Today is just a randomly singular day I’m at my favorite school with Ms. M. All my other schools are great, but this one I really miss on a regular basis and always look forward to coming here. And it’s not just because they know I take my coffee with sugar that it’s my favorite (although that does help).
The entire faculty is very enthusiastic and happy to help the English teachers when we come. You might hear a few, “Drat. Forgot about English! Okay, see you for third period!”s but for the most part there is no grumbling and moaning about how they have to work English into their class schedule or how it’s troublesome or a pain to deal with. And it’s not that they all love English personally, I have several teacher here who loathe English, they hated it in school and hate it now, but they are good enough to teachers to put aside their own personal dislikes and likes to help the students learn and to be enthusiastic in class. (I personally find that to be a mark of a great teacher (or adults), not letting your personal prejudices affect the learning of your students.)
In turn the students are (sometimes overly) enthusiastic and energetic in class. This is one of the few schools where students almost always volunteer to help or happily comply to participate in front of the class (even the shy kids seem less reluctant to answer questions). Granted I probably do just as much yelling of “No cheating!” during games, but you’ll always have the kids who try and cheat the system (although here I think they might do it just so they can yell back, “I wasn’t cheating!”). And in all their ‘genki’ glory they actually remember the English they’re taught. I have plenty of classes who bounce of the walls with (what I assume is) pure sugar induced hyperactivity and who are enthusiastic about coming to class, but don’t remember ANYTHING. These kids do.
And in addition to practically the entire school being enthusiastic about the English curriculum, some teachers (not a lot but a few) go out of their way to incorporate English into daily lessons. Teachers here routinely ask Ms. M for copies of her materials and posters. Teachers read our clip art versions of Doctor Seuss books on days they don’t have English. Some upper grader (5/6th) teachers (here and other places) use the English days of the week for the board instead of the Japanese.
It might not be paradise (there isn’t enough cheesecake) but it’s pretty darn close. What’s your teaching paradise? Do you have a favorite school? Or a least favorite school?