Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I think I'm getting the hang of it.

I've been absent for the past day mostly due to my exhaustion from being up for about 24 hours. I couldn't get any sleep Sunday night because I kept tossing and turning dreading my first day with my new students. I'm pretty good at mentally beating myself up over stupid stuff like that and this time I was especially exhausted. I got to school 30 minutes early because I was worried I'd be late even though I live ten minutes away by walking. How pathetic of me! I really have to work on finding a way to sedate myself in times like that.

Anyway, my first day was incredibly long, or at least it felt long to me. My working hours are only from 8:45AM-3:33PM Monday through Friday and most of the time I am in the teacher's office having my prep period. On average I have about three 45 minute classes a day which is pretty easy when I think about it. Although I may only be teaching three classes a day, it takes a few hours of planning per class (right now) to get a decent lesson plan going. This week I'm kind of lucky, since I am new I only have to do a 45 minute introduction lesson per class. Even the introduction lesson wears me out because I have to be so animated an exaggerated in my gestures and pronunciation for the kids. The 7th graders (1st graders in Japan) seem to be a little shy and less cooperative but the second graders are pretty good and they are more interested in me. As for the 3rd graders (9th graders US) I still don't know how they are but I expect them to be even more receptive since they're the most experienced of the bunch.

The girls seem pretty excited to have me in their classes, especially today's 2-3 class. They kept asking me personal questions like, "who do you like the best (girls in the class)", "are you dating Ms. So and so", "do you have a girlfriend", and other equally embarrassing questions. I expect probably more of the same the rest of this week. Japanese female junior high school students are pretty wild and giddy. I don't remember girls in my middle school being so full of glee and energy. Maybe its the air? As for the guys, they think I'm pretty cool though some are kind of embarrassed to speak any English so they either zone out or put their heads down on the table which is fine since I don't have to discipline them. Hopefully they'll find something interesting in one of my classes eventually. The faculty at my school are also very nice, especially the principal. Its nice to be on the Principal's good side, hes always so friendly to me.

That's all I have to share about my school for now. The real teaching doesn't start till next week but at least I am getting a feel for time and how each class is. I'm really hoping that I can make my activities and lesson plans work smoothly enough so I can start to be more comfortable and relax at school. Getting off of work before 4PM is pretty cool, though by that time I'm burnt out from too much Japanese exposure. I guess I'll leave it at that. Tomorrow night I eat dinner with a new friend of mine Maki. I met Maki though a local ALT just like me about a week ago. Maki is a pretty nice lady and seems to have ties with the town mayor either through relations or connections I forget. Anyway, that's about it. Wish me luck at school!

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