Words of Wisdom from a 5th year ALT
August 8, 2010
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At the ALT Panel during Tokyo Orientation, a question was asked about inappropriate touching at schools (from both adults and children) and how to deal with it. One of the panelists got into his experience at an elementary school and offered the greatest advice in regards to 30 5-year old kids running towards you:
“I just let them touch me.”
This caused everyone in the audience to laugh really hard. He laughed as well, realizing the awkwardness of his statement, and then continued his story by saying, “After class…” which just made the audience laugh harder and start applauding.
During my first few days in Ono, I’ve been paying more attention to the elementary school-aged kids here, and some even younger. While I was getting my cell phone at the au shop (pictures later) There were three little girls sitting at a table playing with some toys. The toddler dropped one of them and it rolled under my chair and hit my foot. I reached under and held it out to her, and she took it while the other two girls were staring at me. I smiled, waved and said “konnichiwa,” and they just waved back. The other ALT and I had to go to our dorm quickly to pick up documentation required for our phones, and on the way out I said “bye bye,” and they answered back and smiled.
Interaction with them is no problem, since Japanese kids are so incredibly cute, but the teaching is what makes me a little nervous. I just want to make sure they’re learning and having fun.
So what does that have to do with touching? Absolutely nothing. If anything I think my hair would be the most curious thing about me.