Thursday, March 5, 2009

We are family

It feels like two months too soon, but the school year is almost over!

You see, Japan has year-round school -- with the school year starting in mid-April and ending in mid-March. So this is my last week of the school year to teach middle school students since they have final exams next week. (I'll be at elementary schools every day next week. Woo hoo! And then I'll be spending three weeks in the office. Yay. *sarcastic voice*)

Today was my last day at Mugyo Jr. High/Elementary School. Period. The school is closing, and that makes me very sad because I love that school. There are only four junior high students and five elementary students (that's why it's closing), so I've gotten to know them all well.

Mugyo is the school where I have "mail time" with the junior high students. It's also the school where I teach the elementary students about different countries.

Despite me feeling a little bummed about it being the last day, we had a nice "farewell day." The English teacher, Ms. Ishikawa, made me feel so special by giving me a laminated picture collage that she made. Then the students gave me a handmade present -- a drawing by Kohei, surrounded by messages from each of the students and teachers.

What great gifts!!

With Kohei and Atsumi, I learned how to correctly make and pour green tea ("ocha" お茶) for a tea ceremony. We drank tea together while sitting on tatami mats in the school's tea room. Afterwards, we played both Japanese and English card games.

I wore my "Mugyo school uniform" to show my school spirit. I just happen to have a track suit that looks like what the students wear every day. Cool, huh?

I took my flute to school today and played Pomp and Circumstance -- the "graduation march" -- with the junior high students and Ms. Ishikawa. Then we took a group picture...

I'm definitely going to miss this group! (which includes the elementary students and all the teachers.) As I told everyone in my farewell speech, Mugyo feels like a family.

I feel honored to have been a part of their family for the last several months.


Dawn said...

That is sad about the school closing. The drawing of you looks really good. I still can't believe you have started to like tea - LOL - figured that one was totally out. How does school go for them - a month in and a month out?

Lauren said...

That is sad! The good thing is that they will never forget you and you have taught them things they will use for along time!!! Keep your head up and think about what a difference you have made!!!
Love you