Next week Friday marks the end of the school year. Which is a new thing for me because back in South Africa our school year ends in December. But here in Japan the new school year, which starts at the beginning of April, coincides with spring and the blossoming of the famous cherry trees. So, from a philosophical point of view, everything sort of starts anew – like starting a new school year, trees and flowers blossoming, weather getting warmer, etc.
Anyway, so this week was the start of my ‘last’ classes with my students at school. Of course we played games as we have finished the syllabus, so it’s been a pretty nice week for all of us.
Today my JTE (Japanese teacher of English) surprised me by giving me a stack of papers saying it was from the one class we teach together. It turns out that each student was asked to write at least three sentences in English telling me what they thought of our lessons together.
This class has definitely kept me on my toes these past 7 months; and reading what they wrote really made me smile, along with a touch of sadness knowing that I won’t be their teacher any more from next week.
I want to share some of the comments with you :).
(Apologies for the poor picture quality)
I try not to have favourites, but this one student tries so hard to speak English and will do anything for a sweet (which I only use as big prize rewards for review games). Just recently his team lost a game we played and the big prize was a sweet from my Pokémon-themed sweet tin. He really wanted one, so I told him that if he only spoke English for 5 minutes then he would receive a sweet (bribery at its best) – it was hilarious as all his friends were asking him questions trying to get him to answer in English. In the end he did very well and got his sweet. Hence his number 3 comment below…
I mean seriously, I had never taught before in my life until coming to Japan; and to have a class of 18 students write these comments for me just makes me so happy. I have received minimal feedback about my teaching methods (as inexperienced as they are) and sometimes felt that I was making the classes so boring and confusing. But after today my confidence has been once again restored and I am ready to take on the hoards of brand new students come April!
It’s the small things in life like these simple sentences that really makes it all worth it. 🙂 Wouldn’t you agree?