What the hell does Kelly really do??
Trip Start Jul 23, 2005
72Trip End Jul 25, 2006
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The name of my main school is Futenma High School. It is a fairly large school right in the middle of a city- lots of other buildings around and busy streets and stuff. There are about 1000 students total and maybe 130 teachers. I have my own desk in the main teachers room, which when you are thinking desk- think half the size of what most of you are use to, and then cut that in half as well. It is a pretty crowded desk, but I cleaned it when I got here, so at least it is organized and I know where stuff is. My desk is in the desk group that is all Japanese teachers. There are about eight or six desks in a group, and I am the only English teacher in this desk pod, but some of the other English teachers are right next to me so it is ok. And the woman who is my desk buddy is really kind. She is always feeding me stuff and trying to help me feel welcome, she is always extremely happy when she sees me studying Japanese. I usually come to this school everyday except Thursday, when I go to a school for disabled students.
I have been in school for two weeks now, so I kind of have a routine. No- actually I am lying, I do different things everyday! There are just a few classes that I have seen twice, and we are starting to do different things in them, but mostly I am still doing introductions. I get a little bored of talking about myself and doing the same sentence thing- I write a random sentence on the bored and make them ask questions to find out what it means. They seem to like that pretty well though, and it is different with every class because sometimes they ask completely different questions. I have been switching up the introduction depending on the class and teacher, so it is going ok for the most part. Sorry- lets start from the beginning so you know what a typical day is like!
I wake up a little before seven, shower, eat a hardy breakfast (usually toast), watch the wonderful tv station I have AFN or listen to the radio. Then I go out to the bus stop. I usually try to get there five minutes early because you never know when the bus is coming, and there are cute kids waiting for the bus at that time. Most of the time there is one of my students on the bus, her name is Yurika, and she studied English in Tucson for one year, so she talks to me if we sit close.
When I get to school I am usually there about 30 minutes prior to the morning meeting, because I like to get stuff done before that. This is good and bad, mostly bad because I melt at my desk, but it is good too because I seem to have acquired many things to do, and I feel quite busy, which is of course good for me as it keeps me out of trouble, and I am not a happy camper when I am bored. So yes, the morning meeting occurs and they babble a lot of Japanese and I pretend to pay attention half the time and then read the paper the other half and ask my supervisor later what happened.
There are six class periods at Futenma, and I usually teach for three of them. I am teaching first year students and third year students most of the time. First year means the students are about 15 or 16, and third year students are mostly 18. I am amazed at the difference in classes. When I first came, I was like how am I ever going to be able to tell the kids apart and their age- it is getting easier. There are a few students that speak pretty good English, and they are writing in journals to me because I don`t necessarily have them in class, and they want to practice. I am actually remembering their names now-- there are five. It is really hard to remember the names, but I am much better at the faces I think. I can at least usually tell if they are my students or not. Today I played basketball with one of my classes later in the day, and I didn`t pass the ball to the wrong team, and I was really proud of myself. That could be because I got scared that I was going to do that so I just hogged the ball when I got it. Just kidding!
The first year students are so much more immature than the third year. You can take a guess at which ones I like better, but that also probably has to do with the class size. All of the first year classes are 40 students, and they are required to take the class. The third year classes are about 25 or less- which is awesome. Really I can`t complain about my school at all. There are a few classes that are a little noisier than I would like at times and it tries my patience (which you all know doesn `t take much- for some reason I didn`t get that gene from my mother!) Anyway, I really enjoy the third year students because some of them can actually make jokes, and I can pick on them and they get it- so those classes are fun. I teach with seven different JTE`s (Japanese English Teachers). I have 11 1st year English classes, and 7 3rd year Oral communication classes. Which I guess works out that I only see each class every other week. My schedule is pretty random right now, so it is kind of hard to explain. I have class at different times each day, but I have a schedule for the month so I know ahead of time (I got that on the first day of school).
When I am not teaching, I am talking to teachers, kids, or on the computer. Sometimes I am correcting papers, but not too often and I would really like that to stop because they are not my papers, and I am not a secretary. I am developing games or fun activities to do in class, or I am on the internet doing research, or reading what other people write on their blogs. Usually, I eat lunch with my supervisor, Mitsumi, her friends Heruna and Shoko in their office, which is smaller. But, I try to eat lunch with the rest of the teachers at least once a week because I don`t want them to think I am rude or don`t want to talk to any of them. Last week I was making a bringing my lunch, but this week I have been really lazy and I buy it. The lunch that you bring is called bentos and the teachers always love to see what I am eating if I have made it or brought it because it usually isn`t what they are eating. It is quite funny. They always shove Japanese food down my throat, and then wait for the reaction. I have tried all of this stuff like five times before already, I am not sure if they forgot, or they really enjoy doing it, but I usually comply with this as I don`t want to offend them. Miso soup is a very common thing to have for lunch, someone always wants to make that for me, it isn`t bad, I like it, but I don`t need it everyday! Ok well I have to run- that gives you a little better idea of what I actually do I think. I am paid to speak English, it is a little ridiculous when I think about it, but I absolutely love it.