Hello and welcome back! This is the fourteenth post of our study abroad trip in Japan. On this day, we made a visit to an elementary school, and spent some time teaching a bit of English to sixth graders! This made me a bit nervous, as I have very little experience with children. However, the idea of becoming an English teacher in Japan has been on my mind since declaring Japanese as a major. Therefore, this was a great way to test the waters.
Before going, we made three groups of two and one group of three of us students to take on each classroom. Then, we decided what kind of lesson we would teach them. We were allotted about twenty minutes after we all ate lunch together to instruct them. I had so much fun communicating with the children as we ate lunch. They were so inquisitive about my partner and I, and so polite and sweet.
When it was time for us to proceed with our lesson, my partner and I walked to the front of the classroom and drew a diagram of a stick figure on the chalkboard in order to label the parts of the body for “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” In Japanese, the song is actually translated as “head, shoulders, knees, and feet,” and we attempted to make this discrepancy clear to them. After we ran through the song in both languages a few times, we decided to proceed with Simon Says in order to quiz them on their English knowledge of the words. Thankfully, there was a child in the class that was fluent in both English and Japanese already, and translated the rules of the game to his fellow classmates.
After we completed our lesson, we helped them do their daily routine of cleaning up the room before returning to our seats to observe the rest of their school day. We observed a calligraphy lesson they were having. This was really amazing. The calligraphy teacher went as far as to notice my friend and I in the back of the classroom observing, ask us our names, and write them in kanji form. How thoughtful! As we were watching, my friend and I kept hearing the sound of a unique bird coming from outside and could not place in our minds what kind of bird it was. Luckily, at the end of the day, we all reconvened to observe some after-school activities and noticed that they had a peacock outside! How intriguing.
This experience really made me appreciate how diverse their curriculum is and how responsible they are teaching the children to be. I took a lot of information from this and am excited to seek out new ways to make an impression on my surroundings.