May 25, 2001
now I'm feeling: Very Confused
now I'm listening to: Brilliant Green
Brilliant Green -- Lucky Star
sunglasses are a
big hit with the students
was my last day at Seiwa. I'm really, really going to miss
this school. This was the school I coached the kids the most
for the English recitation contest last year. A lot of these
kids really like me and I really like them. I get my butt
pinched or smacked by a number of the girls here, which usually
only the boys do.
went around during the day and took some pictures of the kids
cleaning up the classrooms and the outside. When I do this,
I tell any remaining teachers that I'm going out to help with
the cleaning, and I do help a little bit, but mainly I'm a
big distraction because I usually take my camera, too, and
most of the students want to be in the photo. I washed a few
windows, mopped a floor, then just went around taking pictures
and trying to get all the names of the kids who really made
an impression on me.
got some cool gifts from the students. Some origami, a couple
of origami books from Ai (little doll, she is), some pictures.
It was really nice. A couple of the kids who came by were
really upset that I was leaving. Towards the end of the day,
I talked to a few of the teachers I liked. It's weird. I made
friends with all of the teachers who most of the other teachers
don't like. I didn't do this on purpose and it kindof sucks.
There's a big division at this school, much more than my other
school let out a lot of the girls wanted to take pictures
with me and stuff. I got a couple more gifts. When we were
taking pictures outside Hitomi and Kiyoko came up to me and
wanted to say goodbye. We took some pictures together and
there were some more students who wanted to take pictures
with me. So I took them by the hands and said a good goodbye
and was swamped by students with a few cameras. Hitomi and
Kiyoko came back and said that they wanted to speak to me
privately and say a few words. After a minute, we went upstairs
to the teachers' meeting room (where we held most of our pronunciation
practices). Kiyoko was the last one in and closed the door
over. She turned around and looked up at me with big, red
eyes and a tear running down her cheeks and said, "Jeff.
Please don't go back to America."
first I couldn't think of anything to say. I told her that
I had to go and asked her to make friends with the next ALT.
She asked why I needed to go back to America and asked me,
begged me, to stay in Japan. As gently as I could, I told
her that it was time for me to go back home, that I had a
lot of things to do in America, and I needed to start my career.
She didn't really seem to understand (she understood the words
just fine, it was that she just didn't understand).
Hitomi started crying then, as well. I couldn't believe it.
Kiyoko said that no one had ever had so much faith in her
or helped her so much in anything. Hitomi snorked out something
similar in Japanese. We spoke for about a half an hour. Kiyoko
was a mess by the time we left the meeting room and we made
our way back to the teachers' room. Most of the teachers were
gone already. I said goodbye again, I gave them each a quick
hug, then they left.
will never forget those two. Of all of my students, I will
keep in touch with them. They gave me as much, if not more,
than I gave them.
we said our goodbyes, I packed up my stuff, said a few final
goodbyes to the teachers who had stuck around, including a
couple of my favorite English teachers, and said goodbye to
the principal, who is actually a really nice guy.
enkai later that night had been set up a week in advance,
when they asked me for my 4000 yen. Goddam. I know I didn't
really get along with many of the teachers, but they made
me pay for my own farewell party!! I mentioned to this to
a few ALTs later and they were really surprised. No one had
ever heard anything like it. The enkai was pretty good,
but I felt a little awkward. One thing I really dislike about
enkais that you get a random seat. So the person sitting
next to you might not even like you, let alone speak English.
I got pretty lucky this time and got seated across from the
non-JTE English speaker. The one no one likes because she's
a little strange, but one of my favorite teachers at the school.
the enkai they gave me my farewell gift. A black, school
Isao bag that all of the students have. Some people thought
it was a gag gift, but the principal and vice-principal thought
I'd really like it, which I did. It's a great souvenir. One
teacher told me I was really lucky to receive it as a gift
because it is so expensive. Maybe that was part of the reason
that they made me pay the 4000 yen to go to the party.
the end of the party, everyone was going to go to a bar to
go drinking, but I passed (I probably should have gone, but
oh well) saying that I had to get up early the next day. Then
one teacher sortof took me aside and told me some things.
I didn't really understand him, he was drunk, slurring, and
using words I'd never heard, but I was left with the strong
urge to knock his block off. Later, Yoshimi, another teacher,
told me that he was just saying how he disagreed with my coming
to work late, or leaving after my classes were over. In short,
my American work ethic. Well, we can't please 'em all, ne?
was kindof a crappy end to a really depressing, but good day.
I'm not surprised in the slightest that my goodbyes with the
students were far more meaningful than those with the teachers.
think you never really know who you mean a lot to until you
leave them. Some of the students who were really upset...
I guess I meant a lot to them, but I never knew that I did