Mr O'Brien, recently returned from his own teacher exchange to Shizuoka Salesio, interviews Mr Akihiro Shimomura for our newsletter:
You have been in Australia for almost two weeks. Initial impressions?
It’s is so cold, but beautiful nature. Everyone is friendly and have been very kind to me.
Best thing so far?
The students at Dominic. Every morning I am learning ‘Australian’, from the students in Years 3 and 4. They are teaching me AFL.
What classes are you attending?
Japanese and Music. I have also been going to Taiko Drumming, and I am playing with the school band.
Are Australian students different to Japanese students?
Australian students are very responsive. K-6 students patiently wait with raised their hands when they want to ask me questions. Students in Years 7-10 have much choice in their subjects.
What are the differences between school in Japan and Australia you have noticed so far?
Dominic has huge grounds with many play spaces for children. At my school in Japan, students stay inside most of the time. In Japan teachers decide what do and when and what to play. The school day in Australia is short. Our students start at 7.30am and school finishes at 6pm. Classes run Monday to Saturday.
How are you finding the food here?
The food is good. Good steak! I have had no trouble and I can make perfect Japanese rice!
This morning was 3 degrees. How are you coping with the change from summer in Japan with 30 degrees and high humidity, to winter and 3 degrees plus wind chill?
I can’t go outside until I have several layers of clothing on. I want to stay in bed, where it is warm!
What is your specialist teaching area?
I am a music teacher. I am also a professional saxophone player.
What is your position at Shizuoka Salesio and how long have you worked there?
I am the coordinator of the International Baccalaureate for the Middle School. I have been at Shizuoka Salesio since I started teaching 16 years ago.
Where did you go to university?
Have you ventured anywhere as a tourist in Tasmania yet?
I went to Mt Wellington last weekend. I have never felt so cold. I have also been to Port Arthur. And Woolworths at Moonah.
What are you looking forward to at the moment?
I am looking forward to the Dominic Music trip to Brisbane.
We will be checking in with Akihiro regularly as he learns about education in Australia and life at Dominic College.
Mr Mike O’Brien - Director of Creative Arts K-10