Monday, August 25, 2014

Initiating Year 7

Because I first came to CAJ part-way through the '08-'09 school-year, measuring my time here has always been somewhat murky.  Do I round up or do I round down?  Part of me is motivated to round down, because I didn't start as a classroom teacher until the following August.  Recently, however, I've felt a stronger urge to round up.  I realized that this will be the 7th school-year I have been a part of at CAJ; the 7th High School Community Group I will advise; the 7th Senior Talent Show I'll watch; the 7th graduation I will attend.  For all intents and purposes, I'm calling this year 7, even though my six-year anniversary of arriving in Japan is not until January.

Today was orientation day, which entailed class mixer games, book check-outs, the annual fire-escape drill, and a brief assembly in the gym.  It was a day that somehow managed to be laid-back and brimming with excitement; perhaps a fitting transition from summer into the new school year.  This evening, I sent out an email to students who wish to join AP English, but made the decision just now and therefore missed out on the summer reading I had assigned back in May.  I explained that the summer reading/writings would be due at the end of September, and then offered to help the students plan out a schedule for finishing their work on time, if they wanted.

To my surprise, I had several responses within half an hour, asking if I would help them organize a work-schedule.  My first thought was "Wait, since when was I in a position to help anybody with organization?"  I am notoriously disorganized, myself, though I think the "method" shines through the madness just a bit more brightly with each passing year.  My second thought was, "I wonder how many of my non-AP students need help organizing their schedules?"  I may make this a standing offer going into the school-year.  I want my students to succeed, and perhaps the obstacle for some is not a lack of motivation or understanding, but rather a struggle to plan or organize their time... a struggle to which I can definitely relate!

I approach this task (and my 7th year of teaching as a whole) with awe and humility.  I am grateful that God sees fit to use even crooked sticks to clear a straight path!

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