Thursday, May 27, 2010

Camp out

Its Spring!
Which means its time again for the All school Camp out.

Grades 1-12 will be going to a camp site just 30 minutes from school. Some stay in cabins others in tents. I'm not one of the counselors this year so I'll only be staying until the camp fire and s'mores. The kiddos have been counting down to this day all week. They are so pumped!

Please pray for the spiritual aspects of the camp that the special speaker and small group discussions would challenge the students and encourage them to take the next step in their relationship with God.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Did you know?

When you look at all of Japan can you guess what non-Japanese school is most numerous in Japan? According to Japan Probe - a blog that reports current events about Japan in the media - the most numerous non-Japanese schools are Brazilian schools. The video is a clip from NTV’s “Bankisha” and all in Japanese but watching it will give you a glimpse of a few non-Japanese school in Japan.

You won't find video of the "international schools" such as the one where I teach. Unsure of the reason but may have something to do with strict security policies on media at school. Also, I'm not sure where the statistics came from for this video and I'm surprised that South Korean schools are not on the list.

Below is the English information provided by Japan Probe to help aid non-Japanese speakers in understanding of the video.

1. Brazilian Schools (81) – These schools are concentrated in Aichi, Shizuoka, and Gunma prefectures, where the factories of the Japanese auto industry employ many Brazilian workers. The recent economic depression has caused the number of students to drop, causing serious trouble for many of these schools.

2. North Korean Schools (73) – Students are taught to respect Kim Jong-il and his father (but the kids also like South Korean pop music). NTV’s reporter sits in on a history class, where their teacher is telling them about how the DPRK forces heroically defeated the American invaders in the Korean War. The students think the DPJ’s plan to make high schools free in Japan should include subsidies that pay the tuition of DPRK-affiliated schools.

3. International Schools (27) – Schools aimed at multiple nationalities. This includes British and American schools.

4. Chinese Schools (5) - About 20% of the students are Japanese, since parents think that learning Chinese, English and Japanese will be beneficial.

5. Indian Schools (3) – They put a lot of emphasis on mathematics, which seems to involve some pretty big multiplication tables. They also learn IT skills.

Also featured is Jasuko, a Finnish school in Shiga prefecture. It apparently doesn’t have any students from Finland, but it does have a pretty nice Sauna.

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I teach at one of many International Schools in Japan. We use an American curriculum and all classes are taught in English (except other language classes such as Japanese, Afrikans, Spanish & French). The students and staff represent 4 continents, though a majority of our students come from Asia - with Japanese students ranking highest. Kansai Christian school was started in 1970 for Missionary families but as the number or missionaries have decreased in Japan children of business workers, Christian tentmakers and other Japanese nationals has increase.

The reasons that Japanese families choose Kansai Christian School varies by student some reasons include, in no particular order, 1) they want their children to have an English education, 2.) fosters creativity and individualistic thought 3.) A Christian worldview is present throughout the curriculum. 4.) it is beneficial for plans for future work or education 5.) a desire for moral educational training 6.) negative experiences with bullying at public schools based on race or ethnicity.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The opposite may also be true!

I have a fairly good sense of direction - yet I often get confused with the Japanese roads and frustrated with the lack of street signs. I realize when I go back to America this summer I will rediscover new frustrations and realize how some things I've gotten used to here in Japan will make the same things in the States challenging for me.Here is a little video that I discovered from my friend Andrea a while back that discribes how to find a Japanese address compared to and American address. Enjoy!

Planning, Planning and more Planning

Some people do spring cleaning - I do spring planning.
To-Do-lists, Should-Do-lists, Hope-to-do-lists, and
If-only-there-were-28-hours-in-a-day lists are piling up.
Thanks to the wise friend who reminded me that "If it gets put on your "worry list" you need to move it over to your "Prayer list"!

Planning (at school)
We have just reached mid-point of the 4th quarter of school. My students received their mid-term grades and I'm looking at the last few weeks of school with thoughts of, "How will we teach all these lessons in those few days? What should be priority and what end of school projects should we attempt? What should the 1-4 graders sing at the Spring Program? How should we celebrate what God's been doing through drama and Worship team? What type of summer reading program should we put together? How can I facilitate healthy good-byes? Should I say yes or no to that request or this request?

Last day of school is June 25 (Yes, we get out late - due to the late start from the construction project last fall.)

Planning (for the summer)
I'm also looking forward to a summer spent in Minnesota with family, and friends. While I anticipate many fun memories made and relationships strengthened - this is NOT a vacation. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with my partner churches and individuals. I'm in the process of arranging my summer visits and appointments and discovering to which areas of the US I'll be traveling. There are presentations to write, photo albums to prepare, and visual aids to create.

I'm finding it challenging to try to summarize all that has happened in my new "home" (Japan) during this term into something presentable to others. I also find it challenging to think about going back "home" (USA) without my mind wandering into daydream land. (And the occasional nightmare where I discover I'm driving on the wrong side of the road). It's quite distracting for my "here-and-now" life, yet the countdown has begun . . . 6 weeks until I'm in USA.

More Planning (for the fall)
We've ordered books for the new school year. We've accepted students, we're praying for a few more to enroll and we're excited that the teaching staff will stay the same - adding stability. We're discussing extra curricular responsibilities. I'm thinking of how I'll rearrange my class and what supplies I'll need to bring from the states. The students are starting to ask questions like - "When I'm in 3rd grade will we still have snack time?" and "Does Ms. Y have a Jelly Bean jar, too?"

Ahhh for now - I'm trying to take things one step at a time trying to check things off the list one project at time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New photos

It's Golden Week in Japan. The carp flags are waving!


During this holiday week I've focused on time with friends and trying to complete some projects. I didn't travel anywhere (Ok, well does Osaka count as travel). But had 10 people come to my house and went out to eat with 6 others.


I've taken a lot of new photos.

Some you'll get to see here. Others will be displayed on Facebook.
And although I have some adorable photos of the Drama Kings and Queens from our Musical last week since I try not to display photos of students online for privacy and safety reasons they won't be shown here.

So for now, here are a few photos from today's visit to the Heijo Palace Site which is celebrating it's 1300 Anniversary. It just happens to be a 25 minute walk from my house.