Saturday, July 28, 2012

Last Day of Work

There was a while when I thought my time in Japan would never end.  However, the day has come and past, and I am officially no longer a Sensei. On July 20th, I had my last day of work at my base school.  It started off as a fairly typical day where I somehow - again - managed to arrive to work just after the start of the staff meeting (ever since they changed the start of the meeting from 8:10 to 8:05 I've struggled to be on time - those five minutes made a huge difference...seriously!). However, arriving late wasn't all that great for me this time, because I was told that I would have to give a farewell speech to the staff in Japanese.  Although I've been giving farewell speeches for a while now, I used the speech I wrote for this school with most of the staff at my farewell party the week before and hadn't prepared a second one, and obviously I did not want to repeat the same speech again. Instead, I did a basic "thank you for everything" and "you were all so kind" sort of speech that probably was among the shortest goodbye speeches ever. 

Throughout the day, the scheduled was shorted by 5 minutes for each class to accommodate an assembly at the end of the day to say goodbye to me. Between teaching 2nd and 6th periods, I spent the rest of the time using the printer (last time for me to have access to it), finalizing my plans for Japan and after, practicing my student speech, and organizing the desk for the next ALT. 

 Look how clean it is! 

After 6th period, all the students assembled into the gym and stood for the approx. 15 minute ceremony where the principal spoke first about how great it's been to have me, and then I spoke for a few minutes about how great it's been to be here, and then a student spoke for a little bit to say how much they've learned from me.  I do believe that most of it is true...I'm only a little doubtful about the principal's words. I think we spoke four time in the past two years. Here are some pictures from the ceremony:

 Listening to the principal's speech

The principal presented me with a nice certificate and read the inscription in both English and Japanese. 

The students standing in perfect order, perfectly at attention. In my next blog, I'll put up the video from the ceremony. Although I noticed a few girls tearing up after my speech, the video doesn't catch that.  It does catch a girl sleeping while standing up, however. Oh, Japan. 

The handing over of the certificate.

My turn to speak! All in Japanese too!

A few final words of advice~

After being presented with flowers by one of the student representatives.

Walking down the gauntlet of students and out the door. It was slightly awkward, because once I was out of the gym doors, I was all alone and wasn't sure where to go, and they were all still watching me from the gym. I kind of did a last goodbye wave and then just kept walking down the hallways as I felt a lot of eyes on me.  No clue what was going on. Couldn't help but laugh a little to's a very fitting way to leave Japan: confused.

The staff of the front office who have helped with all the paperwork, problems with my apartment, and planning for my business trips. 

Last photo with the principal. 

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