Today I had my first experience with a Japanese school. I went to Teisei Gakuen Junior and Senior High School in Tokyo. When I first arrived, we were ushered to a room to wait for the principal. He arrived with a few other teachers, and after a lot of bowing and a great deal of business card exchanging, we were on our way for a tour of the school. We walked the halls and they opened the classroom doors for me to peak in the rooms. I caused quite the distraction, I discovered, as students waved at me and one student stood up while the teacher was teaching so he could get a better look at me and then got smacked on the head with a stack of papers! Haha.
Next, we went to the lecture hall where I would speak. 80 students attended my class along with about 10 teachers (no pressure at all). I had no idea what level of English these students would have. Well, does it tell you anything that the English teacher at the school had to translate everything I said sentence by sentence? It’s so hard to do an interactive English lesson when no one can understand you! We made it through though and even had time to do a few tongue twisters. (Why did I choose one with an r-l combination?! Whoops!) There was someone there to take pictures during my lesson, so I felt a bit like I was at a press conference or that the paparazzi was stalking me.
After I was finished, we had a short question and answer period. Several students simply asked, “How can I improve my English?” Yes, I have a master’s degree in teaching ESL, but how in the world can I answer that question in a one minute answer?! There were also some general questions about how many siblings I have, what was my favorite subject in school, etc. Then it was asked if I had a boyfriend. Then the following conversation took place between me and a brave and bold 16 year old student:
Boy- “What is your ideal man?”
Me- “Someone who is kind and funny.”
Boy- “Um, is height a factor for you?”
I almost died!
When I finished the lesson (and also before I started), the entire group stood up, said something in unison and bowed to me. How interesting! And also, they presented me with a gift to thank me for my lesson. They were all too sweet! I got to spend a little time with some of them afterwards chatting and taking a few pictures.
After leaving the school, we went to eat with one of the teachers. He’s the one that gave us the tour of the school. I like that I never know the plan and never know what’s going on, because it’s all said in Japanese. We were just walking (to what I assumed was the subway station) when all of a sudden we are in a restaurant. I’m just like a little duck following her mommy sometimes while I’m here. I guess the teacher had asked Mr. M ahead of time what food I like, because all the dishes had been pre-ordered and arrived as soon as we sat down. There were probably 7 courses, and at the end, the head chef brought us out ice cream and shook my hand. It was SUCH a good meal!
So I had a pretty good day over here in Nihon. (That’s Japan in Japanese in case you didn’t know!) Tomorrow I’ll teach my 2 conversation classes again. In one class, we will be traveling to the Imperial Palace!