(a follow up on the entry immediately previous)
The baseball team always salutes teachers as they go past, in the morning, it’s teachers on their way in, and in the afternoon, on their way out. Sometimes they manage to do it all together, all taking off their caps and executing a bow, and other times they catch it in groups as they are doing drills on the field. Either way, I didn’t really know how to handle it the first week or so. I would giggle when they did it because I didn’t understand if they meant it or not, and while all the other kids would just cheerfully chirp “Good morning!” to me, the entire baseball team would do what amounted to (as I saw it) coming to attention and saluting.
I asked Big Brother JET about it and he said they were probably just doing it to show respect. I calmed down then, and inclined my head gravely, or did a little bow of my own (while walking) and then waved hello or goodbye to them, since that was what felt natural to me.
Today, I left a little later than usual, because I thought I would have to just miss the bus and stay one extra hour. I was still getting my materials together for elementary school tomorrow, but I realized I could pack quickly and still make the 4:30 bus, so I was hurrying. I took the short(er) cut that takes you right alongside the baseball field. Today was one of the days the whole team saluted at the same time.
And Awesome-sensei took off his hat and inclined his head toward me, too. I’ve never seen him do that when I walked past, before.
I was absolutely freaking giddy at that point, but trying not to show it (in the same vein as being unwilling to show fear), trying also to catch the bus. I was also kind of high on coffee, since I’d had two cups in the morning and then a bunch of tea from lunchtime on. But if I’d had any doubts about whether I was ‘in,’ that short salute shot them down right there.
As if that hadn’t already made my freaking day, he came over to the fence as I rounded the corner (behind home plate) and spoke to me briefly, to tell me that if I have any questions or anything, it’s okay to ask him. I don’t know whether he meant in general (i.e., “Sumimasen, sensei… I can’t read my mail..”) or pertaining to classes and lesson plans, but it doesn’t really matter, because right then was when my head exploded.
Haha, I know I’m making a big deal out of this, but I think I had distilled all my fears of whether I could be good at this into the concept of impressing Awesome-sensei, and to have accomplished that goal today just makes me feel really good about my job right now, even though I am still trying to figure out exactly how to do it. Having him backing me up makes me feel like there is no question whether I will get there or not, it’s only a matter of time. I tend to look for my personal value in work, and I always have, so it’s really important to me to be doing a job at which I think I am doing pretty well, and also a job that I think is making some kind of difference. Without those things, I start to get really existential and wonder what meaning there is in anything. Melodramatic, but hey, that’s how I roll.