Hello! On Mondays and Fridays I teach at Ichisho, the first elementary school (I’ll refer to it as 1sho). I’ve taught at this school the longest – just over two years!
This Monday my 4th graders spent third and fourth period grilling mochi!
The mochi came from a bag bought at the grocery store, and grilling the mochi softened it. It kind of reminded me of roasting marshmallows back home, except for the fact that marshmallows are sweet and puffy and the mochi today was chewy and eaten with soy sauce!
Some of the kids liked their mochi pretty well-done, to put it mildly! This one looks a bit like charcoal…
I had class third period, but I came out afterwards and the kids immediately started grilling one for me! After a few minutes, they handed it to me on a plate with some soy sauce. At first there wasn’t much to taste, but after a few bites I really found myself enjoying the chewy texture of the mochi and the saltiness of the sauce.
There were extras, and everyone wanted them, so the janken battles began! Janken is what they call rock, paper, scissors in Japan. Saisho wa gu, janken poi! (or something like that)
Couldn’t help but take a peek at what my 5th graders were doing for gym class. Looks like they were doing pole vaults without the pole. The few boys who went while I watched were pretty terrible, heheh.
I went back inside after a bit and said hello to the fish by the front door!
There are a bunch of portraits of famous Japanese people from Tatebayashi in the entrance. My favourite is Chiaki Mukai, the first Japanese woman in space!
The teacher’s room, and my desk:
I share it with another ALT, so it’s a little bit cramped! (You can see my name in the bottom right on the drawer, ミントラ, which is pronounced “mee-n-to-ra.” They can’t say “Mintra,” so I’m either “Mintora-sensei” or “Min-sensei,” and the “mi” sounds like “me,” so basically it sounds like the kids are calling me “Mean-sensei” all the time. Oh well!)
It was right before lunch when I got back, so one of the secretaries and the groundskeepers were doling out the lunches for the people in the teacher’s room. You can see the racks of bowls, plates, and trays. The big metal pot holds the soup of the day. After lunch, we throw any leftovers away in that pot.
I wandered the halls for a bit. There’s our English hallway with our phonics cards, the first and second grade hallway (where, until last summer, the classrooms were open, and I often had to shout over the kids in the next classroom over), the shoe lockers for the kids, and the library.
The hallway sinks. Everyone brushes their teeth at one of these sinks after lunch. The spout rotates, so the kids also drink from here. The soap bars in the nets are gross, but it doesn’t matter, because no one seems to wash their hands anyways! (Drives me nuts! Everyone makes a big deal about wearing their masks, but it’s useless if no one washes their hands!)
One part of the school (the balconies) and the courtyard. In the summer there’s a lovely garden here. The blue thingies hold flowers.
The kids keep their backpacks in the hallway at this school.
And a 4th grade classroom! I love the kids’ pencil cases. A lot of time they have some really funny English.
So there you have it! A small look into a day at Ichisho.