Classroom Japanese: Gekou

下校 (げこう/gekou) Going home from school. 

Yeah. There’s a special word for going home from school. This is how the dismissal bell is marked on most schedules and what some of my students answered was their favorite part of school during an activity last year. Honestly, I can’t blame them for that last one. I probably would have answered the same way when I was a kid.

Four years ago one of my schools turned gekou into a formal affair after a kid walking home from school got hit by a car and broke his leg. Kids had to organize into specific neighborhood groups and walk together with upperclassmen holding flags to guide underclassmen across the street. It was a strange sight, but no more kids got hit by cars so we couldn’t complain.

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