Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Plugging along

Moment of the Day: I took my first hot shower since I moved into my apartment.

Notable because a) it involved two different repairmen, a landlady, and a fellow teacher trying to figure out why my water wasn't hot in the first place and b) it means it's cooled off enough to warrant actual hot water in the shower. Good news all around!

I am technically on Autumn Break right now, but of course, being that I'm in Japan and things don't always make sense, I have to go to school tomorrow and Friday. I'm hoping that I just have to stamp in, sit there for an hour or two and then disappear when everyone else does. If, heaven forbid, I have to stay all day, I will literally take a nap at my desk to make a point. I was hoping to make another trip to the beach or down to Naha for some shopping. Absolutely a pointless waste of my time. I'd much rather have classes than sit at my desk all day doing nothing.

Speaking of classes, I've had some success this week with trying to teach English, which apparently is what I'm getting paid to do. I watched some classes this week ("open classes"/observations with the principal and vice-principals and every other teacher free) and most of the teachers did not speak English the entire time. And not one of the students was forced to say a sentence in English. How is this going to work? So, in my classes, I tell the teachers that I want to practice the dialogue. They expect me just to want to play a game with them. (And only about 5 students would participate) Instead, I get crazy (channeling Ken's energy at school) and in their face and make them do the different practices in the textbook. Each and everyone one of them. I wake up students. I go around the room twice. They hear me saying it at least 50 times. Then I start asking questions in English that are random and offer stickers to anyone "brave" enough to take my questions. They will do anything for a sticker. In conclusion, students who previously were not speaking one single sentence of English in class are now speaking at least 12. Mind you, they're cheesy lines from the book, but it's a start. Of course, some classes don't give me this freedom and other classes have excellent teachers and we are able to do more fun activities.

Quote of the Day (in broken English with some aid from another student): "Why haven't you been to Mr. Donut lately?"

I like to go to Mr. Donut on Saturday or Sunday morning in order to enjoy a donut and a cafe au lait. I didn't realize when I first started going that the girl who was always there is one of my students. I had her in class for the first time and after my self-introduction, I asked if there were any questions. Hence, the above quote. I missed a couple of weekends being out of town. I will definitely have to make an appearance on Saturday. Also, all of the check-out girls at the 24 hour supermarket down the road from me are some of my friendly students. They get excited when I show up with a box of granola and some pumpkin tempura in my hand. Cute.

Also, Ken's increasing vocabulary has inspired me to also try to learn more words at a more rapid pace. Once in awhile I throw in a Japanese word that no one expects. I love to throw them for a loop. I was getting my lunch (bringing your own lunch! *horrors!*) out of the refrigerator and the vice-principal was sitting in the room. He doesn't speak any English and as I grabbed my bag, I said simply, "Hirugohan (lunch)." I think we had a moment.


Brooke said...

Is there a Mrs. Donut?

Carly said...

Reading your blog makes me think of the book I read, "Cockeyed". Ryan (the blind guy who wrote the memoir), taught English in Korea. The students got to pick English names... so there were Meg Ryan 1, 2 and 3, a couple BatMans and a pair of friends named Shampoo and Conditioner. Haha. I almost scanned the chapter and sent it to you.