Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Be careful what you wish for...

I've been busy...

You hear that phrase so often from friends and co-workers that it almost doesn't mean that much anymore.

But I really have been busy... :)

Just a week ago I was a little upset that I wasn't being asked to many "regular" classes at my Jr High. I was mostly being used in the optional (sentaku) English class and for the two classes with our special needs kids.

And then just yesterday, I was asked to teach 6 classes - every period of the day. And it was a unique situation in that I taught at every strata of my responsibilities. I started off the day at my closest elementary school - Taisha Sho - teaching two classes, 1st and 2nd period, of 2nd graders. It was an easy lesson reviewing the numbers from 1-10 and playing games. At elementary school here, they give the kids an extended break between 2nd and 3rd period - recess - and that allowed me to get back to my Jr High in time to teach 3rd period.

3rd period I had Optional-A class, or sentaku eigo, for my 9th graders. It's actually two classes happening at the same time, since about 45 kids signed up - so they split it into two. So I often get asked to divide my time and spend half of the class with one group and the other with the 2nd group. So 3rd period I did a weather game in one class and a boggle game in another.

Then 4th period I had 8th graders, where I'm helping to teach them the concept of "most" and "best." As in "Baseball is the MOST popular sport in Japan" and "I like vanilla ice cream the best." So we did some review and I came up with an interview game that the kids seemed to enjoy.

Then it was lunch, which was fish, which meant that I ate only rice and drank some milk. There was a "milk scare" recently and for about 10 days we got other things to drink, like yogurt, and apple juice, but now they're back to milk.

After lunch I hung out with some of my cool 9th graders and then it was cleaning time. After that it was 2pm and time for 5th period.

5th period was a class of 7th graders, who are learning to use "can" in sentences. So again I came up with an interview game where they went around the room and asked their classmates - "Can you ride a bike?" "Yes, I can." "No, I can't." and so on.

After that it was time for my Winter Vacation quiz. I showed slides of my trip home to San Diego and talked about where I went and what I did, and then tested how well the kids listened by giving them a short T/F quiz. I've done this quiz a bunch of times by now, and I think this is probably the last class where I'll do it.

And finally it was 6th period and time for my "San San" class. "San San" is the name at my school for a small class with kids who are developmentally disabled & therefore, behind the other kids in learning. We did a little easy phonics work followed by a review of the names for drinks, and then some easy math (in English) and then with the help of the JTE, I attempted to teach them how to play the card game "Gin." There are 4 kids in the class, but this period was only the two 7th graders, so it worked out ok.

Then I had to hang around after school to discuss lesson plans for Friday and to talk to the teacher in charge of the farewell ceremony for the soon-to-graduate 9th graders. I want to show a slideshow of some of my many pictures of the 9th grade class and we decided I could have about 6 minutes during the ceremony to show pictures. I'm going to try and use my trusty Apple iBook to put the pics and titles cards into a movie that will include transitions and music - it'll be my little project for the nest two weekends.

I headed home about 5pm, still way before most teachers leave, but satisfied that I'd put in a good day of work.

So after feeling like I wasn't being utilized as much as I'd like, I had a day where I taught elementary kids, 7th graders, 8th graders, 9th graders and special needs kids. When it rains it pours. (But, literally, not here recently - we've been having great weather, even though it did snow once last week - the first time it's snowed this winter since I returned from America)

Today, there was no school at my Jr High since we'll be having classes on Saturday this week instead. On Saturday, the local 6th graders will visit Taisha Chu and see what life in Jr High is like. But I went to school today anyway - I decided to observe classes at my elementary school and I spent 1-4 periods with my 6th graders at Taisha Sho. It was interesting to join them for "Peer Support" class and Japanese lessons.

Today was a good day since I got my hair cut with my free time after lunch. I needed a hair cut badly. I pay about 3400yen, or about $30 for my haircut and shampoo - a little more than I would pay in the States. But it's worth it - you get a little head massage and the women at my local salon are super friendly. And as is standard in all parts of Japan, you don't have to tip. But I brought the woman that cuts my hair - Fumiko - some Jelly Beans from America as a gift (omiyage) and she seemed happy.

I also made a trip to the post office and picked up a package my parents sent full of great stuff I couldn't bring in my over-stuffed suitcases when I came back from America. Thanks for the Mac n Cheese!!!!

I should mention that my parents are now reading this blog - I helped them buy a new computer - a new iMac of course - at Christmas - and I made sure to bookmark my blog so they would start reading it. They always claimed to have trouble accessing it before when they lived in England, but now they have no excuses. :)

OK - this post has rambled on too long... But I will try and not be so busy soon and add more pics and videos soon.

Hope all is well with you.

-Jason

1 comment:

Emily Watkins said...

Milk scare?