First hour I had first-year students. One of the vocabulary words for the day was "pour," and my team teacher made extra certain that the students would not pronounce it the same as "poor." ^_^; Personally, I pronounce it the same as "poor."
Since the second-year students are still in Korea (word is they're doing fine, though some are getting tired), I had the next two hours free. As I was walking back to the faculty room, another teacher grabbed me and invited me to come watch some third-year students practicing sign language for the next two hours.
First, I'll explain a little about the way the classes are organized. There are five different...tracks, I suppose you might say. I only work with track 3, the English majors. The students I went to watch were from tracks 4 and 5. They have been studying social welfare--problems in society and how to solve them. Their most recent project has been studying ways to help the elderly, and so they have been learning sign language as a way to communicate with those whose hearing fails due to old age.
Thus, they are putting on a sign language performance for the "Creative" event I mentioned before. They are telling the story of "The Hungry Caterpiller" in sign language. Along with the story, they are also signing three songs, starting with "It's a Small World" and ending with the Japanese mega-hit from last year, "Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana" by SMAP. It was fascinating to watch them practice together, especially when the instructor gave them advice about the origins of the signs they were using so that the students would put the proper expression into their signs. She also gave them advice that would never have occurred to me, such as telling them not to wear dangly bracelets and to keep their hair pulled back from their faces.
(More about Japanese sign language is available on the NHK site Minna no Shuwa.)
After the session ended and a couple minutes before the bell rang, another teacher brought a tray with cups of coffee. The teacher who had invited me to come offered me a cup. I declined at first, since I had a class the next period and I thought I should get back to my desk to get my materials in order. She insisted, however, saying there was lots of coffee. She pulled me over in the corner and handed me a cup. Then, saying that she didn't want me drinking coffee in plain view while there were still students in the room...she shoved me in the closet and pulled the door closed.
I didn't know quite how to react to this. So I quietly drank my coffee...in the closet...and came out when I was finished.
The rest of the day went pretty well. Snow White is coming along nicely, though it has harder vocabulary than Cinderella did. (It was a challenge to describe "vain" in simple words. Not to mention explaining the difference between the queen "pricking" her finger and "piercing" her finger--the word "pierce" being the Japanese word for "earring," and thus more familiar to the students.)
The three students who showed up for the English club meeting had apparently changed their minds about what songs they wanted to sing. The difference in attitude between them and the sign language students I had watched earlier was rather striking. The English club students, when pondering how much practice they would have to do to get their act ready for the English seminar next month, said, "Let's just quit the club. Let's take whatever's left of the club budget and go out to eat at McDonald's." Hmm... The teacher in charge of the club told me that the students would handle choosing a song and working out an act by themselves, so they didn't need us. Hmm...