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