Monday, January 30, 2012

Byebye to Montessori Children.... モンテッソーリの子どもたちもさようなら…

My three munchkins! 
On the Boat, I had the privilege of teaching and learning from these wonderful individuals. 


Second to last Montessori class I got to spend with not only the children under 3, but all of the Montessori children! We went for a lovely tea time on Pool Deck in the beautiful weather. 
They were so "together" and great as a team and family, the teachers only needed to observe from afar. This wasn't the case 3.5 months ago, so that in itself was a huge proof that each and every one of these children had grown so much. 
When a younger child spilled tea on the table, an older one calmly wiped the table. When one child wanted more cake, some of took the plate and passed it on. 


On my last day of Montessori with the children under three, we took a walk around the Boat. 
We did this quite often, including going for tea time in Namihei. 


Since I hadn't talked about what I did usually here is a simple explanation. 
When I came in every other day, I sang (and the children sang later too!) a Hello Song that included their name. 
Then, I would simply stay with individual children in whatever they were doing and interact with them in English. It didn't make sense to have a lesson of 30 minutes planned out, when each of the children had such different interests or moods. It was not fair to have them sit still for an activity that I had decided was useful- it would have been a lesson for me and no one else. 
This experience truly made me think about the purpose and effect of a lesson. How much are children actually benefiting? How many out of a class of 25 is it benefiting?

今までそこまで、モンテッソーリで何をしていたのか書いてなかったのでここで簡単に説明。一日おきにクラスに行くと、まずは、みんなの名前を入れた『Hello Song』を歌った(これは、すぐみんな覚えてくれた)

This way of staying with a child in the activity that they had chosen, children heard the English appropriate to the situation, like 
"clean up!"
The appropriateness I think was very effective for children to recognize that language. 



When we went out for a walk, we said "Hello" or "Hola" to the crew....

By the end, they knew the song, and they would articulate some English! 
Even though that wasn't the purpose, it made me happy and it was amazing to see how quick children absorb different cultures and languages. 
What a wonderful experience to go around the world at this age, observe, interact and absorb various cultures, countries and languages... but I consider myself equally lucky to have learnt about education and children's potential. When we trust in them and follow what they like and choose, they continue to surprise us...this makes me excited and hopeful for what amazing things they can come up with for the future. 


Too often, society thinks about what kind of individuals they want in the future and designs the education system that way... but if we just believed in each child and let them thrive for what they believe in, they could surprise us with a future that we couldn't even imagine. 


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Last Day of Class... 最後の授業…

Last day of class was very special and a little emotional. 
I was so proud of my students for all the things they learnt throughout this whole voyage: when we did a brainstorm on all the topics, they came up with a lot of things.
I was also so happy to see how close we had become as a class- it was like a little family, and it made me so sad to think that the days of class are over... 


Both of these classes started off with very little English, maybe a couple of phrases! 
But in the last class, the first 20 minutes of class where we did our routines was completely English. They had also used English when bargaining, going to the restaurant, and meeting someone.... all over the world :-)  


On another night, we all got together for a dinner at Namihei, to celebrate! 
They gave me a lovely board with a portrait of me (done by one of the students who is an amazing artist) with messages- and messages all in English! 
I was so touched and felt so fortunate to have met these people. I learned as much, if not more, as a teacher, and I am so grateful that I had the classes that I had. 
As a thank you, I also shared the speech I had done in Spanish, since many of them hadn't heard it at the Festival, despite the fact that the speech was about them. 
I wrote it in the best Japanese that I could, and it was like a thank you. They were such an inspiration: they were from different parts of Japan, different ages and different backgrounds, but they all taught me  a lot. 
This is why I love the teaching profession- not one class or student is the same, and everyday is exciting and unpredictable. Some days challenging, but rewarding, everyday. I can't think of a better job.


I hope that they are all well, and that I get to see them soon someday. 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rakugo- Japanese comedy! 落語:波のり寄席

There were many participants on the voyage, all with different backgrounds, experiences and hobbies. One of them was Shisho- the Rakugo master (Rakugo is a type of Japanese comedy). He had been on Peace Boat once before, and back then too, he prepared a performance where GET teachers learned and shared jokes Rakugo style. 

船にはたくさんの参加者が乗っていて、それぞれが本当にいろいろな背景や経験や趣味をもっていた。そのうちの一人は師匠:落語の師匠。ピースボートには以前一回乗ったことがあるみたいで、そのときも、GET の先生達が落語を披露する寄席を企画したという。

I initially went to say hi, with an intention to perhaps learn some short jokes as my dad loves jokes.... But!!! Before I knew it, he told me that I was in the performance as well.
Surprised but everything was so rushed, I decided to take this as another opportunity to try something new... I used to consider myself as passive and scared to take risks and to try new things... But I  think with this voyage I conquered this drawback and am now happy and excited to try new things. 


We were all given Japanese comedian names, and the calligraphy professional on the boat wrote it for us.

Nervous but excited and ready!

My performance was different from the others. I was assigned to do Nininbaori- a performance done by two people where one sits behind and acts as the other person's arms. 
I worked with a participant, and she became my arms. 
It was challenging to come up with a script that would entail movement of arms, but that would also be entertaining for the audience. Those of you who see the red on my face in the photos, the lipstick was part of the act!!
I was super nervous but made it through! 


The others did an amazing job telling jokes! There were some teachers who had to memorize the jokes completely.

Done, and bowing to say thank you! 

The whole performance team!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Boat Wedding American Style アメリカン・ボート・ウエディング

Interesting event created by Beth and Jay was the American Wedding.
This event aimed to show the typical American wedding culture, by simply doing them! There was the proposal, engagement party, bachelor/bachelorette party, and the wedding ceremony. 


Proposal at the 80s party... she said yes!

Bacheloratte Party.....

At the ceremony there were more bridesmaids and groomsmen than other guests...

I was one of the bridesmaids!! 

The fake bride appears with the fake father......

The ceremony done by Steven the minister.....

then, the groom's fake ex-girlfriend arrives to destroy the ceremony...!


She was carried away by the groomsmen....

After much drama, happily fake married :-) 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Bridge Tour! ブリッジツアー!

Another exciting thing that we got to experience was the Bridge Tour- we got to see where the heart of our home was. Everyone, including myself, was so excited!


to see the view from the bridge.....

see the machines and procedures......

I know I am going to miss it.


Speech Festival! スピーチフェスティバル!

Another big GET event was the Speech Festival. 
Many students participated to do a speech- the event went on the whole day for people to come in and enjoy listening to speeches. 

もうひとつのGET の大きなイベントはスピーチフェスティバル。

Many of the teachers participated too! Steven, Claudia and Jay did a speech in Japanese and I did one in Spanish. It felt really important to do this- not only did I understand how my students felt when getting on that stage, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment as I started to take up Spanish being on the boat. I think Peace Boat was a wonderful place to try new things, as the people around make you feel safe, supported and loved. 


Listening to people's speeches was also a very touching experience. There were speeches that brought tears to my eyes, made me laugh, made me think... People shared their past, present and future, and simply who they are by being up on the stage. It is extra special when you get to know someone more through what they themselves have chosen to share. 


The range of feelings, topics and people in the Speech festival I think represented life in itself. It was a lovely day to peek into people's minds and lives. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stand Up!- Stand Up Against Poverty スタンドアップ!

Stand Up Take Action aims to spread awareness of the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. 
The way this is done is simple- millions of people around the world stand up together at decided dates and times, to show that they know and support these goals, but also to demand that world leaders end poverty and achieve these goals. You can see the 8 important goals below, and read more about this here: 


6.HIV/AIDs, マラリア、他の病気が広がるのを防ぐこと


On Peace Boat, this event was done on the Pool Deck. Participants all wore the color red, and after reading a speech directed to the World leaders, we all stood up together.


To be achieved by 2015.