Japanese Elementary School Perks

One of the cool things about teaching at a Japanese elementary school is that sometimes, after work, they prepare food. Granted, it’s not usually a four course meal or anything, but it is quite tasty. On one of the colder days last week (winter is rearing his frigid head) one of the teachers prepared a suiton soup. If you’re not familiar with suiton, the best way I can explain it is that it’s kind of like a dumpling made of flour. On a cold day like this one, a bowl of this hot soup, Continue Reading …

I Want to Go Back To the U.S.

I was talking with one of the teachers at a staff get together last week, and she was telling me an interesting story about one of the students. There was a young man who was becoming severely frustrated at school. It all came to a head when the young man broke down in tears last week while doing kanji drill practice. With tears in his eyes, “I want to go back to America” the boy sobbed. The teacher did her best to comfort the young man. When I actually found out who the student was, I Continue Reading …

My First Elementary School Undokai

“What? I have to go to work on a Saturday!?! Arrrghhhh! Mendokusai, ne?” Those were my initial thoughts when I heard I was going to have to be at my school at 8:00 am on a mid-September, Saturday morning. It is rare indeed that I ever have to go to work on a Saturday morning. This particular Saturday was an exception, it was one of the three, major, special occasions that happen at a Japanese elementary school...The Undokai (運動会 or うんどうかい). The 運動会 (うんどうかい or undokai) translates to mean Continue Reading …

Teaching at a Japanese Public Elementary School: Which Grade Level Is Your Favorite?

Uh oh, that’s a tough question, ne? Doshio kana? As a teacher I’m supposed to say that I enjoy every grade level because I don’t want to show any favoritism for any particular grade. I will be a bit diplomatic with my answer to this one, but completely honest at the same time. It’s definitely a fair question to ask. Hmm...which grade to I like best? Well of course the answer is “I like them all.” But it goes a bit deeper than that. While all grades are fun to teach, I'm not going to Continue Reading …

Donaldo Sensei You Should Get Married in March

It’s good to be teaching again. I had forgotten just how interesting teaching in a Japanese elementary school is. I had forgotten funny my little guys can be. We were having our standard, post-lunch cleaning session, listening to Carpenters over the PA system. I start sweeping the English room with some of the second graders. “Donarudo Sensei...ne...” one little girl came up to me and asked. “Kekkonshimasu ka?” (けっこんしますか; Are you married?) “Iie...itsuka, kekkonshimasu.” (No...someday I’ll Continue Reading …