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In Japan School Janitors Simply Don’t Exist, Here’s Why

In Japan School Janitors Simply Don’t Exist, Here’s Why

In Japan, students don’t take exams until they reach the age of 10. Until that point, it is deemed more important for Japanese students to learn to live. They are taught how to live. They learn to take care of animals, to respect people, and to understand nature. Children are taught values like self-control, responsibility, and justice.

Why don’t Japanese schools hire school janitors?

As part of their education, children are taught to keep their surroundings clean. If everyone takes care of and respects shared space, everyone will be existing in a harmonious environment. It is believed that learning this mentality will teach children respect and responsibility. They will understand that cleaning is everybody’s responsibility. So students don’t see themselves as above such work; they help each other out during cleaning duties.

Children eat lunch at school, and they are responsible for bringing their garbage to the recycling zone and cleaning the table before they leave. Every milk box is collected to be recycled. Students also eat lunch in the classroom with their teacher, which creates a closer bond between student and teacher. At lunch time, the students are responsible for serving food to teachers; there are no lunch workers. Once lunch finishes, clean-up is so thorough, you won’t be able to tell that anyone had eaten there!

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Not only that, but many schools grow their own food and children are taught to cook easy and healthy meals. Again, it is not about the food. It is about education. This social approach to education helps students improve autonomy, responsibility, and encourages the development of a strong work ethic.

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    What are the long-term benefits?

    As stated before, teaching students the responsibility of cleaning up after themselves is great way to facilitate a culture where cleaning is right. Also, this action encourages mutual respect. They are taught to preserve a clean shared space, and become a team working to benefit each other. As they clean, children take the opportunity to chat with their friends, so it is not a boring task.

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    In fact, it’s not just about the activity of cleaning – It is not the action itself but the meaning behind the act. The same principle would apply if the children were told to paint the classroom, or to keep the grass pruned. The fact is that they are taught to work as a team in caring for their environment. When they grow older, these children will continue to respect and take care of the space around them. They’ll never forget this good habit. The cleaning task is just a tool to teach them a habit.

    As Michael Auslin, a former English teacher in Japan, said in a quote for NPR, “School is not just for learning from a book, It’s about learning how to become a member of society and taking responsibility for oneself”. The purpose of public school is to educate in all aspects, not just book-learning. They train them to live. In their future, no one is going to clean up after them, so they better learn to do it now.

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      Photo: Nishatha Bijeesh

      What can parents learn from this story?

      Children need to be educated. Education is not only a means to develop their intelligence, but to become a useful person. A human that cares about other human beings and nature. School time is a great period in our children’s lives. School is where they learn new skills, habits, and experiences so we should make this experience outstanding.

      As parents, we should take a minute to evaluate this method in instructing our children. We must understand that they need to be respectful, responsible and justice-oriented. There is no point in only improving their intelligence while undermining their humanity. Maybe we do not want to see our children cleaning and washing, but we surely want them to become well-rounded individuals. Remember that it is not the action, but the final result that is important.

      What do you think?

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      Featured photo credit: Koh Mui Fong via todayonline.com

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      Carlos Alberto Romay

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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