Ode to Kids

Today was my last day at my apartment in Niwase (Japan). It was a bittersweet feeling…it seemed like only yesterday that I was moving in, fresh-faced and wide-eyed, awaiting all the adventures to come. And now, this chapter finally comes to an end. The first thing I thought about as I was staring out at the town stretched before me was all the kids that I have come to know here, the kids I enthusiastically taught English to. Oh how I will miss them. Teaching here only developed my appreciation and admiration for children; it only confirmed how much I really love kids. They were my true teachers of Japanese – they never questioned my Japanese, only tried their best to understand me, and when they couldn’t or if I was wrong, they would innocently reiterate my sentence to how it should’ve been said; their corrections were always rooted from pure intentions; they were always eager to teach me new words; they never grew discouraged when I spoke strangely, only happy that I was speaking Japanese at all; they never questioned my accent or the peculiarity of my intonation because at the end of the day, they somehow understood that that wasn’t important, only that I could communicate and that I could understand them; unlike many encounters I’ve had with adult speakers, I’ve never once felt incapable when I was speaking with kids. And sure, it’s because they can’t really speak English but the environment they provided was exactly what I needed to improve. And it was because of them that I did improve. Thus, I am forever indebted to them. Their pure hearts, their reckless abandon in attempting to speak English, or with anything in general, inspires to apply it in my own life; through all the trials I’ve experienced this year, it was always the kids who kept me grounded, who kept me going, who reminded me that during such times, we need only laugh. So these kids were more than just my students, they were my teachers – in Japanese and in life. I look forward to working with you wonderful, crazy, charming little people again.

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