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Great Teacher Xeno: FINAL!
... happy trails to you

GTX: Great Teacher Xeno [ Check this category ]

Written by xenocrisis0153
September 30th, 2012

12931 views

It's been so long since I've been to this site. I couldn't even remember my admin password to log back in. I'm happy to look over the numbers of the last few entries and see the huge surge in readership, but I deeply apologize for the long break that's been taken since my last entry. And because of this, I feel like I need to formally and officially end this blog series.

The support of the readers, both casual and devoted, has been great. I'm happy to know that many people enjoyed reading my stories. Even looking back at the four years' worth of posts (436 of them!!!), I find it unbelievable how I was ever able to find the time and energy to write all of them. But of course, I'm glad I did. Every story preserved here will be a monument to the epic time I had in this country, meeting and interacting with all of the great people I met along the way.

But actually, I have plenty of good news regarding my decision to discontinue this blog. I'm not leaving Japan. In fact, I'm in a new school district. I left my elementary schools in Fukushima in a tear-filled dramatic anime-esque showdown with the Board of Education. This time it was about trying to change my role in the schools to "less friendly, more professional," essentially meaning they wanted me to stop playing around so much and just focus on acting like an adult. Surely a valid request, but an insult to everything I stand for. And considering my close relationship with many of the students under my care, it would just be a devastating change disrupting all of our lives. The children would never be able to understand "xeno-sensei can't play with us anymore because the BOE wants him to be more serious," so I choose to surrender my contract and walk away.

I'd rather be a murdered hero than a transformed villain*. At least I get to leave while the children still think highly of me... and not as some boring husk of a man. Unfortunately, however, this all happened during the summer vacation, and since I left before the start of the new semester, I didn't even get to say "good-bye" to many of them.

(yes, boring officedrones are villains in my eyes, haha)

At least I did get to give a farewell speech to the children who attended the jidoukan after-school program that day. It was a total shock to them all. They had been anticipating spending an entire summer together with me. But instead we were forced to go our different directions. I am glad that the Director of the BOE herself was there that day escorting me, because she got to see for herself what a destructive decision she had made. She got to see how hard those kids took the news, how many tears they shed. But it certainly proves what kind of effect a truly great and inspirational teacher can have when they allow their actions to come from the heart.

As sad as I was to leave the children of Fukushima, as it's always been, this was a new opportunity for me. This was finally my big chance to do what I had originally come here to do!!! I wanted a one-school assignment (none of this once-a-week visit crap) at a junior high school (my favorite level to teach, I can now safely affirm) on the edge of a mega-city. And with those rubrics in mind, I set out to seek a new job. Spent the entire summer applying and interviewing, looking for the perfect placement. Of course, as it normally seems to go, everything was super slow until about the final week of August when the companies were desperately trying to fill new vacancies.

I think I applied with about 20 different companies and private schools. Actually, after all was said and done, I think I was officially given 5 offers. But only one placement stood out amongst the rest: a 1-JHS position in Nishinomiya City.

If you know me and this blog well enough, and you know your anime facts, then you know exactly how big of an opportunity this was to me. Nishinomiya City is the setting for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, my all-time most favorite anime (of the 400+ series I've seen). The pay wasn't that great*, but really it just felt like this was a chance I shouldn't be passing up. Nishinomiya is nestled in between Osaka and Kobe, Japan's 2nd and 4th-largest cities, respectively. This wasn't only my chance at living in an urban area, but one that had great significance to my coming here in the first place.

* this contract is officially the least-paid of every contract I've had here... and when you take into fact that not only did I just come off of the highest-paid contract, but also turned down another very highly-paid contract, it speaks to my devotion in coming here

So being in the city now, I can finally appreciate the true Japanese way-of-life. My 4 years in the mountain villages and countryside were a great opportunity at living peacefully amongst the people and really immersing myself in the lives of those around me, but that's only about how 20% of the people live. Now is the time to see how they really live.

I live just 5 minutes from a JR train station (15 minutes if I want to use a private-company railway), and 10 minutes from a super-sized mall that has not only a McDonald's and a KFC, but also a Subway, Starbucks, Mister Donut, and a cineplex!!! There are parks all around, and plenty of museums, shops, and other points of interest. Plus, with Osaka's Umeda District just 20 minutes away by train, I have numerous ways of keeping busy. And I'm not sure if this is a plus or not, but I also live right across the river from one of Japan's busiest airports, so every 5-10 minutes, I have a passenger jet flying over me. (but I love watching planes taking off, so I enjoy it).

My new school, itself, is the perfect dream. Nearly 1,000 students attend, broken up into 24 different classes! And right from the start, all the students have been enamored by me. I went with the strategy of just hanging with the boys for my first month, and now it seems like the girls are competing for my attention. I can't turn a corner anywhere on campus without hearing my name shouted from across a room!

And this school has 7 English teachers... 3 of them being young women (2 fresh-out-of-college, heh heh). It's certainly nice to be able to teach with a wide-range of JTEs. All my other schools either just had 1 teacher, or they made me be the main teacher while they just supported me. It's a bit of a hassle to try to keep in mind who does what for each class, but at least it shakes things up and breaks my day up a little bit.

The assorted range of clubs available is everything I imagined it to be!! Unfortunately there is no photography club at my school, but I can still experience sports clubs like Volleyball (girls only, which is fine for me), Soccer (boys only), Basketball, Badminton (!!), Table-Tennis, Baseball, and Track & Field. For academic clubs, there is Tea Ceremony, Music, Art, Home Economics, and Student Council. I've been making the rounds quite a bit as a way of getting the most of my time here. I am surprised to find out how much fun the academic clubs are. With the sports clubs, I can chill and play with the students, but with the academic clubs, the kids are free to talk and joke around as much as they please. I never imagined I would have so much fun at Tea Ceremony or Music, but those students love to me pieces.

I think part of the reason why I'm so popular here is 1) I'm so rugged and handsome... like the smexy clone hybrid of Indiana Jones and Harry Potter, hahaha, 2) I'm the first ALT these kids have had after a semester of not having a foreigner English teacher, and 3) I decided to use my epically awesome T/F BINGO of amazing facts about my life as my introduction game, complete with over-the-top-wackiness... the students were blown away by what seemingly absurd things were actually true (I HAVE been to the White House, I HAVE been on tv and on radio, and HAVE traveled to more prefectures in Japan than they've probably all been to in total collectively, heh heh).

oh, and my family back in Boston has a swimming pool... Japanese people are always amazed by that.

Also awesome about my ginormous school is the high pressence of other foreign-raised, foreigner-bred students. So far I've had one girl tell me she's spent every summer of her life in ItalY, another tell me she was raised the first 8 years of her life in Australia, one of undeterminate origin but has a Western name, and a few others who have been to Canada and the US for short spurts. Even overall, the general English-speaking abilities are quite good. We haven't had too many times when they couldn't understand me.

Oh, and best of all... being back in Kansai/Chugoku, it means I arrived just in time for Sports Festival Season, again!!! I think I've had 4 festivals in the last 2 years. Haha, it's been awesome!!!!! I was allowed to take photos at this festival, and the results were amazing. I had so many requests for photos. I hope the school can find good use for them. :D

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So don't you all worry about your ole' pal, xeno. Just listen to the swelling of the dramatic music as the sun begins to set, and have good feelings in your heart knowing that it will rise again the next day. I'm going to keep on doing what I've been doing. I know it hasn't been popular, and I will always need to fight with those who don't agree with me, but that's what holding your own means. Stick to your guns and fight. Don't let anyone push you down. Don't give up on what you believe in. Some may disagree and some will try to force their own side against you, but as long as you have support on your side, you can always take pride in doing what you think is right. Even if you lose in the end, you can move on knowing that you gave it your all.

I've fought with my company supervisors. I've fought with teachers. I've fought with principals. I've fought with parents. I've fought with students. I've fought with Education Boards. I've fought with the Minister of Education herself.

I even fought the crust of the Earth and the nuclear rain that poured down upon me.

But everytime I've fall, I've always gotten right back up. I've done it on my own; I've done it with support. For every battle I've waged, I've always had support. Friends, readers, principals and teachers. I even had a 7 year-old girl stand up to her principal in front of her parents to defend me.

For every swing I've delivered, for every punch I've taken... I've always had people on my side. You can't change the system... you'll hear that at every corner... but God damnit, you have to try. You have to try with every ounce of your strength. Even if you don't succeed, if you can inspire the next person in line to stand up in your place, then eventually, someday, somehow, somewhere, everything you fought to believe in, will have meaning.

Inspire those who lay their eyes upon you. Inspire those who listen to your words. Inspire those who believe in you.

And even if you're not looking to start some kind of epic reform in society, you can still better your own life. Never say "no" to a new opportunity. Be satisfied with what you have, but never stop trying to get more. Never stop learning.

Don't ever stop trying to become a better person.

I have to go now. It's been fun. I loved contributing to this blog day by day. I love knowing that I will have a record of everything that's happened to me on this awesome adventure I've had. I truly encourage anyone who has the same opportunity to take it. It won't be easy, but it will sure as hell be worth it.

This blog is dedicated to every student of every age I have had the great pleasure of meeting. I've taught nearly 4,000 children aged 3 to 18 in every corner of Japan. I dedicated my life to you all. I dedicated every ounce of my strength to being the kind of person who you could admire, respect, and hopefully one day emulate.

I love you all... with all of my heart.


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#1

xenocrisis0153
P.S.

I have, for the first time since coming to Japan, a Japanese girlfriend ^____^V

... and no, she's not the reason why I stopped updating this blog, haha. I'll still do some updates on living in Japan, though.

2012-09-30 03:40:10
#2

cheshire
Glad you're still about

Good to hear you're still around, sad to hear the blog is over.

Interesting to hear about the GF situation (at last) -- good luck there!

Hope the decision to take the lower-paid contract over the other more lucrative ones was the right one; although job satisfaction is very valuable, you still need to pay the bills, and a GF is one expensive thing to support...

Here's an African proverb for you to think of:
"Anyone who thinks they are too small to make a difference, has never spent a night with a mosquito"

Steve

2012-09-30 17:08:54
#3

nekokim
Hey just cause it say's FINAL doesn't mean you can quit.

Don't All anime seasons that final in them go for at least 13 episodes plus then the OAV releases...
Just don't perv out during them!

2012-10-02 14:26:41
#4

bluemage
Thanks for Sharing so many Great Stories and Memories!

Even after your hiatus, I still visited Anime-Source every day, always checking if you'd post another great blog entry. And even though it has come to an end, your experiences and words of wisdom will forever continue to inspire me to always do my best; to learn and explore this world as much as I can; and above all, to better myself until the end of my days.

Thanks again for these last 2-3 years! See you sometime in the near future --- in another post not so far away. I'll sure to be there to catch it. ^_^

2012-10-02 17:50:43
#5

du5k


...because you're the teacher Japan deserves...

but not the one they need right now.

2012-10-03 00:49:50
#6

Nazyura
Row row, fight the powah~!

Although I've always just been reading your entries as a guest I only just now signed up to thank you for sharing your stories with us :P. Your entries really felt like a manga, with the main character constantly facing new troubles and it made me realize that it's the opposite...what we read is simply a reflection of what people go through in real life. Funny how you finally ended up at Haruhi's school in the very end. It's sad that you're quitting the blog since you're damn good at writing one but I wish you all the luck in the future and happiness with your girlfriend!
I'll actually be studying at a school in Izumi as an exchange student from March 2012 onwards, which is only half an hour from Osaka. If you ever want to geek out in Akihabara or something, just say the word! Doubt that I'll meet many other otaku in my class, 'cept for the mainstream ones that love One Piece but probably think Negima is a sort of vegetable :P.

2012-10-04 08:08:31
#7

xenocrisis0153


hooray for supporting words!!

@Chesire - heehee, thanks for the well wishes with the new gf. We're moving steadily along, making tons of short-term plans to keep the relationship moving along. We have an Autumn trip to Kyoto coming up.

I've never cared about money. It's nice to have, but I don't really spend it, so why should I care so much about it? It's the day-to-day life I need to live that makes everything worthwhile, so might as well choose the position that makes me happy. And yeah... everything has gotten twice as expensive since the gf came around. Imagine that :D

@nekokim - lol... some OVAs, eh? Maaaaaybe. I'll definitely try to put some more effort into my Living in Japan series. I will definitely do a story on Osaka's version of Akihabara, since it's so little-known.... hell, I didn't even know Osaka HAD an anime district until recently.

@bluemage - thanks for the loyalty, my friend. I am disappointed in myself for not making the time to blog these past few months, but it's mainly because I've put more energy into actually LIVING my life as opposed to just talking about. Well... not an intentional decision, so to speak... it's just having the full jidoukan every afternoon from 3pm to 6pm really took a lot of energy out of me. A lot of the stories were similiar to things I've done before, just with different kids, so the experiences really only mattered to me, and weren't so entertaining to hear a second time.

2-3 years... I think officially the blog was running for 4 years, though since I tapered off at the end, maybe we can only say 3.5 years. Heehee, I tell everyone I'm a "go-nensei" now (5th-grader).

@du5k - haha, does this mean my next step is to build myself a rocket-cycle?

@Nazyura - awesome... a guest-turned-commenter :D

thank you for your words. I always love hearing how my stories impact others. I like just knowing that people are listening and hearing my words. We all have our triumphs and tribulations in life, so it's great to be able to share them and relate.

Izumi... where is that? What prefecture? When are you coming (March 2012 has already come and gone)? But yeah, let's coordinate and try to meet up in Osaka. I'm always happy to meet up with anyone from this site who can make it out to Japan. ^___^V

2012-10-05 06:30:37
#8

tealgod


Was looking through your past blogs, think my last post was in april of this year. Bit sad to see the blog go, but it's also a good sign meaning you have so much going on to spend on the internet :P

2012-10-05 11:54:25
#9

Pulsar
Thanks for the blogs sir xeno

It was really enjoyable to read its sad to see it ending. Best wishes to both you and your gf.

2012-10-05 15:19:07
#10

Nazyura
@ Xeno

Oh lol, I meant March 2013. It's part of the Osaka prefecture but the city's called Izumi and it's about half an hour south from Osaka. If any other readers will be in Japan in 2013 (or already live there) we might even be able to have a meet up or something!

2012-10-07 07:12:39
#11

Zellron


I had something more clever to say, but when it came down to it... It didn't look as great as when I wrote it down.

So, I'll say I've truly enjoyed reading your blogs whenever I felt like reading (very often mind you, I enjoy reading).
Sad to hear that you are going to be cutting down on them a lot (since you mentioned you might talk about living in Japan in future blogs)

Either way, I look forward to seeing what you write in the future.

P.S
You need to write. :D

From,
The lurker who I think posted one comment in one of your other postings.

2012-10-08 15:18:21
#12

Fission2
It's like that game you never played with, but someone sold it for drugs

Truth be told, I haven't paid much attention to the blog, and I haven't read most of the articles in the last few years, but it's sad to see something that edified us about teaching and Japan, while allowing us to live vicariously.

Looking in hindsight, it really is difficult to believe that it's already been so long since you started keeping the blog. 4 years? Gokurosama deshita!

2012-10-15 21:41:09
#13

Mastermavrick
Sadden but happy

Though i was only ever a casual reader it hurts a bit to see this wonderful blog come to an end. I am happy to hear you are doing well and have some of other aspect of life taking off. And like some i am sure i will never forgive the Japanese BoE for forcing you to move schools a year back for a misunderstanding but gleamed with pride as the community stood by you then. I'll miss the funny nicknames earned and given to your students (some of which i helped name if i remember right :) ). I'll miss the heart felt simple joy of seeing another country threw the eyes of someone over there who is foreign and just living life as they do... with a Japanese heart.

Good Luck and may you always have the support of your students and their families as you do your job exceptionally well. (Thou i would love updates on you in general blog posts to the site every few months so we know how your doing.)

2012-10-22 11:03:07
#14

darrendemers12
Thanks

The support of the readers, both casual and devoted, has been great. I'm happy to know that many people enjoyed reading my stories. Even looking back at the four years' worth of posts (436 of them!!!), I find it unbelievable how I was ever able to find the time and energy to write all of them. But of course, I'm glad I did. Every story preserved here will be a monument to the epic time I had in this country, meeting and interacting with all of the great people I met along the way.
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But actually, I have plenty of good news regarding my decision to discontinue this blog. I'm not leaving Japan. In fact, I'm in a new school district. I left my elementary schools in Fukushima in a tear-filled dramatic anime-esque showdown with the Board of Education. This time it was about trying to change my role in the schools to "less friendly, more professional," essentially meaning they wanted me to stop playing around so much and just focus on acting like an adult. Surely a valid request, but an insult to everything I stand for. And considering my close relationship with many of the students under my care, it would just be a devastating change disrupting all of our lives. The children would never be able to understand "xeno-sensei can't play with us anymore because the BOE wants him to be more serious," so I choose to surrender my contract and walk away.

2014-12-15 10:59:48
#15

Seo-Guru


But actually, I have plenty of good news regarding my decision to discontinue this blog. I'm not leaving Japan. In fact, I'm in a new school district. I left my elementary schools in Fukushima in a tear-filled dramatic anime-esque showdown with the Board of Education. This time it was about trying to change my role in the schools to "less friendly, more professional," essentially meaning they wanted me to stop playing around so much and just focus on acting like an adult. Surely a valid request, but an insult to everything I stand for. And considering my close relationship with many of the students under my care, it would just be a devastating change disrupting all of our lives. The children would never be able to understand "xeno-sensei can't play with us anymore because the BOE wants him to be more serious," so I choose to surrender my contract and walk away.
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2015-02-05 14:28:11
#16

princexcharming
nice

Wow...you're very good at writing blogs,huh?and i love it!

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