Teaching this week gave me thicker calluses on my fingers than I’d ever like to have and demonstrated the degree to which the Japanese do not understand sarcasm. To the students’ giddy delight, I brought my guitar this week to play in class. It began as just two classes that asked me to play a song and morphed into the teachers asking that I play for every class. So, I had to play “Back to December” by Taylor Swift and “If I Had a Million Dollars” by the Barenaked Ladies (it was fun trying to explain THAT band name...) more times than I ever wanted to in my entire life.
In my advanced classes, the teacher I assist pointed out how difficult the English is in the song “Back to December” and I jokingly said “yes, I know, and I expect the entire song memorized by next week.” And she actually TOLD her students in Japanese to memorize at least half of it! When I started making gestures of shock and trying to explain that I was kidding, she had no idea what point I was trying to get across. Then, I made another joke in my other advanced class (no, I had not learned my lesson yet) saying I thought that we could have a talent show if they learned the whole song. The teacher didn’t really respond save for a nod, but knowing how literally they take everything, she probably is trying to arrange a massive school talent show right now. God, I hope not.
|...you're not actually planning a talent show... right??|
On another note, playing guitar was the simple way to worm my way into the wee hearts of my students. Okay, wee maybe is not the best word- some of the older boys are a head taller than me thus indicating that their hearts are potentially larger. Or, is the heart a muscle that remains the same size no matter the body size of whomever it resides within? No idea. Point being, the kids clapped and encored and gave my ego a huge boost. Also a shy little girl who rarely talks in class timidly approached me and said that she loved my voice. Aw! Either she is really sweet or really good at sucking up. Whichever the case, it worked and I adore her now.
Playing guitar in front of 30-40 students at least 7 times this week really helped me overcome my nerves that I develop, without fail, prior to performing. Seriously, the first time I played for a class beads of sweat were cascading down my face, likely causing the students to wonder why Americans are so gross. Asians basically don't sweat ever. I'm super jealous.
So, perhaps they are teaching me more than I them. I am overcoming my fears and taking on new challenges as never before.