Monday, November 28, 2011

School Cleaning

In Japanese schools, the students participate in a lot of activities and jobs that would, in America, usually be handled by trained professionals or employees. In particular, I am refering to the jobs of cleaning and serving food.

I have already discussed the nature of school lunches in a previous post. Students eat in their classrooms--there is no cafeteria--and serve their own food. Students are put in charge of obtaining the food, delivering the food, serving the food, and disposing of leftovers. Did I mention the students are also responsible for cleaning most of the school?

There are designated times between classes when every student is required to pick up a broom or grab a dust rag and clean as many surfaces as they can. The majority of Japanese schools do not employ janitors for the simple reason of teaching their students useful life skills. One could argue that if Americans spent some time cleaning and serving in school, they wouldn't grow up to be such terrible customers.

Anyway, students clean the blackboard, toss trash, sweep the floors, and even do the dishes in the teachers' room! If I leave a stray coffee cup on my desk, they will snatch it up with their talons and wash that sucker! Much of this relates to building a community and relationships with fellow students, sharing a similar work ethic. I like this quote:

"Education is not only teaching subjects but also cooperation with others, ethics, a sense of responsibility, and public morality. Doing chores contributes to this."