Minami (Japanese for south)

On Fridays I take a bus to the outer rural fringe of Niimi to work at my “secondary” school, Minami. It’s a considerably smaller school than Icchuu, where I teach from Monday through Thursday, and has about a hundred fewer students. I enjoy it because I get to work with Nathan, a fellow ALT from Portland Oregon.  I’ve learned a lot about teaching from Nate: Unlike the other ALTs , he only teaches at Minami and is now there in his fifth and final year. Due to his long-established teaching relationship with the Japanese senseis at Minami who teach English, in my first year I suppose it was only natural that, in class they would call upon him for help rather than me. In a classroom with three teachers, I was clearly the “third wheel”.

This year is different though. With two English classes now scheduled for the same “period”, Nate and I each have a class to assist in and I’m really enjoying the opportunity to interact more closely with the Minami students.

As a “warm-up” to classes we often play a song, with the unrealistic expectation that the students will actually sing along. Nate often “defaults” to One Direction, possibly the most nauseating “boy band” since NSYNC. How I look forward to the day I will not (at my advanced age), have to stand in front of a classroom and belt out “Best Song Ever”. I cannot fault Nate though; he’s giving them what they want to hear. The theme song from “Frozen”? PULLEEZE! Spare me! “The cold has “always” bothered me anyway”.