It’s So Awesome When Kids Actually Want to Learn

If you’re a teacher in the United States public school system this may resonate with you. How many times have you taught a lesson and at the end of it you felt that your kids didn’t appreciate or listen to a damn thing you did or said? I used to happen to me more than I’d care to mention. There’s nothing like feeling overworked and under-appreciated. It’s a part of the reason why I burned out so quickly in the United States (in public school; I didn’t burn out while teaching karate). Two things happened today that I thought were really cool.

I had to teach a group of second graders immediately after lunch and from my teaching experience, I know kids have a tendency to flip out after lunch time. I was kind of curious to see what my first, post-lunch lesson with Japanese students would be like. True to form this has been my rowdiest group so far. But there is a big difference in being rowdy because you’re misbehaving and being rowdy because you’re excited about class. That’s what this was. This kids were bouncing off the walls to answer questions and get involved. I had a harder time getting this group to settle, but understandably so. But class was great. After I finished teaching and said goodbye for the day. As I was gathering my stuff, a slew of kids came up to shake my hand. One of them said to me arigatou gozaimashita…tanoshikatta (ありがとうございました。。。たのしかった/thank you…class was fun). After class, while I was preparing for my next class, I could hear students outside doing one of the clapping games I taught them that day, and when they would see me in the halls

When was the last time one of public school students came up to you and thanked you for teaching them? With all due respect, I felt many of the karate students I taught in the U.S. were very similar, but public school this was a rare occurrence.

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