Mistakes Were Made: No Go Seikou
Mistakes were made: No Go Seikou
My 7am alarm blared. I scrambled out of bed, full of eagerness to begin a fresh week of mentoring a new set of students. Every week started like this for me, except one thing was clearly different: it was Wednesday. Our team had decided to take on Seikou Gakuin’s rare Global English Camp dates, a school whose camp began on Wednesday and ended on Sunday rather than the normal Monday to Friday. This meant that rather than the usual five day camp with two sweet days respite, our team would get one extra long weekend and then proceed to teach 10 days in a row.
It was certainly a challenge, but one we were willing to take on.
My house, comprised of myself and two teammates, frantically gathered our things, preparing early for the one hour train ahead of us. Eventually, with all our backpacks packed (and triple checked, of course), we headed out into the hot and humid Tokyo day, a Global English Camp mentor’s worst enemy. We completed our usual ritual of complaining about the heat on our tiresome 8 minute walk, making sure to throw in at least one joke about frying an egg on the street before making it to the station. Upon arriving by the station, I sighed out a quiet tadaima as I spotted Lawson's, a convenience store. My sanctuary. My second home. My breakfast. The other mentors and I rushed in, eager to buy some precious onigiri (of course filled with Tuna Mayo) and then scarfed them down moments later.
The train ride was an hour commute with three transfers. It was no joke. It tested our patience, attention, and awareness. I could feel my legs giving in as we reached the final train, as there are never any seats available on the train (and when there are, you feel bad taking it from any potential old ladies swaying precariously in the aisle). Then, the final station came into sight. The train slowed to a careful stop and emerged into the station. We found the rest of our team waiting for us around the corner. It had been a week since we were last united - all of us were scattered across Japan from Fukouka to Okinawa, so we took some time to catch up and talk about our experiences. Now all that was left was to wait for school staff to greet us and provide escort to the school. And we waited.
We waited a little more.
We went to the 7/11 for lunch.
I could see the look of slight panic on our team leader’s face as she decided to make a call to investigate. She went over to the side as we continued to chatter. Moments later, with a look of disaster in her eyes, she rejoined us.
"So staff says we start Thursday,” she said with a slight laugh. “Not today, but that's ridiculous. I'm sure he's definitely wrong.”
We agreed - what a ridiculous notion that everyone amongst our team misunderstood that we started today rather than tomorrow. That would mean this school's week would intersect with our next week of teaching, which would respectively end and begin on Monday. Ridiculous we scoffed.
We decided to walk towards the school while the staff figured out their mistake, because obviously, we knew we were right. We walked for another eight minutes or so, winding through the streets towards the school on the hill. We came upon the next slope when our team leader received another call. We decided to wait in the shade while it was clarified, sure we would be meeting the students shortly, making jokes about what we would possibly be doing if it was cancelled. And in that moment, our team leader got off the phone. Even without using words, the "Disaster!" was palpable on her face.
School began Thursday.
Maybe we should have listened a little better.
Alex is a University of Michigan Alum who completed the Global English Camp in 2018. They are returning to Global English Camp 2019 and look forward to meeting you all!