Before the sultry summer settles across Japan…we have spring. Blossoms abound, covering the countryside in every shade of pink, purple, yellow, and white imaginable. Spring is known as a season of change and transformation; this season is proving to be exactly that.
Over our trip home to the U.S., I was informed my board of education back in Japan had decided to move me to three new schools for the coming school year. I was heartbroken. Over the past three months I had formed bonds with my students and the teachers with whom I worked at Yorii, Youdo, and Sakurazawa elementary schools. And now I would (most likely) never get to see them again.
Now, I know this may sound a bit whiney…but I had just gotten the systems at those schools down. I understood the idiosyncrasies and the methods of teaching. And now, I start again.
It’s not all that bad, of course…In fact, I could easily argue that my current situation is much better. For starters, I am closer to my schools, which means my earliest train clocks in at a reasonable 7:20 am. (An extra half hour makes ALL the difference!) Secondly, instead of having to be completely in charge of the lessons, the new schools actually have a curriculum for me to follow. Fancy that! Now, it is all in Japanese…but what’s life without a challenge, right?
Another up side to my current situation is that two of the schools are about a twenty or thirty minute walk from their respective train station. I have no problem with this. The neighborhoods are gorgeous and it is good exercise. Plus it gives me time to get my nerd on and listen to my favorite pod casts.
My current schools are quite a change from my previous schools. Hachigata Elementary School （鉢形小学校）is about the same size as my previous three schools. Orihara Elementary School （折原小学校）has a tiny student body. (Only seven third graders!) Obusuma Elementary School （男衾小学校）is huge! Almost five hundred students. Quite the variation compared to Yorii, Youdo and Sakurazawa, which are all roughly the same size.
With this change, as with every change, comes a choice: The choice of attitude. Either mope around and whine about how much I miss my old students and schools… or embrace my new situation with arms and heart wide open. I truly believe ones attitude manifests itself in real life …you have the power to make or break any situation that arises.
Naturally, I will miss my previous students and fellow teachers for a while yet…but I am already beginning to feel at home in my new schools. The students, teachers and schools are different-but they are all just as wonderful as the ones I knew last term.
Here’s to embracing change.