Friday, August 20, 2010
4:28 AM on a Saurday morning and I am thinking of work...BLEH
I have received enough questions about my line of work, more so the fact that I work off base, that I have decided to dedicate this blog to my civilian job...off base, and owned by an American.
1st, Kadena AB (Air Base) can only house so many American soldiers and their families, i.e., why Mark and I live off base. As a matter of fact, our next door neighbor is a young woman that is Mark's coworker and her husband. (He makes a mean pot of chili and I beat them and Mark in Monopoly ha ha) The same is said for military funded businesses such as, the BX, the "shops" our soldier's work in, and the CDC (military funded, but NOT free, childcare). The military can try, but simply can not accommodate all of the people they employ here in Japan and elsewhere.
2nd, There is money to be made in childcare in cities, towns, and islands who are occupied by military bases, where sometimes both parents MUST work, like the many children whose parents are "dual military" (both parents working for Uncle Sam) or people want their children in actual PREschool and not in the CDC with is basically daycare. Yes, people, my job, is not to be Mommy or Daddy, my school is not a daycare, I am not a babysitter, I do not cater to their every whim, I am a teacher, that teaches. Yes, I comfort, and guide them to adjust, but in my school, we don't wipe noses, the child does. I do not change diapers. I prepare lessons for a young group of children and provide them with the know how to carry on tasks needed for every human being to function while also preparing them for academics in the years beyond the time they are there with me....okay, I am off my soap box.
Some people, both nationals (in this case the Japanese citizens) and Americans have decided to market on the fact that people love to make extensions of themselves, multiple times, in the form of your little bundles of joy. And of course (I know, I started with AND and I'm a teacher, get over it, it's my blog!) every parent wants nothing but the best for their mini mes. Of course, like our churches, people love different teaching styles. That is where my Montessori school comes in to play because we are not your traditional school and we are not for everybody. For every 10 people I meet that coo over Montessori like I do, there is 1 that does not, and that is fine....now I am rambling, I said all that to say this. Not all military children can or do their parents want their child to go to on base child care, the CDC. There may be no room, parents may be ready for their children to be exposed to something other than being on base. So, in my school, it is primarily American children. As a matter of fact, out of my 18 kids, 3 are Japanese, with only 1 being "full" Japanese. My coworkers are Japanese and Filipinas that have lived on Oki for a long time or were born in Oki. My boss, though born in Korea, is American. I am the only American teacher, as my boss has moved and she is out of the classroom. American children are, how do I put this nicely, acclimated to different customs than Japanese children, there for, I was brought in to help my little fellow Americans understand that you need to listen to all of your elders. :) I have also been trained in the Montessori philosophy for 2 years while my coworkers have not. I am there for those reason, and I love the little keiki, of course! You HAVE to love our job to work with kids, or at least understand them very well. They are not little adults, they are children, they need to be able to have the freedom to be just that, cause goodness knows, it doesn't last forever.
Okay, now for the part you've all been waiting for, let's talk about the Japanese.
1st off let me say, that in the defense of the Japanese, (if you perceive this story to be one in bad taste.) the people I am about to refer to were called Chinese by my coworker, Glenda, and she knows better than I do, but I heard the words, "Kawaii!!", which means cute for those who don't know, in Japanese.
Now for the story of the week: These women, who appeared to me to be Japanese, saw our little troop and of course, a group a kids playing on a play ground at a botanical garden outing is beyond cute, it's ULTRA CUTE! So what do the young women want more than the shave ice and beer they were carrying around? Pictures of and WITH the kids of course! Now, understand this, many of you know they love to take pictures, and come on, we do too, they just have the....whatever you want to call it...to ask if they can take pictures. Now another thing that you shouldn't be surprised about if this ever happens to you, they like taking pictures WITH you at times. So of course a child loving culture would want to take pictures with the cutest bunch of sweaty kiddos you ever did see. So they ask to take pictures of and with the kids, and children, especially American children, being natural hams, (Not all are.) after receiving their teacher's go ahead, and some even before, quickly comply with the request of the nice, young ladies. Yeah I know, right, GO FIGURE! They got the peace signs up and the kids got the peace signs up and the group of about 6 of them pass around cameras and the kids are cheesing and the ladies are cheesing and there are, "KAWAII's!!" everywhere. I just watched with my American eyes and observed with my American mind and took it all in. This is normal for the Japanese culture, and I was okay with it, and it made me smile. It's nice because though we may be different we obviously have one thing in common, we can see the simple and complex beauty that is found when children are allowed to just be children. My only problem, you may have just started drinking, but please keep the beer away from the children. It's Japan, you can buy beer many of different places, but beer in hand with picture of kid....I am not comfortable with. Though, she may have passed off the cup, I could not see as I was supervising another group.
PICTURE TIME! This is the Southeast Botanical Gardens close to Kadena's Gate 3
Sayonara from the Scott's!