This afternoon Alina and I went and taught at a handicapped high school in Hitachi. I was unsure of what to expect, despite the fact that we'd been given a detailed outline of the lesson plan two weeks ago. When the teacher came at that time to plan with me, she had asked me if I would be willing to teach the kids a simple "folk dance" of America. Being the proud Texan that I am, line dancing immediately came to mind and I said, "Sure!" :)
The kids were so much fun to begin with. They were all so excited to see us and were so proud to show us their English skills (though they were limited to saying "please, thank you, hello, and see you"). As a teacher I now more fully understand what teachers mean when they say that if students will just try they will do well. A student who can effortlessly spout grammar rules does not touch me nearly as much as a student who works their hardest to communicate a simple thought.
The lesson consisted of self-introductions, a game of "animal basket" (which is like fruit basket with animals), and then the much anticipated dance lessons. I came prepared with a CD of the original Brooks and Dunn classic, "The Boot Scoot Boogie," and then performed a simplified version of the line dance for them. I can't tell you how amusing it was to see 40 Japanese kids stumble around with country music blasting. Everyone was smiling and laughing... I think they enjoyed it. :) So yes, while I am a vocational missionary for the cause of Christ, I am also here to spread the joy of Texas and her beautiful culture. :) The kids then performed a traditional Japanese dance for us using these little wooden clickers which are comparable to castanets. We wrapped up and said goodbye and thank you, shaking hands with all the students.
Before today I had never worked with severely handicapped students. I was so encouraged by their joy and enthusiasm. It's days like today that I feel so blessed to be a teacher.