Interesting Day in the Schools

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Let's see, yesterday, I literally sat at my desk all day reading a book(I practically started it that day and I finished before my time at Odochi was complete). I studied a little bit of Japanese and sent a few emails. The classes were canceled because they were testing all day. However, I came because they wanted me to do the English club at the end of the day. Interesting thing though, the one girl who is in the English club didn't come to school. In fact, my main JTE skipped the one class I was supposed to teach with her so that she could go to this girl's house and figure out what was going on!

Let's back up a little. I found out yesterday that Mutsumi (only English club girl) doesn't live at home with her parents. Her family lives in Kochi city and it takes too much time to go from the city to school everyday (I think it's close to impossible to make it on time by taking public transportation…unless she took the 6-something train in the morning and then the bus after…everyday, that would be a ridiculously long day, waking up before 5 and not getting home untill after 7 or 8) So instead, she lives in a boarding house across from the school. My JTE actually went to her place, knocked on the door and when she didn't answer, she actually took out her teacher's key and unlocked the door!

I have no idea what went on but Mutsumi still refused to talk but slipped a note to my JTE that said she was fine…. I know, the story doesn't make any sense to me either.

So my JTE told me that club was cancelled so I made other plans. Then, close to the end of the afternoon, Mutsumi shows up and wants to do the club. Nope, sorry kid, I'm using my get out of jail free card, you lose.

Before I could even ask my JTE if this kind of behavior was normal, she piped in and said that it was.

What? This is normal behavior?

Apparently, Mutsumi has her good days and her bad days. Sometimes she just doesn't come to school if she's having a bad day and I suppose it's the teacher's responsibility to take care of her since she's not living at home. I have no idea.

However, on a lighter side of things:

Who saw this coming!?!?! I saw some of my kids in the hall (still at Odochi) and we actually smiled and hugged as we passed. Totally brightened up my day :)

Today at Tosayamada, it was another good day. (It's getting colder, it's not supposed to be getting happier, but I'm not complaining!) It's Thursday so I was supposed to have my advanced classes.

I did in fact have my third year advanced class where I sat and chatted with the students about different things (I can't believe I get paid to have conversations sometimes. Nice) after that I had a first year class, which went really really well! I thought for sure that the assignment would only take a short amount of time but for whatever reason the Japanese School Gods were shining down on me and the kids and I had a good time fooling around while actually doing the assignment.

In case you're curious as to what the assignment was, it was based around the topic of grocery shopping so the first thing I did was play a game with the students were I described something in the grocery store and they have to say it in English.

1. It is a fruit, it is round and red. Apple
2. It is a drink, it's white, and comes from a cow. CALPIS!

Next, I asked the students if all these items were together in a grocery store. At first, they thought I was talking about cooking these foods together but because I understood what they were saying in Japanese, I was able to correct them in English without the teachers help.

No no, not cooking them together, are they together in the same section of the store?

Oh, no they're not.

Nope, they have they're own sections and these sections have names!

So I then described the different sections and handed out a worksheet that had a picture of a grocery store with empty shelves and a big list of different items that should go on them. The students actually had a pretty good time figuring out what half the foods were and putting them in the correct sections. It's not difficult and by this stage the students should have been able to do this in middle school but I can understand their lack of studying and their forgetfulness. Eh, they're only 10th graders.

Man this laid back attitude is totally helping my outlook on time these days.

After all that, I was off to my final advanced class. This class I was really looking forward to because not only had I made a kick ass assignment with a TV guide but I also got to tell them that they were going to get some pen pals from America sometime soon (more on that later).

However, before the class I had some problems with the copier and I ended up with only 19 copies of the TV guide. There are exactly 19 students and I like to have at least two extra so I asked my JTE for that class if he thought all the students would be there. He said probably. So as we were walking to class together he repeated how he knew that all the students would be there because they chose this as an elective class and they really enjoyed doing it. As soon as he completed the sentence and it was still hanging in the air, we walked into the classroom to find it completely deserted.

A tumbleweed could have blown by and it would have only made the moment better.

It turns out, he forgot that they all had a meeting to go to in the gym. So no elective class today. No worries, I'll use the assignment next week ;)

Good times

So yeah, there are three big things that I'm really really looking forward to (besides winter break which I have no plans for except chill at Kae's place and stay warm)

1. Thanksgiving. I can't wait. It's going to be a total mess! There are 13 1/2 (one is only 1yr old) definitely and a possibility of 19 people all together. Woo!!!

2. International day. I am making it Christmas themed since it'll be in the second week of December. We are going to make cinnamon stick ornaments, smores, Christmas cards, and ginger bread houses. Gawd I can't wait!!!

3. Pen pals. Not quite as exciting as the other two (mostly because there's no food) but I think the students are going to find them super interesting and as of right now I'm only doing it with my elective second year class but I might extend it to my English club and advanced third year class. It just depends on how many letters I get from Largo High School. I have no idea when this will happen but I have hopes it'll be before the end of January.

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