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Amparo Bertram

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09:26 pm: How to Be a Japanese Schoolgirl
I haven't posted much this week because...well, I haven't done much.

I've been using all of my free time at work to pick apart the seams of the used kimono and obi that I bought at the flea market. It takes hours for each one, and I have a LOT. After a week of this, I have several stacks of pretty fabric that I can now turn into other things...once it gets warm enough to use my sewing room again.

The picture on the right was handed out to the students to show them how to wear their uniform properly. The words with the little arrows are mainly describing the allowed colors/lengths of each item. They're doing another uniform-check because graduation is coming up, and the girls must all wear their uniforms properly for the ceremony.

Graduation will be March 1st. After that, the remaining students all start their final exams.

I was shown my proposed courseload for the next school year, and I about had a fit at the first version. It had me down for 21 hours PLUS a solo workshop PLUS an hour with the exchange student every week, for a 23-hour teaching schedule. This may not seem like a lot, until you consider that the Japanese teachers expect to average 16 hours per week.

I proposed that next year's second-year student Listening class not be split in half. For one thing, there are only 30 students in the class, which is not much larger than the largest of my split classes this year (which has 26 students). For another, five of them will be leaving to be exchange students, bringing the class size down to 25. There's no point in dividing that in half. The head of the English department agreed, which cut two hours from my schedule. (YAY!)

Then one of my team teachers pointed out that she'd like to do the same synchronized teaching approach with the third-years that she did this year, which combines two of the half-classes into one big class once a week for group work (such as making skits). That cut another hour from my schedule, making it 20, the same as this year. (...And, since I'm no longer teaching first-year students, about 2/3 of those hours will be seniors. That means that next year, after the seniors are done, I'll be down to 1/3 of my schedule rather than 1/2 as I was this year.)

One other bonus is that the head of the English department asked me my opinion of the Listening textbook, so I told him it was too hard for the students. I'm sure that's part of what contributed to them zoning out during the class. So he showed me the textbook they used to use, and it looked MUCH better. I don't know why they ever switched. Hopefully the combination of the new textbook, smaller class size, and holding the class in the seminar room rather than the computer room will make next year's Listening class more effective.

This weekend I didn't do much other than sit in front of the computer. I had intended to go out and run errands today, but the weather was a howling storm outside, so I gave up on that plan. At least it warmed up enough that I could turn off my heater for a long time.

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[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:February 26th, 2006 09:14 am (UTC)
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Clarity is so important. You know, even though we don't have a uniform, we still have a dress code. It is difficult to enforce because there are no clear-cut lengths and colors. This year the big push was to get the kids to pull up their pants so underwear wasn't showing and the crotch didn't hang around the knees. The principal literally handed out rope/string to use as a belt to keep the pants up. But that was only one of the matters that needed attention. Somehow I think the schools with uniforms have a good thing going.

Congratulations on getting the course load to 20 hours...wish it could have been 16, like the others. I'm surprised about the solo workshop. I thought that was strictly forbidden, and that each time it happened it was an exception due to some kind of unforeseen event.

I really hope the listening class goes well.

Congratulations on getting the kimono and obi pieces separated. What a good use of your desk time.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:February 26th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
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Somehow I think the schools with uniforms have a good thing going.

The students at Japanese schools just can't figure out why anyone would NOT want to wear a uniform. They don't want to have to spend time in the morning deciding what to wear.

...Now, if only Japan would advance enough to let the girls wear pants as part of the uniform... I mention this every winter. The female teachers all agree with me. The male teachers are like, "But that's not attractive/fashionable." (Oh? And you think it's attractive/fashionable that they're forced to wear gym pants under their skirts so they don't freeze?)

I thought that was strictly forbidden, and that each time it happened it was an exception due to some kind of unforeseen event.

This workshop thing is a new requirement that was just instituted for the school last April. The problem is, the teachers responsible for homerooms (4 out of 7) don't want the extra workload, and there aren't enough English teachers left over to teach all the sections.

What a good use of your desk time.

I think so. The other teachers are intrigued, too, and they want to see whatever I make from the material.
[User Picture]
From:mvrdrk
Date:February 27th, 2006 08:44 am (UTC)
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I've been using all of my free time at work to pick apart the seams of the used kimono and obi that I bought at the flea market.

I'm in awe and admiration at your feat. I'd have taken a rotary cutter to the seams so fast ...
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:February 28th, 2006 03:56 am (UTC)
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I'd have taken a rotary cutter to the seams so fast ...

I might have attempted that, except a number of them are made from delicate silk, and I didn't want to risk damaging it by accident. ^_^;
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