Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kamikaifu Elementary School

my desk

Kamikaifu is by far the smallest school I have ever known to exist.  With six grades, and a total of 41 students, this averages less than seven students per grade.  Despite the size, every single student made up for it with his or her huge, spirited personality.  I taught three classes, two grades at a time, with my introduction lesson/game (which still changes slightly from class to class).  Perhaps it was the small class-size that led each individual in a group to have their own opinion as to what the ‘lie’ was.  In many cases, a group decision had to be settled by ‘jan-ken-poi’ or ‘paper-scissors-rock.’  I’m in LOVE with elementary kids, as they all give me their full attention with their curiosity and energy.  The teachers and staff at this school are just as spectacular.  The laid-back teachers’ room is hilarious with the vice principle cracking jokes at every opportunity, and everyone else just as nice and funny and talkative.  They all seemed to be totally involved with the students, encouraging them while teaching respect and responsibility.  The school is starting to train for some sort of sports day, and nearly every single teacher came outside to either cheer or run with the students.  Teachers and some of the staff eat lunch with the students, and I was shocked with the welcome I received.  The six students engaged me in conversation throughout the entire mealtime.  I was then called to the front of the room for my ‘welcome ceremony.’  The students, teachers, and staff all sang LOUDLY some sort of ‘happy walking song’ that was cute and happy and awkward (being the only person in the entire building who didn't know the song while being stared at by all of them).  After being thanked and bowed to in unison by all of the students, I was asked to say something in return.  This was one of those times that I didn’t even need to think about what I wanted to say.  My words were honest and it all just flowed out, sentence after sentence in English and then Japanese.  I thanked them for the song, and their welcome, attention, spirit, energy, and really look forward to coming back. 

1st & 2nd graders

Clearly I did not take these pictures or ask for them to be taken of me.  This capitalizes on how full of myself I actually am as I took a picture of the photos that one of the teachers took and printed for me.  

Lucky me, as today was one of the monthly ‘club activity’ days.  The activity was for the 5th and 6th graders: fishing on the ocean.  Oh!!!  I completely forgot to describe the GEORGEOUS location this school: the BEACH!!  It’s literally built on the edge of the Sea of Japan.  From one entire side of the building, you can see the picturesque horizon, Awashima Island (haha  I just said Awa Island Island, as shima = island), rocks, and the OCEAN!!  So anyways, the fishing spot was just down the street.  We fished for about an hour and a half for tiny little Blowfish (Fugu).  This was the first time I’ve ever been fishing in an ocean, and caught two!!  Let me tell you, they really DO puff up when they get mad.  

The View

That white building would be Kamikaifu Elementary School

Boy and Blowfish

There’s only one girl running the 800-meter race, so I ran it with her and she definitely pushed me HARD!!  I guess my foot’s okay after all, and even IF the toes are broken, aren’t those the bones that you generally just let heal on their own??  

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