TBT: Calligraphy with Elementary Schoolers in Akita
Going through some of my old pictures, I found a lot from when I was studying abroad at Akita International University. I decided to start a new series on my blog influenced by the popular “throwback Thursdays.” I really wanted to share a lot of my past experiences in Japan because those great experiences are what made me want to come back to teach here!
I wanted to share one of my first experiences working with Japanese children. I signed up for a cultural exchange through AIU and I got to go to an elementary school in the area and hang out with the kids.
They set up a bunch of papers and stuff in the gym. We got to meet with a current ALT there. I don’t remember his name, but he was a JET. JET is responsible for the English education system in Akita prefecture.
Even if you didn’t know any kanji, the kids were very patient in teaching us. They actually traced out the characters on the side and just let us copy them. Plus they gave us the easy ones to write, so it wasn’t too bad!
Calligraphy is a subject in Japanese elementary schools. They learn kanji from first grade, but I don’t think they start working on their handwriting and the proper way to write with ink until the fifth grade.
|No pressure, right?
There were many chances to practice, as you can see. Some of us just got bored and ended up drawing random words and scribbles on the paper!
Looking back at this picture, I can’t believe I had done this in 2012! That was 5 years ago! Those kids now are in high school, getting ready to go to college! I can’t believe it. I remember this so vividly. I’m sure the kids don’t, though!
But it was experiences like this that cemented the idea that I wanted to teach in Japan. I’m grateful for the experiences I had.