Starting in September, I have been volunteering as an English teaching assistant at a middle school for my CIP. As I have mentioned in the previous blog entry, I had to change schools this semester because of schedule conflicts. Though I missed my old school a bit, it was interesting to be able to help at two different schools. Both of the schools were actually very similar, but the activities I did were very different.
In the first school, I went to class and played English work games or read off vocabulary lists or readings or I went around helping out with worksheets. At the second school, I did that sort of thing the first time, but after that I started coming after class and practicing English conversations with the kids. We talked about a lot of things. Where we want to go on vacation, kpop sings that we like, which club they were in, and so on and so forth. They were really very cute, but it was a bit unfortunate that they were shy about speaking in English. Most of the time, they would go off in Japanese tangents about whatever we were talking about at the time. I sometimes think that I didn’t really do much to help with their English education, but I am still glad that I could meet them all.
The last time I went to speak with the 7th graders, there happened to be a girl in a wheelchair there as well. I was actually touched by how they all included her. Rather than making her sit in the wheelchair, one of the girls carried her over to a regular chair. After we talked, she tried to help her to the wheelchair again, but they both fell. They burst out laughing. The girl who helped her didn’t seem troubled or put upon at all. Although I am not well informed on the subject, I often hear about criticism for the Japanese view on and treatment of handicapped persons. As such, I was really proud of all of the girls who so naturally helped out and included their friend. Wednesday was the opening ceremony for the school, so I hope I can go at least one more time! It’s been a really interesting experience teaching here, and I won’t soon forget it.