Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Graduation Approaches

Today, my VP asked me to access this ridiculously obscure folder in the staffroom computer and write a message to the graduating class of third-years. “All in Japanese? Why don’t you try?”

Once I stopped laughing (internally only) at that suggestion, I told him I would give that a shot if he promised to read over it for me, because there is nothing worse than trying to be wise/philosophical/graduation-speechy and tripping over language you don’t know. I would expect you’d just come off sounding like a pedantic ass. It’s too easy to sound like that even in your own first language.

So, let’s challenge! I only feel like even thinking about doing such a thing today because the one class I thought I had was cancelled, so I’m totally up for some nigh-impossible school related task. Not that I have anything else to do (like keep hacking away at my inbox, try to catch up on blog reading, write about Naked Man Fest, finish February’s Japanese lessons already, etc.).

Anyway, I am not and have never been very good at graduation. Basically, I’m a stubborn personality and I like to just stick with something until I feel I am really doing it right. And then, well shit, I am doing it right, why would I want to quit? I don’t like change, even when I know it’s important. Even when I know a change is coming for the better, I resist it out of some weird nostalgia.

It is mostly because I want to have everything, and change or moving on requires leaving something behind in order to gain something new. I have not yet found the way to gain something new and KEEP all the old stuff. There just isn’t room.

I mean I am excited about the fact that as the new school year begins, I’m one teacher the incoming first-years will know. They will be my ex-6th-graders. I’m excited because some of my current-6th-graders are freaking champions at English, and I believe, however wrongly, that this will prevent them from being those kids that stare at me and won’t volunteer an answer for all the Emi-dollars in the world. (By the way, I don’t give dollars just for right answers. I give them for making a freakin’ attempt to answer. The behavior I am encouraging is not perfection, for goodness sake, kids, it is willingness to try..!)

And I’m looking forward to my current 2nd-years becoming 3rd years and ruling the school like seniors are supposed to do. When I first arrived, one of the teachers told me that the 3rd years (this year) are very “bright,” bright being a personality thing, like just very personable and outgoing. And the second years, not so much. I like the second year group though, because I’ve had good experiences with them in class and communication. I want to see what they’ll be like when given that sannen spotlight.

At the same time, I like goofing off with my third years. I hate teaching their class because it’s so stressful for me. I’m too proud to ask their regular teacher to help me and I’m still dying to impress him (by showing him how awesome a class I can do without his help), and impress the students who despite being seniors here are really just 9th-graders in age range… so I HAVE to do classes that are fun and engaging and interesting but OH GOD they have to be educational too, or their regular teacher will just look on my attempts as playful interruptions in the serious business of instructing them on English grammar.

…Anyway, I don’t want them to go, because they are bright, and they are hilarious, and the truth is, they are in large part very willing to try and even willing to make mistakes, which is something I value in my job increasingly every day. They are confident because they are older, and their confidence makes them fun.

So I am going to write them a message for the pamphlet. And I’ll even try to make it Japanese. Crap.

Graduation, though, is easier when it’s not my own.

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