Monday, 26 July 2010

Last day at school

Tuesday was my last day at school. I took the remainder of my contract days off since I had a surplus of nenkyuu (paid holidays). The most nerve-wracking business of the day was giving my farewell speech to all the students and teachers at a farewell ceremony in the gym. On paper it shouldn't have been any scarier than the one I did at Kagikou two weeks before, but at Tokusho I know more of the students, more of the teachers, and the place has been more of a home since Higashi closed.

The ceremony, like all Japanese ceremonies, was complicated and confusing. I had to sit down in a chair at the front of the room at the end of the regular end of term ceremony. Then the student guidance teacher harangued the students about discipline in the worst possible way - that way teachers talk in assemblies without having anything written down, and they just cover the usual cliches with lots of pausing while they work out their next line. Then the career guidance teacher gave a spiel, this one at least prepared. Then the teacher in charge of school business gave another speech about things the students needed to be aware of over the summer. Finally, I was announced, and I went up to the stage where the Principal spoke briefly about the wonder that is me. Then I gave my speech, which despite its hasty preparation the morning of, my forgetting it at home and even hastier rewriting it in brief memo form, went off quite well. At the end I took out my concealed camera and took a picture of the students, to better communicate what it's like to stand up in front of everyone:
After my speech, the head of the student council said a few words and I was given a giant bouquet of flowers. The students sang the school song at me and I descended the stage, and walked out with the students clapping and the teachers bowing. It was a nice moment.

I stayed at school for most of the day, and some students dropped by to say goodbye and give letters or gifts. I took pictures with them so I would remember them if I ever saw them again. I think I probably owe these kids more than they owe me for being their teacher.

On Tuesday evening Ada had a farewell party, which was pleasant. I made Mario order Uma no karaaage (an inside joke from our Momotaro musical of two years ago), much to the consternation of the waiter. I found it, and still find it difficult to feel really sad about leaving, even though it's less than two days away for me, but maybe I'll fall apart before the end. We can only hope.

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