School is back in full swing. I am getting used to have a regular schedule, school lunches, and biking in the rain.
I am teaching at four different schools, one middle school and four elementary schools.
Just to simplify things for everyone, here is my weekly schedule…
Monday-Gochuu (middle school) all day
Tuesday-Gochuu all day
Wednesday-Gochuu until noon then Chubu
Thursday-Gohon-Matsu all day
Friday-Gochuu until noon then Tobu
The middle school kids are by far my favorite, as are my co-workers there. I absolutely love the three English teachers I work with at Gochuu. Namiko, Taka and Keima (remember him, Hawaiian boy?! He has quite the plethora of nicknames now courtesy of me) have really made my experience what it is there. I got really, really lucky with my placement! We all get along quite swimmingly.
At Gochuu I team teach all of my lessons with one of the three teachers above. They mostly come up with the lesson and I am just there to be excited and add anything I can. I see each class once a week, effectively seeing all the students at the middle school in a week. And no I don’t know their names, there is no way. I am still trying to figure out what color shoes correspond to what grade, though I think I got it now. Also, in the middle school, the students don’t change classes the teachers do. There is a grade per floor.
The situation at the elementary schools is a little different. I pretty much go in and have the class to myself, most of the time. Every teacher is different, and no I don’t know their names either, teachers or students. If you’re wondering how I get by, I literally smile at everyone, seriously. Smiles for miles is a real thing. Some of the teachers completely step aside, others teach with me. The elementary school teachers vary in their English level, most speak a little, but this is where the little Japanese I do know comes into play big time. I also have to be careful to create lessons that I can explain in English only and with simple demonstrations.
What makes it tricky with the elementary schools, is that I won’t see each teacher each week. For example, at Chubuu I teach 5th grade only and there are five 5th grade classes. I am at Chubuu once a week and each time I teach 2 classes. It’s great because I can teach the same lesson 5 times and get REALLY good at it, though I have to be careful to take notes of what I did with each class so I don’t accidently repeat the lesson. Which is exactly what I did yesterday and felt terrible. The lesson was supposed to be another lesson on like/don’t like so it wasn’t that bad, but when I started to do the same game again, the teacher kindly told me in Japanese/English that we already did this game. I apologized profusely and she assured me it was ok, which I actually think it was, but I felt so bad. I promised her I would be ready next week!
Quite the production! We get about an hour for lunch and the meals are great! Hearty and amazingly balanced. Every lunch consists of whole milk, I just felt my mom cringe, I’m getting used to it. Then there is some type of fish or some sort of protein, and either bread or rice, the carbs alternate days, there is also a little dessert like fruit or yogurt. It is a ton of food and naptime afterward would be great, but no such luck. I eat with the teachers, but the students eat in their classrooms and each class has designated jobs and the kids get dressed in these little white hats and coats, so they look like little chefs. Then they put on those SARS masks and serve the food. Seeing the elementary school kids do this is just precious. Today I was at the elementary school all day and a little guy came into the teachers lounge in his get up to ask for another meatball. It was too cute.
|That's how wet I got with the rain gear,|
I may need to review how to get dressed.
I have to be the worlds worst biker. Seriously. And the whole occasional typhoon thing doesn’t help. I have waterproof black pants and a jacket that I wear over my clothes, but I still sometimes manage to get wet, I have yet to figure that one out. Keima and friends make fun of me when I show up to school, but I can’t blame them, I would make fun of me too. Especially because the pants were given to me by a guy so they’re pretty big to begin with, I look like quite the stud I must say.
|I look like some type of wet rat, |
and am clearly thrilled about it.
The staying on the left side of the road thing also throws me off, and the unbelievably narrow bike lane I still find ridiculous. The other day I noticed myself literally holding my breath for the majority of my 15 minute ride to Gochuu, haha, wow Kate wow.
Oh! I just applied to build houses in
over Christmas break. I’ll let you know how that goes! India
I think that’s all the big stuff for now. Hope you enjoyed it!