Today there was a sankanbi at my son’s school. The first grade parents were invited to watch a music class conducted in English by a Canadian teacher. They started out with some rhythmic clapping, and then did some singing and dancing along with CDs. One of the songs was by the Wiggles, from a video that Jio and Lilia watched as toddlers. Out of all the boys, my son seemed to be enjoying the class the most.
Afterward, there was a meeting in the classroom. The teacher talked and laughed and cried (when she was telling us that Miss L. the Taiwanese-born American teacher would be leaving at the end of February, and again when she was telling us how moved she was by seeing the first graders speaking English as they rehearsed “Snow White”) and all of the parents were totally stoic. No one ever nods in agreement or chuckles at an anecdote or even cracks a smile. Mostly, the parents look down at the desks, or at the teacher without any expression whatsoever. Except for me. I wonder if it’s considered more polite to show no reaction.
The teacher said that she has told the students to do 20 sit-ups a day at home. My son never does sit-ups, so this is the first I’ve heard of this. The exercise is supposed to strengthen them so they can speak from the diaphragm. Interesting.