Friday, October 21, 2005

Perry High School...the Japanese Version!

Well, it has taken me almost two weeks into my journey to visit the high school, and I was ready when we showed up! We found out that they wanted us to arrive early so the administrators could talk to us. I have to admit that I was kind of disappointed, because I had planned to get up early and run, but what can you do! I packed my slippers and headed off to the high school with the rest of the teachers.

It really is amazing how similar the schools here look to our American schools. I guess there are things in our world that connect all of us, and I’m excited to show all of you (my students) the similarities when I return! We got a bit of an overview at the high school. The school is grades ten through twelve, but we learned that the eleventh grade wouldn’t be there b/c they were on a field trip to Korea (wow…what a class trip!). The craziest thing that I learned is that when a teacher is absent, they don’t hire a sub. Instead the kids watch themselves alone in the classroom! I cannot imagine my Perry students doing that at all (sorry, guys!).

We got a schedule of classes and my friend, Heather, and I went immediately to the calligraphy class to watch. Students had the choice of three different art classes. They could take drawing, theory or calligraphy. We were lucky because this was one of the classes where the teachers weren’t there! The kids were soooo good! They all walked in and got to work. I wanted Heather to pinch me because I thought I was dreaming! We watched them for a bit and went on to explore other classes, including a tenth grade English class (where I took pictures of my Japan equivalent). I talked with the teacher and learned that the students read all Japanese literature all three years. They read no American Literature (some of my students would love that!). I can’t fathom the thought that your entirely schooling would be centered on one type of writing. Can you imagine a world without Shakespeare? Or Fitzgerald or Steinbeck? Crazy!

P.S. Tara...we found a boy sleeping through class so I took some pictures of him for you. I thought you'd like to see your "Japanese" twin! Imagine, sleeping through class....

I thought we got lucky and had a good lunch, because the hotel catered it (the students bring their own lunches in the high school). I was wrong when I opened my pack and found it was full of….fish! Surprise! I’ve never had that in Japan! There were some pieces of cheese so I ate that and mooched some off of other people. Good thing I packed plenty of grape mentos! I chowed down on those. We watched a video for students who were trying to decide where to go to high school and then explored a bit more. I befriended three senior boys and sweet-talked them into helping me get onto the computer. They used one of their friend’s passwords and I was e-mailing away!

We got to watch a club sport at the end of the day (every student has to participate in one). It was very cool. We saw tyko drumming, which involved the performers dressed in masks and almost dancing as they played these huge dreams. It was incredible! I wanted to stay and watch more, but we had to head to the dinosaur museum.

Yes, the dinosaur museum. Apparently, a twelve-year-old boy found a dinosaur bone in Katsuyama in 1996 on a field trip (what a find!). They learned that there were tons of bones in the area, thus creating a museum. I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of dinosaur bones, so the trip wasn’t too exciting to me. I spent most of the time in the gift shop (yes, Mr. Jenkins…shopping), but one can only look at so much dinosaur merchandise.

The day was well rewarded, though, because Don, Carla, Heather and I set out for pizza for dinner. There was a Farm Fresh Pizza restaurant near our hotel and it was a taste of heaven! We all ordered our own pizzas and inhaled them. I have to admit that I once again paid a huge sum of money (six dollars) for a glass of Coke. Geez!

I went to bed full of pizza and a little nervous of what awaited me the next day with my host family experiences. Okay, not a “little nervous,” I was VERY nervous! Wish me luck!


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