A heartwarming mailbox update

February 24th, 2010 in Daily

So, it has been a busy couple of weeks between work, weekend trips, and attempting to recover from a mysterious knee injury. All is well now, work has slowed down a bit while students take term exams and my knee is almost fully healed (just in time for this weekend’s 10K race at Sakurajima). With that, I’d like to share a few of the creative letters I received these past few weeks from students and teachers. Names and details have been removed where appropriate.

First, the amazing paper-craft skills from my school nurse:

This one was awesome. I didn’t think it could be topped. I spoke too soon:

This is Doraemon’s どこでもドア (“dokodemo door”, or anywhere door)

Doraemon himself. But wait, what’s that inside his Fourth-dimensional pocket?

Tiny photographs?

Tiny photographs on a string!

By far, these have been the most insanely impressive responses in my inbox. I still have not been able to reciprocate with such an intricately constructed letter, but I will have to soon. Indeed, the bar has been raised.

One of my return mailboxes with two outgoing letters.

An artist’s rendition of me, as a high school student in uniform. Check out my casual tie knot. Very cool!

Valentine’s Day brought a few special letters and chocolates with it. I certainly did not expect this.

My student’s reply to daikon-kun.

A whole garden of vegetable friends on the back. Check out the eggplant! Poor guy is the only unhappy one in the bunch.

This letter was particularly interesting, as my teacher mentioned that the student said she stayed up until midnight, forgoing studying to perfect the vegetable drawings until she was completely satisfied with them. If that weren’t enough, there was a felt pig stamp on the back and a piece of chocolate inside. Certainly made my morning to read this.

One more from a graduating third year student, who I exchanged some very interesting letters with about leaving high school and working in the real world. Genuine dialogues like this are something I really value about my job here.

There is a puri-kura (print club) sticker in the upper right from the graduating students. A few weeks ago they ran into the office and took a bunch of photos. Seeing a “thank-you” present like this Valentine’s gift, I start to feel like I am able to be a positive influence for my students.

My mailbox system has been one of the most rewarding experiments at school here. I never expected to be able to develop such interesting dialogues with students outside of class, let alone in English. It shows how much effort they are willing to put forth to learn when they aren’t being force-fed the text-book material. I am consistently impressed by the boldness and courage they show in these letters.

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