Monday, September 24, 2012

Education in Japan

Dear EDM 310 Alum:

Greetings from Ichihara-shi, Chiba, Japan (see red dot).

My name is Leah, and I recently transplanted from Mobile to her sister city around the globe, Ichihara, Japan (for general info, please see this Wikpedia article, and please, don't worry about the Yakuza- I don't). I'll share a brief summary of why I'm now residing on this monocultural (and no, I don't mean the plants) island (although, it doesn't feel like an island), and then, hopefully, get to the point.

I was temping at a magnet middle school  in Alabama's "city by the bay" when I met G. G's daytime job is a traveling gifted educator, but his unofficial post remains as a recruiter for the Mobile Ichihara Sister City Association (MISCA). Every 3 years (now 2) Mobile, AL sends someone to Ichihara, Chiba, Japan, to act as a cultural representative of Mobile, AL and to assist teaching middle school students English. When asked if I'd like to take this wonderful opportunity, all my dreams of traveling the world and teaching abroad resurfaced, as if seeds planted and never watered could grow. This would forever be my one regret if I was scared enough to say no.

So obviously I said yes, and I'm now working as an Alternate Language Teacher (ALT) (more about this position and its pros and cons later) in a junior high school. Now, to showcase the stark contrasts between typical American and Japanese middle schools.

Please click here for the full story entitled The Oddities of Japanese Compulsory Education, originally posted on my personal blog September 3rd.

More to come.

In service,
Leah DiVincenzo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In Memoriam

Bobbi Jo Nelson

From the South Alabamian February 9, 2012:
Bobby Jo Harris Nelson, age 25, died Feb. 4, 2012 at Mobile Infirmary. She was a native of Clarke County and a resident of Escambia County.

A member of the First Asembly of God in Jackson for many years, she served in a variety of church areas, especially with children. She and her husband, Michael, were both members of Church of the Nazarene in Riverview.

Mrs. Nelson had received an Associates Degree and was currently working toward a Bachelors. She tutored students through the University of South Alabama.

She will be remembered for many good things, especially her big smile that lit up an entire room.

Survivors include her husband, Michael Nelson of Brewton; parents, Debra Smith Harris and Charles Wesley Harris, both of Jackson; grandparents, Margaret Ann Dungan and William E. Smith, both of Jackson; brothers, James “Clint” Harris of Jackson and James “Wesley” Harris of Mobile; sisters, Terrie Marie Harris and Melissa Harris (Michael) Gates of Grove Hill; nephews, Seth, Noah and Harris and niece, Maggi Ann.

Preceding her in death were her grandparents, Mona Sue Smith and Woodrow W. Harris.

Funeral services were Feb. 7 at First Assembly of God in Jackson. Interment followed at Odom’s Cemetery in Riverview with the Revs. E.C. Russell and James Meadows officiating. Arrangements were directed by St. Stephens Funeral Home.

Pallbearers included Michael Gates, Harris Gates, Derrick Nelson, Wesley Harris, Coy Whitehead and Clint Harris.

EDM310 Staff and students express their sympathy to the family of Bobbi Jo Nelson. Bobbi Jo was a student in EDM310 in the Summer 2011 semester.