Friday, November 20, 2015

My First Post!

Hello there! My name's Erika, and I'm a first grade teacher living right outside of Tokyo, Japan. Although I'm in the Land of the Rising Sun, I work at a US school and all of my students are American. I came here with a two year contract, planning to put in some time and head back home with a little teaching experience and a lot of travel stories... and 5+ years later, I'm still here! I fell in love with all that Japan has to offer, but even more, I fell in love with the job. My first graders keep me constantly challenged. I learn just as much from them as they do from me! 

I would be happy to stay in my classroom and continue exploring Japan for many years to come, but an officer and a gentleman came along and swept me off my feet. Kevin and I recently got engaged and due to his career, we'll be leaving Japan next year to return Stateside. I always knew it would take something big to make me leave my firsties... and any guy who will dress up as a banana for you is probably a keeper :)

I also teach English to Japanese elementary school students part- time, and Kevin stepped up to help me out with a Halloween event that we held a few weeks ago. As 6'4" American banana, he was basically a celebrity! My eggplant costume was a hit, too. His quote of the night, "Now I know how Lady Gaga feels. She wears weird outfits and everyone wants to take her picture." He didn't seem to mind hamming for the camera too much!

Speaking of my engagement, my students' reactions cracked me up:

"I have some big news, everyone. I'm going to get married!" *Shows ring*

Silence and blank stares, then...

"Aren't you already married?"

Gotta love six year olds. After a few days the news started to sink in and I overheard students talking about it here and there. "Can you believe she's getting married?" and "I can't wait for her wedding!" Then the following week, a little sweetie came bounding into the classroom in the morning, big smile on her face, and presented me with a ring... in her words, "to match your other one."

Aaaand I fell that much more in love with my job! First graders bring joy to my heart. They are so open, trusting, and ready to engage in learning in a way that is almost infectious. I love the growth that you see at this age; at the beginning of every new school year, I'm always shocked by how much they still seem like kindergarteners, needing you to guide them through every step of the journey! I don't know what I'll do when it's time to leave Japan to start my next adventure... but for now, I'm happy to be giving my heart to my kiddos. 

Thank you for stopping by to check out my blog! I'm planning to post weekly updates about my classroom and all of the madness that goes along with being an elementary school teacher. In the meantime, I'll be getting ready to welcome Ernie the Elf, our classroom elf who visits every December! Some of my kiddos still need that extra practice with ways to make 10, so I just put together this holiday puzzle center that I'm planning to include in my winter holiday centers. Check it out in my TPT store, Little Owl's Teacher Treats! Maybe I should try making it through Thanksgiving first...

Thank you for visiting!

Instagram: @LittleOwlsTeacherTreats

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