a photoblog about my feet (a day in the life of dan le)
yesterday, Monday, September 3rd, was my first official day of school after a whole year-and-two-months off from teaching. it feels good to be back although i am still not in the classroom yet. my first day with students starts tomorrow (wednesday)! i am/have been excited for quite some time. it’s time to put in some good work.
i made a speech all in Japanese, no less, in front of all of the faculty, which is customary when a new employee enters a school. i have to say i was a bit nervous because i only just began learning japanese. i also had to do an all-english speech in front of over 1,000 students who may or may not have understood me (see picture below).
the school culture in Japan is already very different from that of America. every time students return back to school from a break, yesterday from summer break, they always have an “opening ceremony”. during this opening ceremony, students all sit, cushion-less, on the gym floor and listen quietly to the principal and anyone else on the stage speak. one main difference i heard that really surprised me was this:
the dean, who was visibly nervous, came up to the podium to speak. he wanted to address an issue that had been bothering him: school theft. it is not a common occurrence at Meito. instead of blaming students, which is the american style (you’re guilty until proven innocent), he addressed the issue in a serious and honest way. he stated that some students’ belongings went missing and that he was upset over the situation. i learned from a colleague who translated his speech that, out of respect for students, they don’t say “don’t steal” outright because that would mean they don’t trust the students. not blame students? “that’s the only way LAUSD’s administration would handle it,” i thought to myself. i was floored when i heard this. i have a lot to learn.
my day was marked by lots of running around and trying to figure out where to go and what classes i’d be teaching and the like. all-in-all, it went well. i did only have over a month to get adjusted with the area and school. i hope you enjoy these minimal pictures of my first day of official school.