Sano Higashi High School
Sano Higashi High School, is my main school I’ll be working at for the duration of my stay here. I do have to visit two other schools but I will save those for a later post. The photo above is the outside entrance of my school (For now I can’t take any pictures of the inside). Sano Higashi is an academic school, meaning that a majority of students are expected to go to a four year college after graduation. Unlike in America, high school is not compulsory so many high schools here are much more specialized and the requirements to get into a good high school can be as challenging as getting into a good college.
Sano Higashi is much smaller than I expected, but compared to other schools around Japan it’s pretty big. The classrooms are kind of old too, they use chalkboards instead of white boards and none of the classrooms readily have a computer or a projector available. I don’t even think there’s a computer lab here which I hear is pretty normal all across Japanese schools. The work environment is very intimate, the only person who has work space to their self is the principle. Everyone else works in the same room together, with our desks touching each other. It’s strange at first but at the end of the day I am appreciative of it. .
My first official week at work was a challenge, from learning how to use a Japanese computer to figuring out all my coworkers names (Kanji is very difficult). On Tuesday all the teachers were back in town for work so I had to do my first aisatsu (introduction) to the principle, vice principle, and all of the staff during the morning meeting, all in Japanese. I was a nervous mess, and messed up some parts but over all the teachers and I were very thankful for it. Even though I was dreading it, I’m happy I did it because now the teachers that don’t speak any English feel much more comfortable talking to me. Although my language skills are pretty poor, I’m able to stumble through a bit of a conversation and understand for the most part what people are saying to me (still a lot of room for improvement though).
Wednesday was the chugakusei no kengaku (middle school field trip). All the middle school students and their parents came to visit the high school before deciding which schools to take the entrance exam for. Despite all the stares I received, a good number of the students went out of their way to say “Hi” to me and introduce themselves to me. It was cute to see how nervous they were about using English, which made me feel less nervous about speaking Japanese.
On this day I was also able to see some of the clubs show off their skills. The band and chorus performed. The fashion club set out their outfit displays and pictures from last year’s fashion show. Some of the sports members talked about joining their club and how hard they work all year round. The students are really talented at this school. Compared to my high school days back home, the students here are much more serious in being prideful about their high school and work really hard at maintaining its good name. I’m excited to start teaching here and becoming more integrated with the culture.