Friday, March 13, 2009

"I got in!"

OK, well I didn't, but that's basically what teachers here have been hearing all morning. The teacher room has been a lively place today! Apparently our graduates just found out whether or not they got into university (yes, these guys have all graduated, but are back on campus IN uniform!). I don't remember if I explained this last year at this time, but students in Japan graduate from high school on March 1 (even if it falls on a Sunday!), find out whether or not they got in to university mid-March, and start university the first week of April. Quick turn-around, ne! They've been taking university entrance exams since the end of January, and from what I understand, they focus on one university. I've heard that if they don't get in to that uni, they wait a year to try again. No wonder the kids are so stressed here. It seems like when students take entrance exams for middle school*, high school, and uni, they pretty much put all their eggs in one basket. If they don't get in to the high school of their choice, they have to go to a private school (remember, high school - 10th-12th grade - isn't mandatory). My main school here is a high-level academic school, so the students come here because they want to get in to a good university. What's really nice is the fact that the students have a tradition of coming back to the school on March 13 to thank the teachers for helping them along the way.

*some middle schools also have entrance exams


Cara said...

Nothing like having to decide the direction of your life at age 14. Don't make the wrong choice - and you'd better get in to the school/uni!

Are the Japanese superstitious about Friday the 13th?

Tracey said...

Don't know about that Japanese superstition. They do have several "lucky" and "unlucky" days on the calendar, though. I think some (if not all) have to do with Buddha's birth/death anniversaries. My friend is a wedding planner here, and apparently if you choose an "unlucky" day for your wedding ceremony, you get a huge discount!