What a difference a year can make

Reflecting back this time last year I was depressed, absolutely miserable and fighting many insecurities, internal conflicts and struggling at work. I hated my supervisor and English co-teacher. She was overworking me and still does to this day and even though she was ‘nice’, she could be cruel. My students don’t like her and I’m not quite sure why. When I wanted to go to my elementary school graduation, she refused because she needed me at junior high school to do 3 normal lessons. It was frustrating and useless as I wasn’t even doing anything important in those lessons. My students were teaching me a game and playing the piano with me and she said they could no longer teach me anymore. She said the other students couldn’t play piano during lunchtime, but we already asked and were granted permission from the music teacher. So in my mind at those times, she was a cruel, jealous and horrible woman. She wasn’t nice or even a good teacher in my thoughts.

Likewise, I hated my 2nd grade students and resented my 1st grade students at Junior high school last year. My 1st grade students were so shy they didn’t want to speak English with me. My 2nd grade students were so mean, they laughed at me, one girl ignored me and turned her back to me when I was talking to her. They were rude. In January, one boy said at lunch during one of my lowest points when I was trying to speak to them that he doesn’t speak English. He hates English and no-one understands. I sat there in silence not daring to speak after that, in such a foul and angry mood wondering what the hell I was doing wasting my time on some useless children who didn’t even want my help nor my teaching. Not that anything would help since their English was beyond despair, since their level was so low and they weren’t even motivated to try. After I finished eating I immediately stood up abruptly and without saying goodbye walked away. I think I shocked them. I almost gave up that day. I almost gave up a few months later after the earthquake.

One year later. 

I am happy. That same boy who told me he didn’t want to speak English began speaking English with me. He taught me a Japanese game and tried to use English to explain. He was patient and kind. That rude attitude and that distrust, suspicion and dislike melted away though I’m not sure when. He still dislikes English, but now he at least tries and has promised to do his best. He’s in 3rd year and has now graduated. I was so sad to see him and the fellow 3rd years go. I fell in love with my students (platonic off course).

I almost gave up on them, but somehow I kept eating lunch with them and I kept speaking English to them. They didn’t like it off course but eventually they opened up, eventually we started to joke and laugh. Those mean 3rd graders became kind and friendly. I don’t know why. The girl who rudely ignored me while I tried to speak to her when she turned her back to me, I was so shocked. six months later she began to thaw. She wouldn’t cover or hide her work anymore, she let me look and check. She didn’t ignore me but would say hi. When I spoke to her, she would try to speak English. She had such a strange personality transplant I wondered what happened. In all these incidents I have no idea why they changed. Maybe they got used to me. It’s hard to replace your predecessor who was so loved by them. It’s hard to fill big shoes, but I managed to change my attitude and they changed theirs. And somehow we improved and they became my favourite classes.They were still naughty sometimes, but more cheeky than bad. They certainly improved a little bit – mainly their speaking and conversational skills.

I don’t hate my teacher anymore. I just accept her, though she still pisses me off from time to time, I no longer care. She is not significant. She is just part of the job and will be leaving in two days.

During graduation, my favourite student when giving me a present told me that he was very glad he met me. He truly had fun in my classes and one day he wants to speak English with me as an adult. Earlier when I met his mother, she told me that he always spoke about me and how kind I was, how he enjoys my classes and wants to do well in English. Truly he was the kind one. He also was enthusiastic about my ideas and games, getting other students involved. He always spoke to me and asked my questions, not letting the conversation die. He always tried even though his level was very low. He always did his best speaking. I was very proud. I managed to inspire one kid out of 44. Only one, but it makes a world of difference to me because I was extremely happy to know I had succeeded with one. He wants to go to America one day. It’s not England but it is abroad at least. It’s not just about Japan. I changed that view.

My 1st years who were very shy have also improved and opened up. They are still quite shy but they are very kind and always have been. They try to speak English and even when I ask questions in Japanese, they reply in English.

I can’t believe the transformations. I have met some wonderful and lovely children. I am so very happy now. I am also sad because my students are leaving and graduating. I am sad because soon I will be leaving and the harsh truth has hit me. I’ll never see them again. But I’ll always love them. I am so so glad I stayed. I am so glad I stuck it out and never gave up because in the end, the benefits reaped were far greater than the losses I’ve experienced here. I am stronger emotionally, internally and as a person. I am more confident.

What a world of difference a year makes. I don’t know what changed and why. I only know that I am now happy.

 

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Today I am feeling optimistic despite this horrible weather and sad atmosphere! I have been moping around the house recently I will admit and it never helps! Right now I am listening to a beautiful song that I heard many years ago which has inspired me and helped me up when I was down “What have you done today to make you feel proud” by Heather Small. It is a great song and expresses exactly how I feel and how I look at life. But this is something everyone should be thinking about. Everyone has potential- that is potential to do good or do bad, the potential to work hard or be lazy. All you have to do is try and okay you may not always get what you want, you may get rejected but some of the best people in life always try. Everyone fails at something and that is how you build yourself up. I am trying to find a job right now and it is tough and I have not been having any luck but it doesn’t matter. I will continue trying till I succeed. I will continue because I know I can do well. I believe in myself.

I have a friend and she knows exactly what she wants to do in life. She wants to be a doctor and I kind of envy her because she knows what she wants and she found her dream career whereas I have no idea what I want to have a career in. However she keeps seeing things blocking her path. I suggest ideas and she keeps putting them down and to be honest she is not being realistic because okay I understand there are difficulties getting into medicine, but it all depends on how bad you want it and what kind of person you are. She is extremely smart and I know she can do well- she can get a First Class Honours Degree, she can draw, make things and is very smart but she is also very pessimistic and foolish in some ways. I am not that intelligent I am smart in other ways but I do try and put all my effort into things. Something inside so strong I know that I can make it. I wanted a First Class Degree but I got a 2:1 and that is still good! I am extremely happy and proud of myself even though I didn’t reach the First I tried and worked my hardest. I wanted a life social life and other experiences and sometimes things take sacrifice. My friend keep saying that it costs a lot of money and she doesn’t know if she can afford living out even if she goes to Scotland where university is free. She doesn’t know if she is entitled to this free education because she comes from the UK. But these things require research and right now she is just shooting them down and making excuses based on things she has no idea about. Education could very well be free for her too and she may never know or realise because she didn’t bother to look just because it might not be. I am tired of the excuses and call me an optimist, a fool or an unrealistic person living in la la land- I don’t care what you call me. I don’t care what you say because at least I have faith and I believe. Question is do you believe in you? I sure hope you do because it is very important. I have faith in people even those who are bad because you can turn your life around.

I want people to know that yes life is hard and sometimes thing don’t always go your way but you can achieve and do your best. All you can do is hope and if it doesn’t work out at least you tried. No regrets right? You tried so what’s to regret! Keep trying till you die. Don’t ever give up on life and I know it can be easy sometimes to just throw in the towel but its not worth it. There is so much out there you can achieve. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel- you just have to be strong and wait. There is sometimes even a helping hand. Trying is the key! 🙂 Everyone has a choice and it is never too late to start making those choices, paths, decisions. Believe in the strength and most importantly in you! I hope you achieve all the things you want!

So if you have failed at something or you got a bad mark or you were rejected in love, relationships/freidnships- then my advice to you is pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again! Have faith in you and your abilities and even if you feel like you don’t have any talents think about yourself and what you’re good at. Nothing is impossible because even the word impossible has possible in it!

Love the ever hopeful optimist (I have been told I live in la la land= oh well at least I like the bright side of life)

What have you done today to make you feel proud?