Akita – 3 Days, 9 Schools, 1400 kids & Shoe Size

Wow, that’s the end of the 3 days of schools here! And today’s were all brilliant. It’s so much of a difference when everything is set up right and the teachers help out without having to be asked. I could go on to do a dozen more schools if they were all that good!

The first school today was cool with a standard show, the second was interesting in that we had 1st years and 5th years together. Usually that could be a problem but the 5th grade teacher is very, very genki and the kids were brilliant. And the last school was a gym full of 1st and 2nd graders, so I just did a lesson type thing with How are you? which, with the teachers’ help, just hung on to the right side of organised chaos! It’s amazing how well the 1st graders can pronounce things though.

My throat was still a bit dodgy, but I just LOVE my mini lessons! They were designed for teacher who can’t speak English, but I tell you they are fantastic for people like myself today when I simply just couldn’t talk! I also had a cunning way of getting the kids to let me drink water during the show. It’s usually not allowed for teachers to drink during lessons in Japan, and the kids let you know if you do. So today when my voice was really bad, I just pretended that I couldn’t speak. They were then shouting out “Mizu!”, which was a great way to introduce the word “water” and get them to shout it out whenever I pretended I’d lost my voice.

Lunchtime was also cool because I got asked a new question!!! Usually I get the same questions over and over again, but today a kid asked me what my shoe size was. I think they might be studying it, maybe. But anyway, asking the kids what their shoe sizes were, I realised it would be a fantastic way to learn the numbers 20-30!! Nice. The kids can understand the question anyway, so I think that may be a new theme in the future. And why stop at 30, going up to 31 is great as the kids all know the number ( because of the ice cream shop!), and it’s easy to flip over into dates for birthdays! It also makes a change from being asked how old I am, to which the answer is always “ten”, to which they reply “ehhhhh? Jyusai???” and I say “no, tensai!”. Try it with your kids, it’s guaranteed a laugh! ( And apologies to those of you outside Japan!!) : )

The Board of Education also not only gave me my travel expenses today, they also paid me for doing the shows and tomorrow’s workshop. That’s very, very nice of them. I almost feel a bit sorry for writing those bad words about the first school yesterday, but it’s better to be honest!

Right, tonight’s a night in before tomorrow’s big event. And I just checked my email and got some photos from my brother, and he’s just got an exhibition of his Photographs in the Starbucks Coffee Shop in York. Very nice!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...