Have I mentioned Today How Much I Love My Students?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So today was spent a Yamada High. I had an extra few classes just because everyone wants to do Christmas stuff and that's always fun so I can't very well say no :)

One of the teachers asked me to teach her 2nd years. I hadn't taught those students since last year so I was pretty excited to work with them again and see how they had improved. They were equally happy to see me because it meant that they could play games and not do any book work. Fun was had by all in English! I thought that maybe I should bring some candy for the winners seeing as it's a holiday lesson and all but in then end I forgot. Really though, it didn't seem to matter much because it didn't need to motivate them. The idea that it was a free day was good enough!

And then, as I was racing out of the building on my lunch break to get some much need prep work done before I leave for Australia, a student stuck his head out the window and called me over. He actually thanked me for coming to his class. He said he had a really good time. I told him I had a really good time too.

It almost brings tears to my eyes.

What a mix of students and experiences!

This is one of the reasons why I'll probably stick around for a third year (^^)

I'd Rather Have Nothing

Monday, December 17, 2007

There is a Japanese trait that I both admire and hate. It is the concept of "what I need".

I remember reading about this sort of thing in one of my language books. A Japanese person and a gaijin walk up to a vending machine. There are two bottles of coke, one normal sized and one extra large. The extra large one is exactly the same price as the normal sized one. So the gaijin (probably from America) goes for the bigger one and the Japanese guy chooses the normal sized one. The gaijin says "Why did you choose that one? You get way more with the bigger one and the price is the same! It's a great deal!" and the Japanese guy replies, "Yeah but I don't need that much coke."

The American mentality is that regardless of if we need it or not, it's a better value and that's what's important to many of us. For the Japanese, in an exaggerated case, they would almost pay more for the smaller one because really, that's all they need and "もったいない" (don't be wasteful)

At first, I thought this was great. I thought it was a good way to live. It makes you a better person for not being wasteful because lord knows I can't drink a normal amount of coke and I'd probably have bought the bigger one too!

And that's all well and good until you get a bunch of (irritating) high school seniors and you try to give them FREE stuff.

I've talked about it before. At Oodochi high school I have a special Nina Dollar reward system. If the students do something right, they get various amounts of Nina Dollars as payment. I then collect them and put them into their Nina Bank Accounts (seriously). And at the end of the term, I hold an auction where they can buy things with their Nina Dollars.

Let me remind you of the obvious: These dollars have been accumulating for months and they're completely useless outside of my classes.


Today is the last day I'll see my Seniors forever. I like the third years. Just not the ones that I teach. I happen to teach the lower of the two levels (why, I'll never know) and this means that not only are they way below average but they're lazy on top of it. They have to try to get scores that low.

(Seriously guys, I'm not making this up. The school is closing because there aren't enough students to fill it. You have to be THAT SPECIAL to get in)

The last time I did an auction, I brought in some pretty junky stuff but still more than I had originally planned. I originally was just going to give them candy. But the Largo exchange group had given me all their extra gifts so I had plenty to auction off.

This time around, I had TONs of really cool things that I brought back from my August trip to the states! I had stickers and bags and candy and toys ! It was such a pain in the ass to get it here too! And it wasn't cheap either!!! And let me give you a hint, the school didn't pay for my excursion to America, they didn't pay for the stuff I'm giving away to my kids and they didn't pay the extra baggage charge when it was overweight.

and my students paid with Nina Dollars. Meaning that really, it was free for them.

Well. Do you know what their response was to me?

*unimpressed glares* ".....seriously? You want $15 Nina Dollars for that? Pshh.. I don't need it"

It wasn't even an "I don't need it, but thanks." It was just a flat out, "I don't want your junk Nina. Leave me alone, I'd like to put my head down until class is over."

At least in America the students would have grabbed for it just because it was free.

There are these bags that I'm trying to get rid of from the Largo group. They're the plastic "back packs" that have a draw string as both the opening to the bag and then they come down to make the straps for your arms. No one actually wants them regardless of if they're American, Japanese or from anywhere else, but I've seen many a time that people have grabbed for them just because they were being given away for free as a promotional item.

But still, my students turned their nose at them.

I could understand it when I did the auction the first time. I did actually have some junk. But I put a lot of effort and thought into this one.

I even gave one veeeeery special student an extra $5 just because he had $0 and I didn't want him to go empty handed. It wasn't hard to get these bucks either. They just needed to participate. And the students that fought me tooth and nail about that STILL got more than $5!!! But regardless, I'm pretty sure this kid walked away with nothing. He didn't even want the super cheap $5 candy that I had priced just for him.

*bitter rant begin*
You know, sometimes I just really hate those students for being such ungrateful brats. They have no idea that the only reason why the government pays for me to be here is to teach their sorry asses. What a waste of money. What a waste of my time.

Honestly, I applaud anyone who enjoys being a teacher and I give a standing ovation to anyone who's good at it. There are plenty of people who love teaching and are good at their job. I work with a number of them!

But I am not one of them. And I hope to all that is holy that I don't end up doing this for the rest of my life.

But hey it could be worse. I could be teaching middle school! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA...hmmmm

Freefalling from one event to the next until New Years!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thank god the JLPT is over!!! I can't promise anyone that I passed. Whenever I was practicing I always tallied the points wrong without realizing it so I was actually doing worse than I thought.

See, the test is broken into 3 parts. The first 2 I always do pretty well with but the last part, grammar and reading, I do so poorly in that it usually brings me down to just barely passing. What I didn't realize until the day of the test was that the third section is actually worth twice as much as the others. :P I think I did pretty well on those parts but we'll see when I get the results in February.

Now I'm in auto pilot as I bounce from one event to the next. This past Wednesday, without anytime to really recover from the test, I hosted an International Day at my school, 3 other ALTs from around the prefecture came over and we internationalized 20 of my students to their breaking point! Let's just say that Vegemite and PB&J are two snacks that Japanese students most certainly don't enjoy (for the most part) but the hip hop dancing was quite well received ;)

Tomorrow, I'll be off to the city to host a present exchange party for those of us who celebrate giving presents to friends around December. Saturday, I'll be volunteering at a Children's English Language Christmas Party but I'll be leaving early to go to a film festival which will be showing and judging movies that have been made by the people of the prefecture. The contest was to create a movie that represented Japan through the eyes of Kochi prefecture. Sunday will be spent making a ginger bread house with Wakako and the family and that'll then begin my next week where I'll be going through similar things all over again until I leave for Australia on the 21st.


But when do I get to breathe?!?!? As soon as I get back from Australia, I'll be hitting the ground running! With the new year comes the start of the Genki Musical!!! Stay tuned for the shenanigans which are sure to ensue ;)

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