Upper school students and faculty alike gave a warm Harker welcome to visiting exchange teacher Michiko Takahashi, who works as a music instructor at Tamagawa Gakuen, Harker’s sister school in Tokyo, Japan.
During her Jan. 5-18 visit, Takahashi taught Japanese music and observed classes in the upper school’s performing arts department.
“Michiko told me that she had such a wonderful time. She was very impressed with our students and said they seemed to have a lot of direction for what they wanted to do. She definitely had a very special time getting to know our performing arts students and teachers,” recalled Jennifer Walrod, director of the school’s rich global education program, of which Tamagawa Gakuen plays an integral role.
Tamagawa Gakuen is a K-12 school and university founded in 1929 as an elementary education organization. Later secondary education divisions were added, and in 1947 Tamagawa University received approval for establishment as an “old system” (pre-war) university. As a comprehensive institution (gakuen), they currently provide education from kindergarten to graduate school within a single campus.
Although Takahashi does not speak English, she was made to feel at home at Harker, thanks to the efforts of several Japanese-speaking faculty members who offered to serve as interpreters, joining her for meals and serving as friendly faces around campus.
And, from the moment Susan Nace, upper school music teacher, picked Takahashi up from the San Francisco airport, it was a whirlwind of activity. After a weekend of sightseeing, Takahashi began her time at Harker with a tour of the Saratoga campus, followed by a study of the upper school’s music and acting programs.
Other highlights of her visit included lunch with the administration, time spent teaching Japanese classes, a visit with the college counseling department, observing both musical and Shakespeare performances, and enjoying a farewell party with performing arts teachers.
For many years, the teacher exchange program between Tamagawa and Harker has been an important complement to the school’s successful student exchange program.