Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baby School

I went to Oshima, a smaller island near Ojika, to teach a couple of lessons on Tuesday and it went well. I like to call it my Baby School. The smaller island has a population of 60 people and many of them are older, so one day, I imagine that Oshima will become deserted. Ojika, on the other hand, has just under 3,000 people - also, with many elderly people. There may only be four students in the Oshima school but it`s one of my favorite parts of my job. There is a 1st grade girl, a 3rd grade boy and two 6th grade boys. After the sixth graders graduate to the junior high in April, I am thinking that the school will cease to exist. Very sad, considering there used to be 50-60 students in the school. There are three classrooms, a big gymnasium, playground equipment and two teachers and a principal at the school. It`s such a peaceful little place, where everyone gets along. If there was such a thing as a Utopic school, this would be it.

The newest student is the first grader at the baby school, a little girl with her front teeth missing. Every time she giggles, she hunches her shoulders up to the bottom of her ears. Super adorable kid. We were going over greetings with her and the third grade boy. The teacher was asking the boy about greetings and he just had a blank on his face, when, from out of nowhere, the little 1st grade girl goes "good morning!" She totally whooped him on greetings and numbers, even though she is two years younger. It was awesome. And I never thought I would get so much enjoyment out of playing janken (paper scissors rock) for twenty minutes but it was actually a lot of fun. We ended up doing it at the dock while we waited for the ferry to take me back to Ojika.

I also finally had my first lesson of the school year with the first and second grade students in Ojika. Those classes have around 10-15 students in each. I never thought that in our first lesson, there would be tears, a bloody nose and an impromptu nap in the corner. A little girl in class was extremely nervous when I asked her "how are you?" and I could see the tears forming in her eyes. Later, during the hello song, she finally lost it and started crying - the teacher directed her to a corner, where she promptly fell asleep. And then another little girl started to have blood pour out of her nose onto her clothes and hands. It was a war zone in there.


Megen A. said...

A film I recently shot was on location in Yale, British Columbia. Its a very small town, formerly known for its logging. We stayed for 10 days at the community center which used to be the elementary school. Looking at all the school's photos you see the size of the school diminish year after year. Sad to see, but they have managed to create a good little community center with a library that opens 3-4 times a week.

Erin L said...

Yeah, it`s super sad to see such a beautiful little island becoming deserted. I imagine the school will close in the next couple of years. There is another island near here that is already a deserted island because the population left. I haven`t been there yet but there are apparently a bunch of empty homes. And the former school is now used as a campsite. When I go in July, I will post pics.