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Amparo Bertram

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07:02 pm: Just color me orange
I arrived at school this morning, my arms laden with Halloween supplies, and I was immediately approached by the head of the English department with the message that one of the teachers I was supposed to be working with that day had called in sick and asked me to handle the class by myself.

Note: I am not supposed to do this. I don't have a Japanese teaching certificate, and my job description explicitly states that I'm an assistant. Even so, sometimes it happens.

My first thought was, Didn't someone hire a substitute teacher? What will all his other non-team-teaching classes do? Did they just not hire anyone, or did they get a substitute who didn't feel comfortable with English and didn't want to be in the room with me? (I would guess the former, but I have no idea.)

My second thought was, Did he leave any kind of lesson plan or even a quick suggestion such as "Start the next chapter"? Apparently not, because I didn't receive any further instructions. Luckily, I had a planning period first hour, so I had time to write up and laminate some Halloween flash cards really quickly. It was a good thing I did, because I wound up using them in two other classes as well.

The class actually went okay. We played a game with the flash cards, and then with the extra few minutes at the end of the class we briefly talked about lucky/unlucky superstitions. They all generally know about black cats and four-leaf clovers, but the idea of a lucky rabbit's foot gets them every time.

The pumpkin pie went over well, though only three students showed up for English club, so I had a bunch left over. I dished it out to some of the other teachers in the faculty room. I started discussing holiday food with the teacher next to me and mentioned hot, spiced apple cider. She scrunched up her face and asked, "You drink apple cider hot? Is it good?" I tried to explain that it's kind of like drinking tea...I don't know if she got it, though. (It made *me* want to drink some, at least.)



Date:October 25th, 2004 03:30 am (UTC)

The Super Sub!

I am so impressed with the ideas you are able to come up with on the spur of the moment. Thank goodness there was a prep period before the class. Was there another sub hanging around at all? I am so glad that the classes went well. Mine often don't even after following a lesson plan prepared ahead of time.

The pie sounds good, as well as the apple cider.

Love, Mom
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Date:October 25th, 2004 01:56 pm (UTC)

Re: The Super Sub!

It was really the same game I made up to use in Niigata, though the kids there got a lot more involved in it. You know, five years ago when I started doing Halloween lessons, I was hard pressed even to find someone who knew what day it was, much less anything else about it. Now, Halloween has gotten to be so popular that it really doesn't bear much teaching about anymore.

I didn't see a substitute anywhere. I wonder if they even hire them for one-day absences. I know there are a couple long-term subs here, like for a teacher who's gone on maternity leave, but that's about it. They don't seem to have any problem telling students, "The teacher is sick today, so just study on your own this period." (You can see this in anime every once in a while.)
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Date:October 25th, 2004 02:49 pm (UTC)
It's always fascinating to see what throws people for a loop when we take it for granted. Hot cider sounds very good right now. :-)

Also, since the sum total of my knowledge of Japanese geography comes from X-Men comics, and pretty much doesn't extend past "The big island is Honshu, right?", am very glad to see you don't appear to be near where the earthquake hit.
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Date:October 26th, 2004 01:20 am (UTC)
You make a very good point. I should have posted some kind of map a lot sooner.
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Date:October 26th, 2004 07:01 am (UTC)
I wasn't sure you hadn't -- haven't always kept up on my flist lately. :-)
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Date:October 25th, 2004 05:31 pm (UTC)
She scrunched up her face and asked, "You drink apple cider hot? Is it good?"
Ooh! That's a good idea for omiyage. I can buy some of that spice stuff that you add to apple juice and give it to my coworkers. Wait, maybe I shouldn't bother....it's probably too sweet. It depresses me when I give something I think is really good to a Japanese person, and am then told it's too sweet. I wonder if they have hyper-sensative tastebuds or what?

Now I'm craving apple cider too. Dammit.
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