Tonight I'm baking chocolate chip cookies. My Japanese oven is tiny and can only fit one small cookie sheet at a time. The warms of the oven will help my little kitchen with no insulation feel more homie against the cold that seeps in through the little gaps and nooks where the doors and window in my apartment. Tomorrow those cookies will be like a badge of honor for the 6 students in my pottery class. A reward for finishing the dirty, dusty job of deep cleaning the whole studio and wedging as much of the reclain bucket's wet clay as they can possibly complete in 2 50 minute periods. A prize for being the class has been my reason for loving Fridays. Their energy, patience, and willingness to put up with a non Japanese speaking art teacher-ish guy, trying desperately to share his passion for wheel thrown potter was simply FANTASTIC! Some of them progressed far beyond I progressed in my first course of ceramics. Some of them just learned that pottery isn't their favorite form of expression, but those students never let their struggles disrupt class or dishearten them. They just kept trying over and over again, still blew me away at the school assembly by thanking me infront of the whole school. Yep. . . they got me. In front of the whole student and teacher body they thanked me (IN PERFECT ENGLISH!), and the little jerks made me cry. They even all worked together to make me a tiny, heavy, overly glazed plate that firmly demonstrates many of the things I told them not to do when making pottery, BUT IT'S TOTALLY MY NEW FAVORITE PLATE!
So tonight I will post some pictures of a few peices from the last firing, and I'll stay up late baking their cookies. I'll spend all day tomorrow wondering how to adiquatley tell them that they've been some of the best kids I've worked with. I worry that I won't be able to adiquately thank them for being the great kids they are. I have taught these kids for 3 years now, and after next week they won't come to school again until graduation day on March 1st. I doubt they'll ever find and read this, but just in case.
You guys have been a real blast! Your spirits are like an unquenchable fire, and it burns brightest when you laugh and smile. I've watched you grow up (though there is always more growing to go) and lay the foundations of really good basic potting skills. You always push me to learn more Japanese, and think of more ways to communicate. You were my wonderful ever willing testing ground! You make me remember why laughter in the classroom is paramount, and why sometimes lesson plans are there to drop like an ugly off centered, bone dry coffee mug you just trimmed through the bottom of, and just go where the wheel takes you. Thank you for an excellent year! I hope you keep creating and expressing yourself in any way possible! You're the best.
we'll see you next week folks.