Believe it or not, in Japan, students are the ones cleaning their own schools!
There’s a long tradition in Japan of having students take responsibility for keeping their schools clean. “School is not just for learning from a book,” explains Michael Auslin, a former English teacher in Japan. “It’s about learning to become a member of society and taking responsibility for oneself.”
To make cleaning classrooms easier, Japanese students wear slippers to prevent tracking in dirt. Every day, students sweep, mop, take out trash, and tidy up their classrooms and hallways.
Having students do the cleaning teaches them to respect their environment since they’re the ones responsible for maintaining it. It also builds character and responsibility.
The cleaning duties rotate so no one gets stuck with the toughest jobs. And with peer pressure, students make sure things stay neat.
This practice may seem surprising to Americans. But in Japan, cleaning the school is just part of the students’ daily routine and education. As Auslin says, “School is not just for learning from a book.”
It’s a different cultural attitude that values teaching children hands-on responsibility and how to contribute to society at an early age.
So while American janitors may be out of a job, in Japan, the students roll up their sleeves and grab the mops. Cleaning is just part of the learning experience!