Thursday, 7 January 2010

Greeting Jackie Teacher at Asahi Kindergarden

Today I went for my first day at the high end kindergarten that my school farms me out to. Believe it or not this kindergarten for three to five years olds charges the equivalent of $10000.00 American for one student. I am their token foreign teacher which apparently leads prestige to the organization. The children are incredibly cute and somewhat confused. I teach each class for twenty-five minutes once a week and I have three classes that consist of their mothers. There apparently are no fathers.... or none to be seen, plus the school only employs female teachers (not that a male could be a primary teacher as the system requires a grade eight in piano, Japanese boys are not taught to play the piano). Josh is not to come to the school either (it would probably be okay; only extremely awkward). So, the end of this rant is that I am their new English teacher.
I just took a small pause to replace my nose ring which I am not to wear because it might scare the children.
Today the head teacher, the only old lady at the kindergarten. This requires explanation... Japanese women usually go into retirement at about age thirty (and even that is quite old) Japanese women do not usually work after they are married which you better be by age thirty. The government fosters this by taxing very heavily any family with a dual income. So the kids never see their dads and their all the mothers are house wives.
So back to the point; the older head teacher sits me in the big hall of the school and all the kidders parade in, each class separately, boys in one line and girls in another. Each class stops at an appointed spot each child puts their arms out in front of them (to have perfect spacing). They say something in Japanese then slap the arms down to their sides. They then all sit at the same time in their perfect little rows ( I will remind you that these children are between three and five years old).
One of the teachers acts as the MC, after a lot of bowing and greetings all said together she introduces the head teacher, I stand and smile trying to act like I understand something of what she is saying. Then all of the children are directed to look at me, I smile and wave. The MC says 'Jackie Teacher' and the entire kindergarten repeats, 'Jackie Teacher'. At this point I am instructed up to the mic to say a few words. I say 'Hello' followed by a hundred little echos. I say, 'nice to meet you' followed by my chorus of repeaters. Then I am at a loss, I say 'English is FUN and thank-you (arigato gozimas)' and sit down. They then play a song on the piano and all the students sing along. At this point they all file out in the most organized fashion; no child breaks the line in perfect swirly, snaking paths the children go back to their classrooms.
I am informed that, 'Jackie Teacher your time finish' and I go home..... cutest school ever with the organizational level that would make any business or army for that matter proud.


  1. Wow! I am glad to hear that all is going well. I am teacher assistaning and if I could get my high school students to do 1% of that it would make my life so much easier. Tim and I are looking forward to continuing to read your blog. It sounds like things are going really well.

    Miss you lots

  2. Josh,I am following your blog in Jon's name, hope you don't mind but I dont know how to get my own......(hey,I'm old) lol. Anyway I lvoe it, it reads like a book, and so much to learn. Thank you hon.miss you and love you . nana xxx