Vicky's Impression about Japanese Schools

When I was in England preparing to come to Japan, I wasn`t too worried about teaching. I thought that Japanese schools couldn`t be so different from English schools. I was very wrong! So, here are a few of the differences between Japanese and English schools. I will compare Meiko, a first year girl at a Japanese school, and Sarah an English girl student.
The School Day; At the start of the day, Meiko can be seen cleaning the school. But Sarah`s school has cleaners ( people who are paid to clean the school) so Sarah will be having assembly with the whole school. In assembly Sarah will sing hymns ( Christian songs), say a prayer and listen to messages.
School Uniform; Meiko and Sarah are wearing different clothes. Meiko is wearing a dark blue sailor style pinafore and jacket, and the boys in her class are wearing black trousers, a white shirt and a black jacket with brass buttons. Sarah is wearing a grey skirt or trousers, a white shirt, a school tie and a schhol sweater or jacket. The boys in her class wear the same, except they don`t wear a skirt of course!
Lunch Time; The bell is now ringing for lunch. Meiko and Sarah are very hungry! Meiko puts on a white coat and hat, and helps to serve the set school lunch to her classmates in their classroom. Sarah, however, goes to the dining room with her friends and eats the packed lunch of sandwiches and fruit that her mother has made for her. Sometimes she eats in the school cafeteria. She can choose which food she would like to eat, and then she pays at the cash desk.
Rules; While Meiko and Sarah are eating, let`s look at the school rules. Meiko is wearing slippers because she isn`t allowed to wear out-door shoes in school. But Sarah can wear out-door shoes. Meiko is eating lunch in her classroom, but Sarah isn`t allowed to eat or drink there.
School Clubs; It`s the end of school! Meiko and Sarah are happy because now it`s time for after-school clubs. Meiko can do many clubs such as art, tea ceremony, basketball and volleyball. Sarah can also do many activities, for example, music lessons, netball and hockey. They both enjoy their club activities very much.
Because of all these differences, I was very surprised on my first day at a Japanese school. I was a little confused because in England we have primary school (5 to 11 years) and secondary school (12 to 16 years), whereas in Japan there is elementary school (6 to 12 years), junior high school (13 to 15 years) and senior high school (16 to 18 years). My first impression was that Japanese students have to work much harder than English students. They have to clean, serve lunch, and they have to spend more time studying because their school day is longer. Another thing I noticed was the type of study the students do. In England we write many projects and essays, but in Japan the students study from their text-books more. I think that English schools are a little stricter. English students can`t go into the teacher`s room like Japanese students can, and also, English students can`t talk in class, so I found Japanese classes a little noisier than I was used to! It is impossible for me to write of all my experiences, but I can`t finish until I`ve mentioned the teachers and students who have been so welcoming to me. Their help and kindness is what has made my experience here so enjoyable and valuable.
COPY RIGHT:Vickey 1998 All right reserved.