Monday, June 21, 2010

Midterm




*Above are pictures from our school Field Day.

Hello once again from Kumamoto, Japan. The rainy season has begun and it is HUMID here. We are in the middle of midterms here at Luther which means the pressure is high. I only gave one midterm, because most of my classes have presentations instead of midterm exams.

I teach the same curriculum I taught last year: high school 1st year general course English Communication, high school 1st year Sports course English Communication, high school 2nd year English Advanced course English Communication and junior high 1st year English Conversation. You may remember that Sports course students have a special curriculum because their focus is sports. Instead of taking lots of electives or heavy math and science classes they leave campus (most of them) early on Wednesday afternoons for practice. They also practice before school (some as early as 7am) and afterschool (usually until about 6:30/7pm) everyday. English Advanced course (or college prep) students tend to keep the same 7am-6/7pm hours as the athletes only they do not get out early on Wednesdays. Instead they spend these hours--before and after school--in extra classes (an extra hour of math each week for example).

Teaching the same curriculum means that I do not teach the same students. For my junior high classes this is a good thing. By the end of last school year my junior high students had had enough of me and I of them. I do see them from time to time and wonder how they are doing. I even talk with some, but I am glad to no longer have to teach those students. On the other hand I really miss some of my high school students from last year. The English course students are all preparing for college as this is their last year. Because these students speak the most English (or the highest level of English at Luther) it was easy for me to build relationships with them and to hold conversations with them about things other than classwork. For that reason I miss them the most. Yet my favorite class from last year was the Sports class. We had a lot of fun together even though they (as a class) may have had the lowest level of English of all my classes, except junior high. I miss them very much, so I take every opportunity I get to speak with them and go to their games.

With about 9 months left in my term as a J3 I'm nearing the end of what one might consider my own midterm. I am now looking back less at the lessons from last year and the students I love, instead I am trying to figure out what to do with the students I now have, and I'm beginning to look ahead more. Although I do not know where Rob and I will end up, it's exciting simply to explore the possibilities.

As for now, I like my current students more and more every day. I thank God for putting love in my heart for my students, because the job was pretty difficult until recently. As I said goodbye to friends and co-workers in March I started to long for home and grow tired of life in Japan. I lost motivation for learning Japanese, I stopped going to my Japanese church on a regular basis and I no longer enjoyed coming to work. Thanks to your prayers and the encouragement I received from some of you on Facebook, I've been feeling much better. Please continue to pray for me over the next nine months that I stay consistent with teaching, learning Japanese, and participating in church. It takes a lot of strength to live as a foreigner, sometimes I do not have enough. Pray especially that I would find joy in these things and outside of these things so that I will be refreshed by the Holy Spirit in all that I do here.

The Peace of Christ be with you all.