William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

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34. Day Care

We’re between academic years right now at S.G.. This doesn’t mean there’s a long vacation; the students get two weeks, the teachers get an extra half-hour for lunch for two weeks. The new school year begins a week from tomorrow. Tomorrow we’ll be having a ceremony to introduce the new teachers (ranging back from F. and me, who came in January, to the two new Japanese teachers who arrived at the primary school this morning).

Since so many parents work, they pay a little extra to leave their children at the school during days of the intersession, where they receive supervision. This morning I opened up the day care classrooms at 7:30 and kept an eye out for a new arrival – a new Year 1 student that K-sensei told me would be starting today. (“Please take care of a lot,” she wrote on an adhesive note.)

Her father brought her, and doubtless he was probably ultimately on his way to work, but she wouldn’t let him leave. It was a hard case of separation anxiety. I felt helpless, because I couldn’t say anything to the father, and I couldn’t say anything to the daughter except, “Hey, c’mon in and meet some people!”

As things turned out, the father stayed in the day care room with her for over an hour. During this time, the younger girls already there took an interest in her and tried to cheer her up. Seeing that made me drop any worries I might have had about this particular student. Nevertheless, when H-sensei came by, and sort of took over from the father, the girl cried again. I guess I can see how it would be scary. And even in non-scary situations there were times when I was that age when I didn’t want to be separated from certain people, and I’d do or say nearly anything just to stall for time.

When things were quiet, the kids played chess, did their homework (perhaps for their private supplementary classes some of them take elsewhere), and a few of my former Year 4s were even making a little comic book.

Meanwhile, I practised writing hiragana in my Japanese kana workbook, a present from S. A few of the kids took great interest in this, and when I’d make a style mistake, the kids would make me erase it and start over. “Ms. K., no!” they’d say, intimating that K-sensei was pretty rigorous when it came to scripting style.

It was cold and rainy yesterday, and that continued into today. The rain let up at lunchtime, at which point the baseball players went out and removed the standing water from their dirt-surfaced practise field using dustpans and buckets. Man.

After day care and all afternoon, D. and I worked on decorations for the opening ceremony next week. Usually there’s seasonally-themed student work that can be put up for such occasions, but since we’re between academic years, we foreign teachers have to put up decorations instead. The decorations the teachers made last year have disappeared, so we’ve had to start pretty much from scratch again. This time we’re going to laminate these babies – there’s no way this stuff is getting thrown out again if I have anything to say about it! I’m sure F. and I don’t want to be cutting out construction paper cherry blossoms and coloring in enlarged clip-art daffodils in March and April 2009. Tomorrow, we’ll find more spring-themed poems to put up.

K-sensei's post-wedding-reception nijikai is on Saturday, and I’m eagerly looking forward to it. There’ll be karaoke, open bar, food – the whole shebang. It’s a way to keep the good times rolling and get lots of people out without having to add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the cost of the reception. Compare it to an after-reception dance – those are not unheard of back in PEI, and I’ve occasionally witnessed my aunt and uncle ducking out to them. I could have, too, I was told.

The sanjikai will take place in a parking lot in front of a convenience store.
Tags: culture, day care, japan, weddings, work

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