Saturday, 16 April 2011

One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

The ridiculous irony of the previous blog posting about a really hopeless learning environment for teens, is that the delightful Sayaka (with some old guy pictured left) was a graduate of the very same school earlier this year. However, the inane reality was that she was obliged to go back to the school for the grad certificate even though she had already graduated high school in Canada.

Sayaka is the (charming) worm that turned. All on her own, she realised there was more to education than the sterile offerings up the road, and applied for a scholarship to escape to BC. I helped her home room teacher write the letter, as I have known her since she was three and applauded her 'get me outta here' chutzpah. And go she did, extending her year into a second. End product, an FCE from Cambridge ESOL and an invitation to study at Waseda from next week. A very well-rounded young lady indeed, and not at all your average uni intake.

(However, this is the second successful FCE candidate we have produced from young learners - Saya took her fisrt YLE Starters exam in 2000 - that has gone on to Waseda. I currently have three more 'on the go'). Anyone in the Matsumoto/Shinshu area want to get a powerful leg up, look no further.

So, anyway, whinge whinge about a derelict school system, and the contradiction which proves the rule.
It also proves that HS kids are not to be underestimated - they can see through "I've been teaching here for 24 years you know" in 10 minutes. And it is about the kids, isn't it?

Personally, I'm really hoping the Tohoku earthquake and the dreadful tsunami will eventually have an effect here in the hills of Nagano too. As they rebuild 'over there', will they be able to do so with a broader vision than just the bricks and mortar (OK, wood & tatami) & inspire the rest of this country to stop dragging its heels - for me, particularly in education?

I'll have to try to remember that each of the 26 victims in the writing class at the HS next Wednesday could be a Sayaka II...which means I have 26 reasons to get bolshy.