Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas Treats

Every year there are a few of my English classes that I feel the need to give a small gift to at Christmas time.  This year Christmas signalled the end of some of my classses and so I put in a little more effort than usual and played around with some different packaging etc.  I ended up making 3 different kinds of cookies and chocolate cupcakes to put in each pack. 
I always find it interesting and sometimes a little disheartening when I go to a lot of effort to make these kinds of things for children here.  The first time I usually get a big smile, sometimes a thank you (although often this has to be forced out of them) and often a comment from them the following week as to how it tasted.  The second time the smiles and thank yous diminish and comparisons are made with friends, complaints about why they got a green smartie, not a pink one, and the following week nothing is mentioned.  This was the third year in a row that I made things for one particular class and as predicted the gratitude diminished yet again, despite the extra effort that I had made.  I'm not sure if this is a universal thing, but the lack of gratitude sometimes really irks me.  I don't expect them to fall over backwards and proclaim me to be the best person in the whole wide world, but a simple thank you without having to ask for it would be nice.  Of course all my students aren't the same.  Some are extremely grateful and I will sometimes get a phone call from a parent or two, but in general these are in the minority.  I would be interested to hear from anyone who is not living in Japan as to whether this is becoming a world-wide phenomenon, or whether it is just limited to my tiny town.....
Fortunately for my students the lack of gratitude doesn't stop me making things though - probably because I have to test the food before I hand it out.  Wouldn't want them getting sick or anything!


  1. Wow! These look fantastic Jo and I'm very disappointed that more did not show their appreciation. Unfortunately I think it is a global trend.
    By the way, we loved Tokyo - shall fill you in further, once I have sorted some pics. Love Gill

  2. I was wondering something similar the other day about manners (if Oitan children are particularly rude or if kids everywhere are being taught fewer manners). A fellow ALT took a Bodhrán from Irland to a kindergarten and one of the kids punched a hole through it. No apology from the staff and no suggestion of contacting the kids parents to pay for it. After my first week here I stopped letting the kids touch anything I brought in to show them because they would rip, crumple and throw on the floor anything I let them hold. That behaviour would never have been tolerated when I was their age... and I feel old the second I say that phrase >.<

  3. Look at those delicious treats! My two boys would be besides themselves if they were to receive something as pretty and heartfelt as that from a teacher. And me too! : )

    And yes, that lack of gratitude or appreciation is pretty much the same attitude around here too. : ( It's a shame really.

  4. These are gorgeous!
    Not sure if it's due to the age difference but I've made a big effort these last two years to make Christmas presents for my students (Jr High School) since I work at only one small school here in Shimane. Nothing really elaborate (and I'm not allowed to give them food), but last year I made Christmas tree bookmarks with their names and this year I wrapped up erasers on a card with their names. Not only were the students thrilled to get them, but they use them in school. My kids seem extremely grateful for the things I make for them, certainly more grateful than students in the same age group in the US would be. Then again, they are Jr high kids so maybe that's the difference!

  5. I am so impressed by these Christmas treats! Yum!

    In our short time here, I have noticed some differences about expressing gratitude in Japan. Our neighbours occasionally bring by something they baked or a little toy for the children. My response is always being extremely happy, thankful, and exclaiming how wonderful the item is and how much we appreciate it. On the other hand, when I bring something by the neighbour's house, their response is to refuse the item a few times and then act really remorseful and say sorry and excuse me a hundred times.

    I wonder if there is a transition period for Japanese children where they are not sure if they should have a childish response to receiving a gift (gushing excitement) and an adult response (apologetic remorse)?

  6. Megan3:58 AM

    Jo your Christmas treats look AMAZING!!! I bet they tasted incredible too! Oh how I wish I had been there to help sample them!! I've had similar experiences back here at home! Rather than saying thank-you they more often than not just say 'only one? Can I have another one?? Grrrrr! Greedy kids!

  7. Anonymous10:53 PM

    Hi in my country teachers dont give treats. We buy gift to teacher usualy choklate or flower. When I was little we had Chrismas play in school. There was 2 or 3 plays music and bible reading. After that parents got coffee and we got juice there was also gingerbreads and plumtarts. It was a small school in countryside (tyrnävä Finland)Your treats looked really pretty. My daughter Paula 3years said nam nam. It means yammy. I wish I could make those. I´m sorry if this was hard to read my Enlish is not very good. Happy new year from finland I really like to read your blog.
    Sanna Parkkinen