So, I’ve taken a hike for a while here in the Land of the Rising Sun, but I’m back. Where did I go? I mean, the Internet is right there. So are my fingers. But I decided to take a minor break just to collect my bearings and dive into the restart of my new high school.
What I love about my high school is that the atmosphere is really different from that of the other schools I’ve visited, both Japanese and American. It’s calm with a subdue excitement traced back to the students’ carefree nature and the teachers’ peaceful personalities. It feels fun and productive to work at my school.
Going from junior high school to high school is a bit of a jump. In junior high school, it’s a little more stressful than high school. The students are required to be there, and because the elementary schools don’t have a uniform, junior high school is the place where students suddenly have to conform to uniforms, amongst other things. Junior high schools impose some rigid rules on these innocent students, like constantly monitoring their ties and uniforms, or their hair land eyebrows. Teachers are more strict; they’re tasked with changing former elementary students into young, responsible teenagers. People are stressed on both sides: students for the sudden change and teachers for imposing that change.
As for high school, students pay tuition, but they’re left more to themselves to do what they want. They already know the uniform rules, but they have freedom to pick different shirts to wear, girls can wear pants, and everyone can fix their hair, makeup, and eyebrows the way they like. Depending on the rules of the school, teachers are also free to do what they want. There’s minimum supervision and micromanagement compared to junior high school.
I’m enjoying this freedom from being an English assistant teacher, too. I don’t get as many classes, and since teachers rely on me for activities and cultural exchange, I’m also free to do whatever I choose to. In the free time, when I’m done planning lessons and preparing materials for school or English activities, I’m reading. I’ve read many books since starting as a teacher, including some classics like Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why We Can’t Wait, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and Jack London’s White Fang and Call of the Wild. I’ve picked up some books by Haruki Murakami, or Japan’s contemporary noir-esque writer, George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, and several black civil rights books.
Of course, I don’t read all of the time. Normally after school, I train students for English speech contests, English spelling battles, and other English-speaking presentations. In some cases, I come back home after being at school for 10 hours. I really like my job, and recently, my husband and I decided on a career in speech-language pathology, or speech therapy. It’s pretty similar to this profession, so I’ve just been preparing for that.
But I really needed time away from blogging. It helps to step away and use that time to spend with people in reality or do things for yourself minus the blogging. Hopefully, once I get my bearings down, I’ll be able to get back to regular blogging until the next time I need some time off.