Students had been busy getting ready for this years sports festival, along with various other things this month. The festival was held on a Saturday the 10th of September, making it the second big event this school year. Second only to the school festival.
Looking back I can remember the sports festival was one of the first things I took part when I started teaching here in Japan a year ago. It had all been exciting and new. But like the year before the event had been just like the title of the event makes it sound, a day filled with hard work and physical activities. A day where parents enjoy watching there children battle other teams, teachers smile while they sit quietly observing, and students have a jolly good time even on the most hottest and humid of days.
Though there is something I have come to realize. As I watched them prepare for the relays, dance routines, and the cheer battle, I can see how much the students have changed, especially the second and third years. For me, even as I watch them today, it is as heartwarming as it is tear jerking.
As I had mentioned before, students where practicing for their various activities and events for the day of the big battle. School had been ending the “school day,” days full of loud shouts rather than the normal quite lessons, with an outdoor assemblies. This was done to give instructions for the following day and after school practice times/places and check to make sure no students skipped out. It was at these times my heart felt like it is going to burst.
As I watched all the grades come together and sit as one group out in the open sandy school ground I could fully make out their faces out in the hot afternoon sun. Maybe it was the fact that everyone was dressed in their gym uniforms but what ever it was something made them all seem so different. I cannot say for sure, but being able to see them out in the open instead of the darkened classrooms, hallsways, or gymnasium, I could really see how much they have changed.
My first years from last year have lost their cute innocent baby faces and grown into the more awkward teen stage, as they are now second years. Then the second years, now third years, have blossomed into their more mature young adult phase. Then comes my current first years. Honestly I am thankful they still have their middle school youth; Need those cute baby faces to bright up my day.
This is where love and sadness comes into play. While I love that I have been able to watch them grow and change into the wonderful people and student they are, I am sorrowful about the unavoidable events to come. I am so very much closer in needing to say goodbye.
This is my second year, one more and I will have to move on. Due to circumstances within my program and job position I am only allowed three years in total at my current placement. Mix in the fact that the third years will be graduating in March… Yes, there is time. And yet, there is never enough.
I want them to grow and become the amazing individuals that I know they are. I want the to go out and experience e world. I want them to go to college, travel, to live their dreams. But I don’t want to have to say farewell. I know it is childish and selfish of me to want to linger but that it is the mama bear in me. I want to stay alongside them as a friend and as family.
Still I know that everything will turn out. I will have to let go, they will move one, and someone or something new will come along to keep me busy. I just hope I can still keep tabs on most if not all of them. To know how they are doing on their future paths. Until then that fateful day, I will keep them at my side for just a while longer.