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Amparo Bertram

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07:30 pm: I guess knowing where things are is overrated...?
I managed to locate the refrigerator and microwave today.
  • The refrigerator is in the copy room.
  • The microwave is in the computer room, tucked behind the coffee maker.

    Yesterday, after the opening ceremony, one of the teachers asked if I could give the new exchange student a tour of the school. I was like, how? No one ever gave *me* a tour of the school. At that point, I only knew how to find the faculty room, the guidance office, and the language lab. (I had to follow the students to locate the gym for the ceremony.)

    Today went all right. One of the teachers apparently isn't very comfortable with English, because he kept giving me quiet hints to read things aloud or call on students and ask them for answers, and then he would explain everything in Japanese. Now, I'm accustomed to having the things I say translated into Japanese for the students, but I don't think I've ever before had a team teacher completely unwilling to call on anyone. During one class, when the lesson consisted of a two-page reading marked with vocabulary words, he again told me to ask the students questions. I was stumped. "What questions?" It wasn't a textbook with comprehension questions listed or anything. I asked him to please do one or two questions first, as an example, so that I would have a clue what he wanted. Yet he refused to do even that, he just repeated, "Ask them questions about each sentence." I had to make up what I considered decent comprehension questions and hope that was what I was supposed to be doing.

    One of the classes of third-year students only has 11 students, and the team teacher for that one agreed with my suggestion to make sure each student gets a chance to engage in little small talk at the beginning of each class, with feedback given. This is something I did in Matsunoyama when we had a small class, and though the students were embarrassed even to speak at first, by the end of the year they were answering sophisticated questions and holding a conversation for a good period of time. I hope it goes well here. The girls were a bit shy and giggly, but they managed to speak up, and they seemed to have positive attitudes.

    The largest class (the ones who are *not* in the 11 student class) consists of 27 students. I will have them five times a week, I believe (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and twice on Friday with two separate teachers). I have been trying to think up activities to enhance the textbook lessons and let them put their English to work. So far what I've come up with is cutting pictures from a magazine (actually, the TV guide, since I buy it anyway) and having them use the lesson's grammar point to describe the picture. We'll see if I can come up with any other methods.

    One of the Friday classes is supposedly dedicated to games/songs/movies, while the other is Active Listening. The Active Listening teacher grabbed me just as I was about ready to walk out the door at 5 and asked what we should do for tomorrow's lesson. (Well, at least he asked me in advance...) He had apparently just started them on a new textbook, but it's about Britain, plus he thinks it's boring, so he wanted me to come up with something else for them. I went through my MAC process of asking, "What do you intend for them to be able to do?" to coax out the response that he wants them to be able to state their opinions about things. So I spent about fifteen minutes discussing different potential topics and information/rules that the students might need in order to debate the topics intelligently. He seemed to hope he could talk about it further with me tomorrow, but sorry, my schedule is completely booked. Thus, he's going to have to corner me when I arrive in the morning before classes start.

    The English club met today to decide upon what they will be doing for the school's Culture Festival. They will be selling crepes, they decided, and this entails making up tickets that they can sell in advance so they know how many to make. I was asked to go with them to buy the supplies when the time gets closer...at first I was asked to do it on the 19th (a Sunday, which by the way is in the middle of a three-day weekend that I will be spending in Chiba), but I protested that it was a holiday, so it was switched to the 16th or 17th.

    Whew. I'm quite ready for the weekend already, and I've only actually worked two days.

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  • Comments

    [User Picture]
    From:wednesday_10_00
    Date:September 2nd, 2004 05:34 am (UTC)

    At last, a use for the TV guides!

    (Link)
    They will be selling crepes, they decided
    They're making...English crepes...?
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:September 2nd, 2004 04:05 pm (UTC)

    Re: At last, a use for the TV guides!

    (Link)
    That puzzled me at first, too, but it seems the festival activity has nothing to do with the nature of the club.

    They did, however, write "Sept." on the tickets. That's something.
    [User Picture]
    From:wednesday_10_00
    Date:September 2nd, 2004 05:41 pm (UTC)

    Re: At last, a use for the TV guides!

    (Link)
    You should advise them to do all their selling in English. That would really be funny.
    [User Picture]
    From:amilyn
    Date:September 2nd, 2004 03:52 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    I just love your updates.

    The pen pal I've kept at least a bit in touch with since I was like 10 or 12 lives, I think, in Chiba. *grin* Small world.
    [User Picture]
    From:melf42
    Date:September 3rd, 2004 08:11 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    The Active Listening teacher grabbed me just as I was about ready to walk out the door at 5 and asked what we should do for tomorrow's lesson. (Well, at least he asked me in advance...)

    Eek, I hate when they do that. My JTE came up to me at 4 on Friday (I was planning on leaving in 10 minutes) and asked me to do two activities for Tuesday... though maybe he doesn't realize my Monday is totally booked with elementary classes.

    I like your TV Guide / describe a picture with a grammar point idea. I may steal!
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:September 4th, 2004 01:24 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    Eek, I hate when they do that.

    If he had just wanted to say, "Here's what the lesson will be tomorrow, and here's what I'd like you to do," that wouldn't be so bad. Or even if he said, "I'll give you 10 minutes at the beginning of class, so please come up with a warm-up activity about ____." The fact that he apparently wanted me to help revamp the entire class curriculum, however, made it a bit troublesome. (He couldn't have asked me earlier in the week, like Monday or Tuesday, which I spent sitting at my desk reading for eight hours?)

    I scared one of my teachers Friday during a discussion of what to do in class by saying, "It's up to you." That was obviously not the response he wanted to hear...even though it *is* his class. I quickly modified it by saying, "Here's an activity I brought that you can use if you want to."

    I may steal!

    Steal away!
    [User Picture]
    From:melf42
    Date:September 4th, 2004 07:37 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    Cute icon! Is that a self-portrait because it looks like you :) Kawaii!
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:September 4th, 2004 02:25 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    Yep, it's a self-portrait I made using the Portrait Illustration Maker.
    [User Picture]
    From:melf42
    Date:September 4th, 2004 08:53 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    Okay, that was far too fun!!

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