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Amparo Bertram

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05:47 pm: Mysteries abound
I finally got through Friday, which means I have a whole weekend to prepare for next week. Or read a bunch of novels. Whatever.

I continue to encounter intriguing mysteries. I forgot to mention yesterday that two students came up and talked to me briefly, during which conversation one of them said, "Kao [face] very short." I blinked, at first trying to pick meaning out of a sentence that shifted languages halfway through, then not knowing quite how to respond. It wasn't until the second student added "Pretty" that I figured out she was trying to compliment me.

A woman came into the faculty room today with a case of something. I couldn't see exactly what it was, but it appeared to be vaguely conical containers in bright colors, and I caught sight of a picture of a fruit. They looked vaguely like yogurt cups, and maybe they were, or possibly single-serving ice cream cups, though no brand that I recognized. She set the case on the floor, and various teachers came up and bought things from her, and then she left. This struck me as quite bizarre.

One of the student classrooms has a huge pink banner with "BUFFERIN" written across it in bold letters. I haven't the foggiest.

There are three amusing notices posted on the wall above the computers in the computer room:
  • Don't forget to turn off the computer and the light when you leave.
  • Remember to turn off the computer when you are finished.
  • If you don't turn off the computer, who will?

    Anyway, today went all right. I met the second-year students for the first time. We started with some self-introduction activities, and then tried to work into warming up for the upcoming lesson in the textbook about sports...but the latter part didn't go over so well. I would say that maybe it's because it's an all-girl school, yet a lot of the girls are in sports clubs themselves, so I don't really know why, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to talk about sports. We tried mentioning the Olympics, but although several girls immediately said they didn't watch any of it, few could come up with anything they considered interesting to watch. Oh, well.

    Sixth period, though, was just about the must frustrating class I've ever had. It was a class of about 23 second-year students, and their assignment was to listen to a recording and fill in the blanks in their textbook with what they heard. Okay, I admit, not the most exciting activity, but still. Only six girls actually did the work. The rest either stared blankly at the textbook or did homework from other classes. Then the teacher (the one who won't call on students himself) asked me to call on students for the answers. I walked up and down the rows, noting that--of the ones who had their textbooks--most were blank. I told my team teacher repeatedly, "They don't have the answers," but all he did was keep insisting that I call on the students. Thus I had to either call on the same six students over and over, or painstakingly attempt to coax a hint of an answer out of students who at least had the textbook turned to the right page. There was no sign on the part of the students that they were in any way sorry for not doing the assignment, nor was there any sign from my team teacher that he cared that so many students had ignored the activity. I got the impression he probably would have been satisfied with just calling on the same six students for all the answers and letting the rest nap.

    And now I'm definitely ready to veg out on my couch for a while.

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  • Comments

    [User Picture]
    From:wednesday_10_00
    Date:September 3rd, 2004 03:37 am (UTC)

    Just one more thing about Japan that I don't understand

    (Link)
    There's a similar case-bearing lady who comes into our office every day. She sells vitamin supplements, energy drinks, yogurt drinks and that sort of thing. I guess it's to give you enough energy to last through the day? What I can't figure out is that she comes at 11:00,and everyone that buys something from her drinks it right away. Is it that hard to make it one more hour to lunchtime?
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:September 3rd, 2004 04:42 am (UTC)

    Re: Just one more thing about Japan that I don't understand

    (Link)
    I'll have to pay more attention next week and see if that's what it is.

    And I love your Conan! He's so *cute*! Aaargh, Ran should just pounce him.

    Okay, I'll take my geekiness and be off now.
    [User Picture]
    From:wednesday_10_00
    Date:September 4th, 2004 05:55 am (UTC)

    Everyone is automatically cuter when they're reading

    (Link)
    Well, she does pick him up and hug him a lot...Really, she thinks he's six, what else is she going to do?

    ...outside of the doujinshi universe, I mean.
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:September 5th, 2004 03:52 am (UTC)

    Re: Everyone is automatically cuter when they're reading

    (Link)
    I keep thinking...the drug that he took didn't make him younger, it made him smaller, right? At least, it uses the word "shrink" when describing what happened. So, technically, his body is still that of a teenager, right? Just a very short teenager.

    ...And, regardless, there's nothing wrong with a six-year-old getting a little smooch every once in a while...
    [User Picture]
    From:bentleywg
    Date:September 3rd, 2004 05:15 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    I *love* these posts! This is exactly the kind of stuff I like to know. Thanks.
    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:September 4th, 2004 01:40 pm (UTC)

    Keep your eye on your goals.

    (Link)
    Maintain your professional attitude. The teacher is responsible for his class. You cannot take on the guilt for the lack of success of the project if the teacher does not cooperate.

    I can understand your frustration. Working with a teacher who doesn't offer the needed support can be really trying.

    This comes from a person who has been in the same situation.

    Sister Mary
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:September 4th, 2004 02:23 pm (UTC)

    Re: Keep your eye on your goals.

    (Link)
    Thank you for the encouragement. It's only been a few days, so I'll have to see how things go as I settle into the routine. I do keep reminding myself that I'm there to help provide the students an example of native English and foreign culture, *not* to design and run every class.
    From:(Anonymous)
    Date:September 5th, 2004 08:26 am (UTC)

    Yes!!!

    (Link)
    Very good point about the difference of roles. Is there a Japanese-appropriate way to say this to the teacher? It seems that the sooner this issue is out in the open, the better things will be. (I hope!)

    Love,
    Mom
    [User Picture]
    From:spacealien_vamp
    Date:September 5th, 2004 01:21 pm (UTC)

    Re: Yes!!!

    (Link)
    If it ever becomes too much of a problem, I'll say something about it. I think the first couple days are still too early to make a big deal over it.

    What I can't figure out is why they keep wanting to make such huge changes. In Japan, this is the *middle* of the school year. They've already been teaching these classes since April. They should know what they're doing by now.
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