Adjusting back to my normal life was difficult and hectic. The day after leaving Tokyo, I was biking to work. It was even weirder for me to think that just the day before I had been with my dad, who I hadn’t seen since March.
My first day back was a full one. I had 5 out of 6 classes that day and I was constantly racing from place to place, trying to get everything done and ready for the next class. Thanks to my trip with my dad, though, I was able to come up with an amazing idea for my holiday lesson. Instead of focusing on Christmas, or going through the nightmare of trying to explain Hanukkah again, I decided instead to do a generic “Winter Holidays” class.
First we did a rather basic fill-in-the-blank song with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Then, the really cool part, I had all the kids make “New Year’s Wishing Stars.” Each student filled in a star with their wishes for the new year. I gave them suggestions like love, happiness, and money. As a result, a lot of kids just copied down my examples. Some of them, however, really got into the project and came up with their own real wishes.
A couple of my favorites:
- I wish for a better body.
- I wish for a higher IQ.
- I wish to be taller.
- I wish for time.
- I wish for pride.
Though they aren’t all grammatically correct, I am still impressed that each and every student wrote a sentence with minimal begging on my part. It was the least frustration I’ve ever had trying to get the students to write in English. I’ve taken all of the stars that people (students and teachers alike) have made and hung them on my English board.
I even started asking non-English teachers to make stars in hopes that the students noticed that even teachers were trying in English. The principal even made one!
I’m not sure what to do with them once I take them all down, but one of the teachers suggested that I burn them.