11.15.2004

A new school today, my third and final before I begin rotating from the start again - 東中学校 (Higashi Junior School). This school is out of town and placed somewhat randomly in the middle of a vast network of paddy fields and although only a 15 minute journey by local train it feels a million miles away from the built up busyness of downtown Wakayama City.
I seem to have struck on a good geographical cross-section with the three schools I have been allocated and the personality of each appears to be influenced by it's immediate surroundings.
The first school was Kusumi which was way across the Kinokawa River up on top of a mountain. The kids here were for the most part wild and fun but barely academic and were essentially a tough bunch on which to cut my teaching teeth. Next I was spoiled with Joto, a school smack in the middle of the city. The kids (and staff) here were for the most part studious, bookish and quiet. The asshole rebellious kids here were not even close in their anarchy to the least disruptive elements at Kusumi although they obviously thought they were reaching new ground in the 'I couldn't give a fuck about learning English' attitude camp. How I laughed.
And now Higashi. It's early days for me to generalise the student body but I can already tell it's different. The kids are shy, and although their English ability is clearly very good - at least in terms of writing and reading - they are reluctant to speak. The staff too are particularly genial, tremendously laid back in their acceptance and attitude towards my newness and foreigness, yet are also slow to speak. Although having said that I had a great albeit brief chat with the music teacher who looks uncannily like Jerry Garcia.

I'm enjoying my job more and more.

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