We all get to a point in life when we look back and think about all the things we have achieved, the things we regret, the happy memories etc.
I was recently told that my last class with my 3rd grade students is fast approaching. In fact it is this Friday!
You should make note that I have been teaching my 3rd grade students for 2 years and I have been through a lot with them...and I mean A LOT!
I don't like saying goodbye, it's too difficult for me. It's the not knowing whether you will meet again and the fact that gradually you will begin to forget.
Looking back I remember the time I left High School (Seniors as we called it)... We had the frantic running around snapping pictures, getting people to sign none-official year books (our school didnt do year books, so we made do with hard back note books and used a passport picture from our yearly photos)...we also signed each others shirts.
But to be honest most of school now is a blur. I remember being in classes and being so bored... the times when we played football in winter and my legs would be so red because of the cold...the mad rush to catch the bus home because i had PE last thing...trying to come up with excusing for forgetting homework...etc
It's strange that I spent so long at school which has amounted to a few good memories and some photos stored away in the wardrobe.
I look at my 3rd grade students imagining what their lives will be like in 10 years time (yes its been almost 10 years since i finished high school)... One thing i do remember is being scared - school was safe - it was routine - i didnt really think much about my future...i guess part of me though school would go on forever... and it sort of did!
I went to college afterward for 2 years and then i went to university where a changed many times and completed about 5 years of university before becoming a teacher in Japan.
Some say that your future is not written - and I'd like to believe that this is true...To know that i can do what ever i want in my future and I full control...That i can easily change my plans and what i do now will affect what happens next.
But some also talk about fate - the buddha taught that everything has happened...I partly believe this, too.
The fact that i had so many ideas of things i wanted to become - the last idea being a film maker...and the fact that i set myself up on that path (performing, drama, film making, university etc) - i find myself teaching English...ME!...A TEACHER!!!
Being a teacher was not my dream...I hated the feeling of a coffee breath teacher leaning over me assuming that i needed help when in fact i was just bored - he soon found out when i quickly did the work...i found school limiting and most teachers boring...Teachers always had the set same lesson, never really enjoyed answers questions that were not in the text book.
There was only 2 teachers that really inspired me!
The first was a sub-teacher who came in because our science teacher was always sick...the new teacher clearly had a passion for teacher but was used to teaching private schools where the level was higher... he had free range at the private school and would take the students outside and go off topic and spark imigination...he started to do that with us but students complained, parents complained and so they got rid of him...he told us about his dream - he wanted to travel across europe on his motorbike and end up in africa where he would find a tree in a dessurt and have a photo taken of him, his bike and the tree in the dessert!
I haven't heard from him since he left! - the last advice he gave was "Live, explore and enjoy life and don't let anyone stop you from doing what you want!"
Sometimes i wish that teachers and students could be in contact more BUT students are children and some teachers abuse their powers - although these people i would not call teachers.
Anyway...the second teacher was my form teacher (or homeroom teacher as we say in japan)... He was a good teacher and also helped students...he knew many students in his class liked cricket so he arranged discounted tickets to watch cricket on a field trip... he took an active part in trying to make sure we were happy and getting the most out of school... whilst i was at school he and his wife at an accident... His wife fell off a waterfall and in his desperation he jumped after her...she died instantly, but as bad as it sounds, he survived by landing on her...although is was in critical condition.
He eventually came back to work...he didnt show his emotions to the school and continued as normal...it is his courage, strength and love that I admire from him.
So, as i mentioned, my students will graduate soon - there last class is on Friday.
Most don't know what they want to do and i know many of them are scared. But as a teacher i know they will be ok and i will be sure to let them know this... Whether life is already planned out or has yet to be written we need not worry to much...instead we should focus on the now, enjoy life - yes the future is important but dont dwell on it, just have some consideration for the future.
Look back at the past can help but dont dwell on the past either - you cant fix it but can learn from it.
Friends come and go...we meet new people all the time...change is a good thing...life always changes.
There are those who do...those who dream...and those who don't! - and there are those who do all three!
There is no right or wrong answer to how to live life... just live it and enjoy!
This is the message i will give to my students!
On a side note - looking back i realised i didnt get involved much with school - mostly because there wasnt much of an option...the great thing about Japan is they have so many clubs - so this year i am going to try and go to these clubs...the great thing about bing a TEFL teacher in japan is you are sort of half teacher and half student!