So of course I fall asleep at 8 the night I'm supposed to write my final blog post, but hopefully it's not too late to avoid incurring the wrath of the blogging gods. Anyways, the last week was definitely the most fun. I'm just going to recap the entire experience in general: at the beginning my mentor (Kaneko sensei) seemed kind of hesitant to let me work with people and I was relegated to basically helping out around with cleaning and making teaching supplies. Early on I was a bit intimidated by pretty much everything going on around me, I felt like most of the people I was working around were better at Japanese than me, or fluent, so I was quiet and tried to keep to myself. I tried to talk as little as possible, to avoid making myself look stupid, but probably ended up appearing foolish all the same.
After working for a while though, not only did I get more comfortable around the kids, but I think they got more comfortable around me too. Kaneko sensei also seemed to loosen up to the idea of me helping out in more interactive ways, beginning with just helping out with studying, and eventually moving up to the point where I would give the students tests on their abilities to make sure they were ready to move on to the next level. It felt pretty cool to get that kind of responsibility, and I didn't go power crazy, so yay.
The PSU as well was pretty fun, but it was a bit of a different situation. Since everyone I was helping teach was older than me, it was a bit of a different environment, but it was still pretty fun. I liked all of the students, and even sitting in on the advanced class was really eye opening for me. The students there were undoubtedly much better than I was in everything, but I think getting to sit in on a few of their classes was definitely a helpful experience, and I got to talk to a few of them about how it was living in Japan.
All of my various mentors were super duper nice to me, and whenever I had trouble expressing something in Japanese, they would sit there and smile and wait for me to finish thinking and making strange hand gestures that cleary didn't have anything to do with what I was talking about. I'd say my Japanese has improved leaps and bounds just from speaking it for probably 90% of the time in the past 4 weeks, and I'll see if I can't Skype up a few friends in Japan to see if I can chat with them in Japanese, and maybe even impress them. Doubtful though.
I'm really glad that I got to go out and help teach for the past month, it's been a blast, and I'm not sure how Kaneko sensei or Yoko sensei OR Murakami sensei feel about this, but I'd love to go back and help out every once in a while. Not only is it good practice, but I didn't meet a single person that I didn't like, and I really enjoyed helping out with their classes. Thanks for making my senior project an overall pleasant break from school, I'm pretty disappointed I have to go back tomorrow... :(
I have a bunch of pictures, but I still can't figure out how to add them. They're on a dropbox folder though, so if there's a way to perhaps share that they'd all be available. Thanks! Please don't make me write a paper! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D