Day 14: New Term, New Me

Things are starting to pick up here at work. Today we had our ceremony officially welcoming our new teachers and beginning the spring term. We heard speeches from out new principal and vice-principal, and the 2nd and 3rd year students got to find out which teachers are in charge of their clubs and classes this year.

Tomorrow we will be welcoming our new class of 1st year students to the school in a special ceremony, and they will be meeting the students who will share their class for the next year.

This term is an exciting time for me. This week I was given a cleaning job: the second floor girls bathroom. This may not sound as thrilling as it is, but supervising a team of 5 girls scrubbing toilets is the most responsibility I have been given in a year and a half working at this school. I felt almost like a real adult with a real job as I supervised the heck out of that toilet scrubbing. I even told two girls to go back and clean something again!

Wow, such power.

As a side note, the other teachers were very surprised when I agreed to supervise bathroom cleaning. I think the teachers here have no idea what I’ve had to clean to earn a paycheck before. Diapers left open on the floor and puke in the carpet at the movie theatre, anyone?

I think having a cleaning supervision job is really important at my school. Not only is cleaning time something the entire school does (apart from me before now) but it gives the students a chance to see me as more than the strange foreigner who comes to class once every two weeks and forces them to speak English. This gives the students and the teachers a chance to see me as more a part of the school community.

Actually since my leaving teacher gave me a shout-out at the leaving party last week, I’ve noticed many teachers making more of an effort to include me and treat me as a welcomed part of the team. It’s been a great feeling to have people asking me questions and starting conversations. Even if I’m not necessarily very welcomed in my own department, it’s nice to have teachers from other departments making an effort.

My hope is that my last term here is my best. I would like to leave this high school on a positive note. I think it would be good for me personally, good for my school, and even good for my successor to have a position to fill that is seen in a positive way. This term will be my busiest yet, but I am looking forward to getting back to having work to do, even if it means less time for reading and blogging at work. I think having a more normal workload will also help me transition back into being busy for my next adventure, too.

I don’t want to have unreasonable expectations. I’m not sure at all what this term will hold for me, but for now I’m going to hold on to the hope that it will be a time of positive interaction with the people at my work, meaningful classes with my students, and a resulting general increase in my sense of worth in my place of employment. Hopefully these aren’t unfounded hopes!

And hey, at the very least I’ll have the scheduled bathroom cleaning to look forward to.


One thought on “Day 14: New Term, New Me

  1. I love the idea of making the students help clean the school. (I know this is common in Korea as well.) I think it gives students a sense of responsibility for taking care of their school, and makes them more like to treat the facilities with respect.
    Glad to see you feel more welcome in your school! I know Japan can be a hard place for outsiders.


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