It’s the time for goodbyes in Japanese schools. Today we said farewell to the 13 teachers and office staff who are being transferred to other schools or retiring this year. This included our principal, vice-principal, and the two most senior office workers, so next year is going to be an interesting time.
I also said goodbye to two of the English teachers who have been most influential on my time in Japan. Of all teachers, these two always took a concern in my well-being and overall adjustment to living in Japan, and were always there to stick up for me and the importance of my lessons.
One teacher in particular has been my friend and mentor over the last year. I learned so much from our conversations together, just as I hope he did. We talked about everything from movies and TV shows to the effects of poverty, what it’s like growing up without a dad, religion, race, and sexuality. Everything was up for discussion, and those discussions will be some of my favorite memories of my time here.
In his goodbye speech tonight this teacher took the time to tell everyone that he thought I was intelligent and a good teacher. This meant so much to me, not only because receiving public recognition from a mentor is a good feeling, but it felt especially meaningful in light of the recent cutting of my schedule for next year.
I think it will be more challenging to make it through my remaining months at work without my friend and fellow gossip, but I will always have the memory of his compliment and know that he believes in my ability to be a good educator, and that’s no small thing.
P.S. If for some reason I didn’t understand a subject change in his speech and he didn’t actually compliment me please don’t tell me.