|It's really cute that they think I don't know what being given a button means|
If you haven’t read my graduation post from last year, please do. If I could only tell one story about my experiences in Japan it would be The Boy Who Lived.
This graduation season is a big one for me. My first ever JHS students just graduated from high school, which is crazy. The kids graduating from junior high tomorrow are kids I’ve taught since they were in elementary. I’ve watched them grow from chirpy little kids into confident teens who in many cased now tower over me. I’ve taught their big brothers and little sisters. I’ve had tea with their grandmothers and my desk draw is full of snacks and gifts from their mothers. These are kids who put presents on my desk the afternoon before so that I would get a surprise when I arrived on my birthday. These kids have exchanged Christmas cards with kids in Australia and made pen-pals in Germany. These kids were able to do class almost entirely in English in their second grade, unheard of with any other group I’ve taught. These kids know that my favourite wrestler is The Undertaker, that I love Kappa and Benkei, and that given the choice I’d rather be eaten by a shark than a bear. I know they know, because all of these questions and more featured in a quiz game we played for our last lesson ;) I’m really, really going to miss these ones.
It’s also a big graduation because it is going to be my last. This time next year I will be here in Japan, but I won’t be an ALT. That feels strange. I am a notorious hoarder, and I put that to good use this week. I had kept a folder full of the self introduction work sheets I had the kids do in their very first English lesson with me at junior high. So yesterday, during our last lesson, I handed them back out. My intention was for them to see how much they have learned, how much their hand writing has matured and so on. It meant a lot more than that to them though; there was much laughter and nostalgia and squealing of “I wrote WHAT?” I wasn’t sure they’d remember, or even be interested, but they were enthralled. Take that people who complain when I don’t throw anything away ;)
Now my next problem is how to get through the ceremony without bawling…