The final countdown

Every month I go to the same four Junior High Schools in a very predictable pattern. When they have no work for me, then I am shuffled off to an Elementary school. Starting from last week I have begun my final cycle at this board of education. I also know my final day in Japan is the 31st of March, which probably means I will miss the cherry blossoms. I get to enjoy the worst part of hayfever season though… Joy.
The first time I went through a final countdown, I was on a very different contract. I would go to each school from 8am to 5pm (even though I was really done at noon). After lunch I usually dicked around with the different clubs, and I even had a cleaning assignment. I remember on my last day, I was goofing off with the drama club and there was an announcement for the kids that if anyone saw me, to ask me to come to the teacher’s room. When I arrived there were 10 students crying their eyes out. At first I thought there must have been a fight, but they were crying because they were going to miss me. I won’t lie, I have never been more touched in my life. With my contract now, even though I have been at the schools longer, it is split time, so the emotional attachment isn’t there. Also, I am not allowed to clean with the kids (I have been told that they like goofing off with me too much and they don’t do their tasks) and I leave when I am finished. So my last day at Nakamaru-chu was an unemotional event. The kids were sad that I was leaving, but it was more of a “Too bad you’re leaving. We will miss you. I wonder who the next guy will be?” type reaction. That is fine by me because I hate being in the spotlight, and schools are known for putting on ceremonies for leaving ALTs from time to time. This way, I got to comfortably say goodbye. I am sure I will be forgotten in a month or two and will just be remembered by my beard and nationality.

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Last morning at Nakamaruchu with the soft tennis club practicing in the foreground.

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