Encounters of the best

sakura1Today was one of “those” days, full of serendipity and other unexpected events, people, things…whatever. It’s been such a mix, not knowing quite how to approach things with my classes in the “waning days” of my teaching. I flip-flop back and forth between sticking to the so-called curriculum that I’ve always taught and just listening to my students and sort rolling with the punches. In the end, it seems the latter is the best while trying to squeeze in a little of the other. It lightens things for all of us and it seems we’re all a lot happier. Today, I felt like I let go and just let things go just that way. My J1s had a writing assignment, then, we watched a program on Kimarite (NHK), the 82 ways of winning techniques in sumo. It was all in Japanese, so we focused more on the short features showing the many different ways those incredibly large sumo wrestlers fall, fly or tumble out of the ring. It was entertaining. The best part of the day was yet to come though.

I’d had an administrator “pop” in with Japanese visitors, saying they’d be back later to join my J2 class in their lessons. Needless to say, things like this always put me on the spot. In fact, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. The lesson had to do with different ways of saying “I’ll try to….”: In this case: 食べてみます。(Tabete mimasu.) I’ll try to eat/I’ll try to eat this. It was a short introduction, then we moved into a lesson in eating with hashi (chopsticks). They played with picking up dried lima beans and having a relay race. Then, our visitors arrived and I just let nature take its course. They were given another lesson in holding their hashi properly as well as individual attention where it was needed. Each student had personal interaction and received high praise and many compliments on their abilities. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was an extremely brief encounter, but it left my students feeling (as Beth described) euphoric. I think I’ve been riding a bit high myself.

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