The weather has turned nippy. I was okay in just a sweater with the sleeves rolled up, but I overheard a number of students whimpering about how cold it was. This is definitely not Niigata. The faculty room already has the heat turned on.
One of my classes had a quiz today. It wasn't a pop quiz...at least, not what *I* would consider a pop quiz. The teacher announced yesterday that he would be giving it, and said exactly which two lessons in the book it would cover. Of course, when he was ready to hand the quiz out today, a large number of the students complained that if they did poorly on the quiz it was because he didn't give them enough time to study. ^_^; Excuses, excuses.
In one of the classes today, the same four students were the only ones volunteering to answer any questions. I had to go stand by other parts of the room and not budge until students who hadn't spoken yet answered something. (This is a class in the language lab, so the students are all spread out at computer desks; not only does this make it difficult to address everyone at once, it makes it tempting for the students to play on the computers instead of attending to the lesson.) When there aren't any volunteers, usually I walk around the room and pick students who look like they have an answer, to avoid putting them on the spot when they tried but just couldn't figure it out, but sometimes I have to get the ones who aren't even bothering to try and stick with them until some wheels turn in their heads.
I am accustomed to writing the students' names on chopsticks and pulling them at random to pick students for simple questions...but I've only been given a list of names for the third-year students. I've asked for others, but I haven't been given any yet. I've also asked for this year's school calendar of events, since the only one I could find anywhere in my desk was for last year, but I haven't been given that either. I think I'm going to have to be more forceful about these things.
In one of my (small) classes, I handed out tiny notebooks and told the students that if they voluntarily wrote messages in them and turned them in, I would respond and give them back. It won't affect their grades, though I may come up with prizes of some kind for those who put a lot of effort into it. This is mainly to give extra practice in real communication to the students who want it, in a way that they won't have to be embarrassed in front of the whole class if they make mistakes. I just got the first couple entries, and the students seem to be taking to it well. It's neat to see them writing about things like their favorite actors and what they did over the weekend.
After school, I filled out my absentee ballot. I'm going to try to get it in the mail tomorrow.