REaChing for the stars
Empowering English Language Learners
When October arrives, there is a buzz around school, the festival buzz. Every year, Kanazawa Technical College, and other schools around Japan, put on school festivals. These festivals are a fantastic opportunity for students to take the lead and work together in organizing fund raising events, activities, and food stalls. Each club or class puts together a different idea for making money and entertaining visitors to the festival. Also, there are performances by the school bands and yosakoi dancers, as well as community dance troupes and impressive taiko drummers.
Our school festival takes place over the first Saturday and Sunday in October. Every year, the English teachers set up an English lounge, where we post students' work and pictures from the study abroad trips on bulletin boards. We have games, music/videos, and this year I put together a paper craft and some Halloween books for the younger children that inevitably visit the room. Throughout the weekend, we find our students wandering in and out of the room to get some Halloween candy, look at pictures, and chat or play Scrabble or cards. It's fun to just hang out with our students, and chat about anything and everything.
Students families also visit the school, so, we can meet parents and siblings. Graduated students or students who have changed schools also come back to say hello and enjoy the various activities.
This year, I had a great time getting scared in the global engineering department second year class' haunted house, and relaxing in the third year's Halloween cafe, where I was served tea and cake in a classroom that was arranged and decorated like a cafe. Outside at the food stalls, I tried okonomiyaki, yakitori, hot dogs, udon, and baby castera. Over two days of course! The udon was my favorite. I watched all the various bands on the central stage, and was impressed by my students' talent, and their courage to get up in front of all their peers and perform. I thoroughly enjoyed the taiko drummers, who impress every year. My friends Bolaji (an KTC engineering teacher,) and Dustin's band played, and the students could enjoy some live English music. In the ikebana (flower arranging) room, I enjoyed a whipped macha tea with a sweet. The ladies on the ikebana club always display their arrangements in two classrooms, one is set up with benches for visitors to sit down, and behind some blue panels, the ikebana club prepares tea and sweets to serve. It's lovely.
Even though I didn't find any great bargains at the school bazaar, or win anything in the raffle, I had a great festival weekend and valuable interactions with students. I look forward to next year!