Thursday, 7 April 2011

Goodbye, 三年生 (third grade)...

At the end of February, my third graders took their high school entrance examinations and finished their Junior High School lessons. I never taught KJHS's third grade, but in TJHS we were quite close. I ate lunch with the students on a rotated schedule, and would chat to them in the corridor. Some of them had amazing English, and even if it wasn't perfect, they weren't afraid to try having a conversation. I would teach at one in three of their weekly English classes, so while I wasn't there, their main teacher got them to write goodbye letters to me.

I have photographed some of my favourite ones. While the English isn't perfect, it's impressive. But it's the little pictures that really do it. They're so cute. So, have a look, enjoy, and understand why I love teaching.

A couple of students gave me private letters, too. I cried at the graduation ceremony... it's amazing how attached students and teachers become to their school, to each other, but what struck me was that I didn't watch this ceremony as an outsider, but rather - I was a part of it. During their song, students gave little thank you speeches to the teachers. They were all in Japanese, but I could understand enough to know what was happening. All around me, teachers were crying their eyes out. Then, one of my favourite students thanked me - in English - saying that she would come to the UK one day to meet me. The next thing I knew, I was crying too. All I could compare it to was my last day of secondary school in Wales, where we excitedly signed each other's polo shirts and got out of there are fast as we could. There is a strong sense of community within the schools here - they are a family. Saying that, in the afternoon, everything was back to normal, and it was as if the third graders had never been there.


  1. Adorable! I love how so many of them say that you changed their perception of English classes :)

  2. These are awesome! I loved the one that said how you talked simply and slowly. And, of course, the mistaken "I will forget you." How precious!! Thanks for sharing!