I teach in a suburb close to a Honda Plant therefore I have many Japanese students. Not only do my students come to school five days a week, many of them are tutored four days a week and they attend Japanese School on Saturdays.
My students attend Columbus Japanese Language School in a neighboring district that allows them to use their buildings. They meet every Saturday except for holidays and they work on multiple subjects, mathematics, language arts, social studies and calligraphy. My students complain they have a lot of homework but they always seem to get it all done. Once a year they have an open house for other educators to visit. I have been invited for many years but have never gone.
This year I decided I needed to go…I met a fellow ELL teacher there then had lunch together. I didn’t tell all of my students that I’d be coming so some of them were very surprised. I was invited by one of my sixth grade students and when I arrived they were working on calligraphy. They were using large paint brushes and black paint to create beautiful Kanji. Some of the visiting teachers were invited to create some along side their students.
Of course I didn’t understand much of what was being said but it was great to see some of my former and of course my current students. The teachers were just like your typical american teachers…some were dynamic while others seem to be bothered they were up so early.
I enjoy seeing my students in a different learning environment. Some seemed so much more relaxed while others behaved the same they do in american school. It is hard for me to imagine having to live in a country where your language is not spoken at school and only at home. Being at Japanese school created a sense comfort for my students, something they may not feel with me at school.