Last week was a busy week for the English department because we helped the students put on a play with the assistance of the Missoula (as in Montana) Children’s Theatre (MCT). About 70 local elementary and junior high students participated in the musical version of The Jungle Book. Students and teachers started meeting weekly back in February to go over lines and practice songs. Then last week, we met every night from 5 until 9 for extra practice. Two young adults from the United States represented the MCT and worked with students on their stage placements and the actions for their songs. It was no small task for students to memorize the English and work on their pronunciation either, but Saturday’s two performances were a big success! Saturday morning started with a dress rehearsal, and the students were so excited to try on their costumes for the first time. Their stage make-up was the final touch to really put them in character. I was so impressed with the high energy level that each of the students displayed. Later we heard from audience members that this was the best performance they have seen during the ten years of doing MCT plays at Kyushu Gakuin.
The biggest blessing for me during the week was the relationships that I was able to form with my junior high students. When I teach a class of about 40 students it is often difficult to get to know each student personally and for them to really get to know me. Throughout the week students started to see me as more than an authority figure. They saw that I am here to support and encourage them, to help them, and to show them Christ’s love through my actions and words. The school year is just starting in Japan, and I am excited to see how the relationships with my students and coworkers continue to grow in the months ahead.