because she'd been ill and been sent to the sick room where her mum had had to go and pick her up early. She still had to come to her English lesson though. Now, this kid (and I may be forgetting something from this list) has to do violin, piano and flute lessons, horseriding, ice-skating, cooking lessons, tea ceremony lessons, flower arranging lessons and English lessons. (Oh and she gets sent to Hawaii twice a year - from when she was about 3 apparantly - to study English there).
I asked her when she can play - and she told me she can play at school.
How sad is that?
I've also learned this week that Japanese people only think Hawaii, Las Vegas, Guam, Saipan (and of course Japan) are safe to travel in as everywhere else in the world is at danger from 'the terror' (terrorism).
Footnote: Many of the students I've taught use 'Japanese people' or 'the Japanese' or 'we' instead of 'I', for some reason. I've also had students telling me 'we don't like China airlines', 'we don't like being told we can't eat whale as it's our culture', etc.
The only reason I can think for this links back to the whole education 'group is more important than individual' thing. Or maybe not.
Alex, any thoughts?