the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Schools Are Especially in Need of Grace

More than anywhere, Japanese schools and students are in need of God's

Today during my "bathroom patrol" to check for smokers, I found a girl
crying at the top of the stairwell because, "all of her friends hate
her." This was actually negated by the fact that she was with her friend
who was holding her and giving her tissues (both were technically
skipping class), but this logic didn't seem to appeal to her. This
student has had this problem for the last two years - some people call
it a mental disease.

I was having problems understanding sobbing teenage girl, so I went and
got a Japanese teacher. We went to the nurse's room - which is the
standard place to go for this sort of thing. We sent the friend back to
class. She sobbed all period, and refused to go to class or call her
mother to go home. I wish I could say this is an isolated event, or that
it's only her, but I know it's not. Out of our 600 students, I know six
who are currently dealing with this, and three who have had these
problems in the past but are now dealing with them better.

Add to that the smokers, shop-lifters, bullied students and students
from broken homes and it's a pretty sad bunch.

I sat there the rest of the period with her, the other teacher and the
nurse. As I was sitting there praying for her (because I couldn't do
anything else). I thought of all the tests we're busy with, how teachers
usually complain that nowadays we are only getting the "bad" and
"stupid" students. I thought we are really missing the point. The
students who are most in need of grace are coming to us!

We are living for more than tests, we're living for life. Which is
better, if we show a kid how to pass a test or if we show a kid how to
live well? We have the power to overcome these problems, it's in the
Bible. We talk about the Bible everyday in chapel, bit somehow that's
different. Here in Japan students and teachers practically live at
school. I feel like we miss so many chances - myself included.

Didn't Jesus say, "I came not to help the healthy but the sick"?
"Whoever welcomes one of the least of these welcomes Me"? We're not
really doing the Christian thing here, but then again hardly anyone on
staff is a Christian anyway. What will we do in about five years when
most of the Christian teachers retire?

Recently, I've been thinking I should start a student or teacher Bible
study (I should have done that a long time ago). But doing it by myself
I defiantly don't have the time or the energy. Recently I feel like I
defiantly have no power in myself.

But I'm leaving in a few months anyway, right? On a good day I tell
myself I'm going home to regroup, reload and come back. Am I crazy?

We'd really appreciate your prayers for our school and students.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what that feels like, having crying, teenage high school students. (Although I taught at an eikaiwa and my students were better able to communicate how they felt with me and understand what I said.) I once taught a snack hostess who talked to me about getting an abortion. (She didn't know the word "abortion," so she said "I have to kill the baby.") I didn't know what to do, so I just prayed about it after class. My higher-ups didn't really support me, naturally and understandably; we really shouldn't involve ourselves too much with our students, and I know that it comes across as unprofessional, but, at the same time, you want to help as a Christian and a teacher, so I understand what it's like to constantly be in a position of frustration. But, wow, seriously, I really feel for that girl. I definitely know what that's like.


12/13/2008 5:28 AM  

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