It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the school I work at. Longtime readers might remember that I teach at a private elementary school here in Tokyo, and that the school is all girls.
Recently we started work on the sixth grade English play. This is a yearly tradition that started well before I came to the school, just a mere three years ago. The shows in the past have been pretty fun, but I’m really looking forward to what this group can do.
Any teacher will admit that while every year of students has its share of great kids, every now and then it seems a certain group will have more than its share of amazing students. That is this group of sixth graders. There is something about them. As a whole they seem to have a willingness to work hard, cooperate, support each other, and yet they still have a high amount of joy. They are a joy to teach.
Back to the play. We’ve only had two actual days of practice, but already we are able to see how much these girls can shine. Some are able to present themselves with the poise of someone twice their age. Some of the girls are absolutely fearless when it comes to looking silly in front of their peers, and even their whole school, something that doesn’t come easily to a twelve year old. One of the girls is supposed to act angry. She blew the doors off the wall. Simply an electric, scary presence on stage from such an fantastically sweet kid.
Seeing these kids do such a fantastic job, or just be fantastic, really sparks some emotions in me. While I am happy here in Japan, it certainly does have its issues. One of the issues that I repeatedly see is that there is a large spectrum of society, and a institutionalized frameworks, that essentially work to keep women quiet. To keep them at a lower scale than men. I’ve certainly written about certain methods Japan train men and women to view women as simple cutesy things.
But to be at this school and see these girls embrace what makes them awesome makes me dare to hope that those attitude will be forced to one day change.
After all, they aren’t just a group of girls. They are the kick ass women of tomorrow.
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