pictures and thoughts from rural Japan
I get to teach at the preschool today.
Today’s lesson is colors. Going with my usual lesson plan for colors because it’s tried and tested and my firsties totally loved it. So excited.
My arm still hurts from this morning.
yes I’m whining
Medical exams over just fine. They did it right as I got to work, before class, so it was all good.
The funniest part was getting my blood taken.
I had to get my blood taken a lot when I was a kid thanks to high cholesterol, so I know how it works and what it feels like. I’m still not a fan though, and I won’t look at the needle as it goes in or really open my eyes. And when the needle goes in, I’ll usually talk my head off.
So I sat down and they swabbed the area, I’m all smiles and whatnot. “I might mumble a bit in English, sorry about that.”
Needle goes in.
“Oh god oh jeez oh god dammit fuck me ah god.”
The entire room bursts into laughter. When I asked why, they said “You were so cheerful and happy and then the moment it went in you totally changed!”
Still don’t like it, but at least it’s over.
We have medical examinations at school tomorrow. They’re gonna take blood and do a urine test, test our hearing and eyesight, and do an EEG or something like that where they put the sticky things on your body and check your heart.
why am I nervous
I just had a really great talk with my JTE.
I got a haircut this weekend in Tokyo. (Yes, this is part of the story). On top of that I had a great weekend that totally tired me out and helped me forget about the shitty penmanmate crap from last week.
I felt really pretty, and cute, and full of confidence.
So I did it.
"Here are the printouts. And, about that writing book…"
I told my JTE how it made me upset that she was teaching them the wrong way to write it.
She said it was one way to write it, but she told the students they could write other ways. She also said they would most likely do it whatever way they wanted in the end.
I asked her to compromise and let me give them a kindergarten writing worksheet, and she said that was okay. Victory!
She asked me to not react in front of the students and say the textbook is wrong, because they stop trusting what the textbook says. I agreed to that.
Then I asked her about showing me lesson plans before class. I told her the reason I reacted so strongly in class was because I didn’t know what was in the book or what we were going to do, because she doesn’t really tell me before class. It makes me sad and confused.
She said she doesn’t really have time to show me the lesson plans before class, because she does English teaching AND school secretary work that keeps her here until late at night. Basically, deal with it.
I asked her about giving me more things to do in the classroom. She said that she’s lucky that she gets to have an ALT in the classroom every day, versus her 18 years at another school, where she got them once a week. Because of this there’s sometimes nothing for me to really do, but she’s still happy I can come in and interact with the kids. I agreed with her on that.
I asked her if she could use more English in the class. She says she’s going to with the new first years, because they’re really capable at English (go me!) and are excited about it. But she probably won’t for the second and third years, because they ‘can’t’. When I asked her about that, she said that if we used ‘high level’ English with them, they might start disliking English more and feel bad about themselves.
I told her that she could at least do a few little things in English, like saying “good morning” instead of “ohayo gozaimasu”, since they all know that, and it might make them feel better. I told her about my background in educational psychology, and she kind of nodded. We’ll see if she changes at all.
I feel a lot better about things now, though I kind of just have to deal with it. Understanding why she does things the way she does is a lot better than assuming she’s a ‘shit teacher’ or ‘doesn’t like me’.
I mean, in the end, we’re all people and we have tons of stuff going on. Nobody’s really that petty or evil.
I’m still not really satisfied, but I guess I’m going to have to deal with it.
And at least now I know that talking to my JTE isn’t going to cause the world to drop out beneath me.
Kouchou-sensei: “I’m sorry to give you all this extra work with the preschool. Thanks for taking it on!”
Me: “OH NO I LOVE WORKING AND I LOVE THE KIDS IT’S TOTALLY FINE, DON’T EVEN WORRY ABOUT IT I LOVE IT!
AND I CAN GET OUT OF HERE!”