Sunday, March 18, 2007
Sometimes being a teacher in Japan is really kind of cool.
In Japan, disabled students go to school with the "mainstream" students, be they physically or mentally disabled. There's one boy with a mental disability, a 1st grader [7th grade U.S.] who I also taught a few times at elementary school last year as well.
Anyways, he pretty much lives in his world, but occasionally I can get him to wave or laugh or respond a bit to English.
So last week, led in by the special ed teacher, he brought me a small bag of cookies, with my name on the package and everything. He had clearly written my name out in his own hand, and the whole situation was just awfully touching. I saved the baggie he brought it in.
It was pretty awesome.
And then, later in the week, a buncha the soon to graduate 3rd graders made me a balloon and wrote on it in English. Not the world's best English, I'll grant you, but still.
It's just that... here in Japan... even though I really enjoy my job... sometimes you wonder whether you have an effect on any of the students at all or whether it really amounts to anything. It is of course compounded by my [still] appalling lack of Japanese ability, and not really knowing what's going on [generously] about 50% of the time.
And then, out of the blue, you get something like this... and it's just nice.
That sense of connection... it's a "goodness" [as Valentine Michael Smith might say.]
Also, we somehow have a cat now. The balloon says it, it must be true.