I am very familiar with the feeling of the holiday season in the states. Halloween kicked off fall, and right about now people are getting ready for their Thanksgiving. But Christmas is also quietly looming, waiting for Friday to start the craze.
Here in Japan however, as soon as Halloween was over (or maybe even a little before), the Christmas lights went up. I’ve been listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” in every shop since the end of October. Obirin has put up a “Merry Christmas” sign and there are “Merry Christmas” banners on all the light posts. The local super market checkers are wearing santa hats. So, naturally, besides going a little bit crazy (I can’t believe Christmas is still a month away) I forgot that Thanksgiving existed.
But it does exist! And it can happen here too! Yesterday I went to a lovely Thanksgiving party at Yukiko Ebara’s house (Yukiko works at Obirin, but she is also a wonderful connection, resource and friend for the Shansi Fellows here). There were about 15 people, all friends of Yukiko or part of the Shansi “family.” There was turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pies. There was also sushi, onigiri, and plum wine. I ate my turkey and mashed potatoes with chopsticks. I ate way too much, and now feel a little sick, but it was probably worth it.
From front to back: Lissette, Jordan, Cassie, myself. I was a little drunk, forgive my weird expression.
Everything I learned and truly believed for many years about good teaching practice is out the window. I was always careful to never think of “good” and “bad” students, always careful to ask myself how I could reach each student, always careful to remember that students are not equal, that everyone has a different learning style, and that I should be patient and flexible with each special learner. NO.
There are only evil students, who arrive 45 minutes late, who give me death stares when asked to write a journal entry, who fall asleep at every opportunity, who pretend to have never heard of the English language, AND average students, who show up on time, who reluctantly do the minimum required amount of work (when I ask nicely), and who sometimes try to use English, since this is English class after all.