I started off my week by giving a speech to all my third grade students about how I was failing math in high school until I found a teacher who tutored me almost every morning before school so I could pass his class. I told them to never be afraid to ask for extra help if they needed it. The whole point of my speech was to give the students some insight into my academic life in high school…or lack there of because I was a terrible student except when it came to English class and chorus. So I was really honest with them and told them that I was a bad student, but I had my math teacher who wouldn’t give up on me. It was really nice because all the homeroom Japanese teachers agreed it would be good practice for the students to listen to me speak in English without someone translating for them.
And then I told them all in English that I was would be leaving Amami in August.
It’s not easy to explain to my students why I am leaving after only one year, just as it was not easy to explain to people back home last year why I was moving to Japan of all places for a year. But I realized something in class on Thursday when a third year student asked me why I was going back to America. Of course I told the class about my boyfriend who was waiting for me, but even more, I told them it was because I was going to teach students in America who want to get better at English. I told them how they inspired me to change my career from teaching writing to teaching ESL. I didn’t realize that until I said it. And then they all clapped for me. I had to leave the room before I cried in front of them.
I came here with the notion that I was going to inspire my students to talk in English, but I had no idea they’d have this much of an impact on me.