Slowing Down, Speeding Up

[Taylor]

We’ve mentioned that our activity here has slowed down a bit in recent weeks.  The winter weather is one reason.  Another is that junior high and high school graduation is just around the corner.

Tomorrow all of the san-nensei (third year) junior high students who want to attend Noheji High School next year will take an entrance examination at Noheji High School.  Those who fail to make the cut the first time can try again.  If they don’t pass, their options are to attend a private high school (either in Noheji or Hachinohe) or wait a year and try again.

High school seniors who desire to go to college have most likely already taken their entrance examinations.  If they’re not continuing their education, chances are they have (with the help of my high school staff) found a job and have been receiving training this month while they don’t have to attend classes at the high school.  Although these students have finished their studies, the teachers are working very hard to ensure the graduation ceremony is well planned and runs as smoothly as possible.

Generally when the teachers are occupied with events and activities, Julie and I aren’t quite as busy.  This means many office days spent studying Japanese and helping out the teachers as much as possible.  For me, today, that included some major cleaning.  Since a couple hundred junior high students will be visiting our school tomorrow for tests, we had an extra long and thorough cleaning period in the morning.  I’ve mentioned this before, but in Japan the students clean the schools.  Schools employ custodians but they tend to focus only on building maintenance and landscaping.

After both high school and junior high graduations, it’s time to give the underclassmen their final exams.  Finally, at the end of March, a new term will begin.  I’m sure the pace will pick up for everyone again by then, including us.

Update: A friend told me that every junior high in our region is testing today.  In accordance with this important day, police officers have been asked not to use their sirens and people who fly private planes have been told not to fly during test taking hours in an effort to optimize student concentration.

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