Monday, November 1, 2010

Japanese Kindergarten

Last Friday I taught at kindergarten for the second time. It was just as fun as the first time... maybe even more fun! Last time many of the kids were shy around me (though most of them warmed up to me once I had class with them) but this time they were excited to see me right away.

I was there from 8:00 to 3:30 and I only spent an hour and fifteen minutes teaching. Most of the rest of the time was spent playing with the kids. A few of the kids arrived a bit earlier than the rest and we spent a little while "cooking" cardboard doughnuts and cookies in the Hello Kitty kitchen set. As more kids arrived I was drug around a lot to look at different things. There were many times where I had kids pulling me in several directions at once.

One boy pointed to an object and said, "red!" I corrected him and pointed at the object and said, "blue!" Uhhh... it was yellow... lol... so much for teaching these kids English.

They pulled out a bunch of plastic food and asked me what each thing was called in English. They showed me a tomato and I said, "tomato." They started giggling like crazy. They started saying, "Toe-mah-toe" because that's how it's pronounced in Japanese. They just thought I couldn't pronounce it in Japanese. I tried to explain to them (in Japanese) that it's "tomato" in English and "toe-mah-toe" in Japanese, but they still cracked up any time I said "tomato." This happened with some other objects as well. It was pretty funny.

Eventually I actually did teach a lesson. My first class was the 5 year olds. We sang the Hello Song and played vegetable basket (which is the same as Fruit Basket, a popular children's game in Japan). Next I taught the 3 year olds. We played animal basket and sang Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Well, I sang it and they attempted to sing it. The words are too difficult for them, but they had a lot of fun and many of them still attempted to sing the song! I liked the 3 year old class better than last time. Last time several of the students were crying when I walked into the room and most of them didn't pay much attention. This time they all paid attention! :)

Next I taught the 4 year olds. When I walked into the room one of the boys had his pants and underwear down to his knees and he was laying face down on the floor. Once the teacher convinced him to get up and pull his pants back up, we began class. We pretty much did the same things as the previous class plus I read a book to them.

After classes were finished, it was lunch time! This time I ate with the four year olds. The students took turns getting their meals out in the hallway and carried them into the classroom. While this was going on I walked around and commented on how cute and cool their aprons were (they wore aprons to keep their clothes clean). One girl had a Sailor Moon apron. I haven't seen any little kids with Sailor Moon stuff because it's old, but I was excited. I pointed to the different characters and said their names and the girl looked clueless. Lol, I knew more about Sailor Moon than she did.

A few of the students fought over which table I would sit at but there was only room at one table so I didn't really have a choice. They still tried to pull my chair (with me in it) over to other tables though. I sat at a ridiculously small table in a very small chair. I'm short, but I still barely fit.

For lunch we had chicken, vegetables (cabbage, seaweed, and mushrooms), bread, and pumpkin soup. I got double servings of everything. The boy who sat next to me probably still ate more than me. He went back for 2 or 3 servings of everything. I was also surprised at how fast he ate! At my other schools all the students and teachers eat fast and I've sorta gotten used to that, but he was just soooooo fast though!

Eating with a bunch of 4 year olds is very amusing. Many of them showed me the super weird faces they could make. They would put their fingers all over their face, in their mouths, and in their noses, and pull their face into really crazy shapes. Some of them were pretty scary!

All the students are supposed to finish their food. Several of the students didn't want to eat the vegetables so the teacher walked around and shoveled the rest of the food into their mouths for them.

After lunch was cleaning time! We scrubbed the floor with washcloths. They just put their hands on the ground on top of the washcloth and push with their feet to scoot across the floor. I'm sure I looked pretty crazy doing this with all the tiny kids with my butt sticking up in the air, lol.

After that the students brushed their teeth and the teachers went through some announcements (I think) and then it was play time again! So I got to spend about an hour and a half making sushi out of clay and building cars of out of lego-ish blocks.

Then it was time for many of the students to go home. The parents picked them up. A few of the students stayed behind because it's also like a day care for the students with working parents. Then I had a meeting with several of the teachers about what to teach the next time I'm there. Sometimes figuring out things at the kindergarten is a little difficult because no one there speaks any English at all. But we still successfully picked a theme for next time... Christmas! :)

Right before I left, it was snack time. We had strips of sweet potato, vanilla wafer cookies, and tea. I loved it! :)

Overall it was a  lot of fun and the kids are SUPER cute! But, now I have a sore throat and a slight fever and I think I'm coming down with a cold. Whatever it is, I'm almost positive I caught it at the kindergarten. The kids are cute, but they are also gross. They pick their noses and cough all over the place and kept touching me and holding my hand. If I still feel like this tomorrow I'm probably not going to go to school. If I had junior high tomorrow it wouldn't be a problem, but I don't think I can handle elementary with this sore throat. :P

But maybe the experience was still worth getting sick... maybe...

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