Very formal and partying till 3 AM

Today was the reason we were invited to KitaIbaraki, to give a Genki speech to all the teachers in the city – hundreds of them! The place was very posh and about as formal as you can imagine (i.e. as it’s Japan, very formal). All the teachers, Head Teachers and PTA heads were there, as were the Board of Education and the board members themselves. Lots of people in suits! So we got them genki! And they were brilliant. I guess the setting helped, they thought it would be formal but we made it very fun. Right from the start they were laughing and getting very involved, even the very old guys!

They loved the songs and curriculum, and although I got a few weird looks during my “War Speech” everyone got on board with my ending about why International Understanding is so important – I actually thought a few of them looked like they might cry! Fantastic.

Then it was the banquet with all the high up people. I was actually thinking it’d be great to be an ALT again, now that I know how these events work. It’s all a case of picking up a beer bottle and a sake bottle and going round filling the glasses of the most important people. Whatever hard work we had done today (we’d also done a show in the morning and a photo shoot at lunchtime) then the real work is done now, with beer at the banquet. But as it happened I didn’t have to go to anyone, they all came to me. I was just so impressed, all these Head Teachers coming up to me and saying how much they were moved by the speech. They were saying the most amazing stuff about their feelings about Education and the futures of their students. I wish I could have videod them all! But of course the only time they could express these things was with the “excuse” of alcohol. But without fail every single person, from the Superintendent of Education downwards were all very impressive and very supportive. What a fantastic city for children to grow up in.

Then afterwards it was the “nijikai” (second party), and third-party, and fourth, and fifth…… and finally we finished at 3AM. Exhausted, but what a great day, and what a fantastic group of people.

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...