Thursday, March 13, 2008

Graduation Ceremony

Mami standing to graduate with her class
My girls after graduation, Mami and Naomi

It was very different from any graduation ceremony i have ever been to. But very interesting. I thought the students had to do alot of bowing and standing up in the practice but there was heaps more in the real thing. They werent able to fall asleep in the real ceremony like they could in the practice.

I actually felt abit emotional when i saw Naomi and Mami (my two fav students) graduating. It is not the same as graduating in a western country. Each individual's name is called out and they stand and bow. They also say "hi" which means yes when they stand. Then they remain standing and their class leader goes and collects all the certificates. Then they all bow and sit back down. A classic example of the group orientation of Japan. It was really awesome to see how it all worked.

Everything was precise. The walking was precise and so was the way the students moved when presented with the certificates.

I didnt sit in the hall but stood upstairs so that i could take some photos and videos. So when the third years were leaving - graduates walk out first, i went downstairs to greet Mami and Naomi. And Mami just collapsed in my arms and cried and cried and cried. I guess it was all the build up from exams and leaving school. Then Naomi came out and she cried too. We had a big group hug. I am so proud of them.

Then i headed to Naomi's classroom where i watched as their homeroom teacher handed out the certificates. I think it is better than the way we do it in Oz cause it is more personal. The homeroom teacher knows the students far better than the principal. And it was really nice cause the class cheered for each other. It just seemed more personal. I liked it very much. I had been into this homeroom a couple of times and the first time i was asked to introduce myself. So i did it in Japanese. This time Sato Sensei asked me to say something to the new graduates. I did. It was kinda embarrassing. I am not used to being put on the spot like that but all worked out well.

Then the students headed out to have lunch with their homeroom classmates. I guess i should explain that apart from the rare elective, all of their lessons would have been together for the past three years. They stay in their homeroom and the teachers come to them. It really builds comradry amoungst them. I like it much better than the system where students inthe homeroom are from different grades. I think that it is important for the older students to be a role model but I like the way that the students bond in the homerooms here. Then that night Naomi and her classmates went bowling. It was really a celebration with her classmates rather than her family. Which differs from Oz.

I really enjoyed learning about this part of Japanese school life.

Then i headed home for a nice long sleep. It was a saturday afterall.


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