Start questioning the common sense - Everything is right and everything is wrong -
Since I have become a teacher, I have had two turning points that have changed my views on education, values, and life.
The first time was when I met someone. I was the high school baseball coach at the time, and I was always result-oriented. If a player made a mistake, I would get angry, and if we lost the game, I would get grumpy. If students played well, I would praise them, and if they won the game, I would be in a good mood. The practice menu was copied and pasted from the best schools’ baseball practice menus. I was satisfied with practicing for a long time until we all felt exhausted and now that I think about it I didn't seem to have given any reasonable guidance for students. All I cared about then was what the other teachers thought of me. "The baseball team is doing well," or "The students in the baseball team greeted us well.” were some of the positive evaluations I thought I had from other teachers on me. Then one day, an acquaintance of mine told me that there was a person who did not only teach baseball but also had values that were different from anyone I had ever met. I wanted to absorb anything new, so I was intrigued and decided to meet him. I remember I told my wife that this might be the opportunity to change my life, and I left the house (just to go to an izakaya - Japanese pub). After the conversation with the man, I walked home for two hours, even though I could have caught the last train home. The conversation with him made me think so many things I had never thought of before. "What is common sense?” For example, common sense in baseball, also known as theory, was created by whom, when, and how? Perhaps not one year or ten years ago, but baseball theories of about 100 years old or more remain the same today. Times have changed, and we have changed physically and even skeletally along with it, but I realized that I've always been swayed by 'common sense' that I don't know who made up when. When I started looking at things objectively, thinking that everything was right and everything was wrong, I felt like I could see the world more broadly. I also encountered the eternal theme of "for what” questions. It sounds great to say what I am doing is "for the students" or "for the school," but if I look back at what I had been doing, I realized it was mostly for myself and self-satisfaction.
The second turning point in my life came at the very time when I was trying to change myself. I was diagnosed with an incurable disease of unknown cause, and in January 2020, my condition worsened. I made the painful decision to have my entire colon removed, and it changed my way of life even more. It was the first time that I was forced to think so deeply about life. I began to think about my family, my work, my life, and many other things related to life, applying the question of the "for what purpose" to them. I started to think about what I have been living for and what I will live for.
When I look back at my past life, I think I was always concerned about how people would think of me and how I should behave based on my status as an adult, a public servant, and a P.E. teacher. I don't think I had the slightest intention to live my own life but had been living solely for not being disliked by others. I have found myself in the contradiction of educating younger generations who will be leading the society despite my naiveness and immature understanding of what society is even though I had worked as a substitute teacher and a full-time teacher after graduating from university. I realized I was satisfied with binding students with the small rules of the school community. It was not that I was dissatisfied with school education, but I felt ashamed of myself for not even questioning what I had been doing, and I thought I wanted to honestly apologize to my former students for imposing my values on them in the past.
Sometimes people’s freedom can be deprived by ‘common sense’ created by close human relationships and the certain images created by the media. It doesn’t mean that ‘common sense’ is bad or good. I believe looking at things from different angles and accepting diverse values can bring good opportunities for us to change the ‘sense’ for the better and to create something new.
My views on education and life have changed greatly by the encounter with a person of new values and by experiencing a serious illness that made me think about the meaning of life. However, I believe if you look around carefully, you will also find many opportunities to question your own ‘common sense’ in your daily life. It can be comfortable to take advantage of the social atmosphere and behave not to be criticized by others. However, if you have the courage and determination to take action to change yourself, you will encounter a "hook" that tells you to do so. I believe that questioning ‘common sense’ is the key to changing yourself and also the key to changing society. I believe that my "way of life" is to show my students how to discover a new self and challenge what no one else is doing. Now that I have stepped out of the ‘common sense' of the school and society, I can't stop being excited about a new life full of possibilities.