Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm talking about the end of the school year here in Japan. If you're not familiar, the school year in Japan is very different from what we have in the States (and elsewhere I'm sure). There are three semesters per school year with several smaller breaks in between (the shortest being 2 weeks and the longest being 6 weeks). Comparing this to the three month summer students back home are accustomed to, these smaller breaks are probably better for retaining subject matter since your brain doesn't have much time to stuff it in a back drawer. However, having cherished these three months of bliss every year during my primary education, I can't approve of this in good conscious. Plus I think it makes the end of the year more exciting instead of, "oh, I'll be back in two weeks. whatever."

However, as a teacher, it's been pretty great. Especially in this third semester which is broken up into two parts by the winter holidays. Before the holiday break, everything was normal. After the break though, everything has been a drawn-out process of winding the semester down. The kids have review classes, then a week of tests, more review, college entrance exams, rehearsals for graduation, special assemblies, and best of all, half days! I'm not needed fore most of this which has left me to my own devices at work and early afternoons back home. Others may have similar situations, but this has been mine and is not indicative to what the average JET experiences, even in my immediate area. Some reasons may be because:
1. I have high school (whatever unique set of circumstances that entails)
2. I can hit my apartment with a rock from the school (thus I go home for lunch and NEVER COME BACK)
3. Pure luck! (Some other JETs I know have great perks, so this must be mine).

My fellow teachers are of course running around doing things but even they've been more relaxed in general just hanging out, browsing websites, reading the newspaper, or chatting. In any case, this is definitely my new favorite time of year since I can't foresee class in the blistering heat of summer and lack of air conditioning trumping this cozy, undisturbed time in the staff room.

Just to add some color, here is a picture from the aforementioned graduation ceremony.


  1. I take it that your fellow teachers have also been more relaxed at glancing over your shoulder as you type? *cough, chismoseria, cough*

    French schools had three two-week breaks during the two-semester year and then the kids got two months off during the summer. Looking back, that may have been the right balance for having time off. :P


  2. haha! Ya, with more time, I've been watching lots of YouTube vids but at the same time have to watch my back. ><

    That does seem like a good balance. A good chunk of time in the summer is necessary to create some of those awesome summertime memories. ~.~