Friday, December 21, 2007

Sore but happy


I found out on Wednesday or Thursday that Kirita (my base school) was having a sports "mini-festival" on Friday. At first I was really disappointed that I was going to miss it, but when I asked Kocho-sensei (the principal) about the schedule for the "festival", he told me it would be in the afternoon from about 1:30pm-3:30pm. This was a great stroke of luck for me since I was scheduled to be finished at the school I was visiting after lunch (around 1pm). So I asked Kocho-sensei if it would be okay for me to come after my school visit, and he was like: "Let's play together!"


Unfortunately today started off on something of a bad note. It snowed a little bit so I gave myself a little extra time to get to my school: it usually takes ~17 min. to get to Koto JHS, so I called for a taxi just after 8am, giving myself 35 min to get to school by 8:35am. When I called, I swear that they said the taxi would take about 10 min (usually it takes ~5 min) to arrive. Well, it ended up taking 30 min.

Just as I finished calling the school (around 8:27am) to tell them that I would be late, the taxi finally arrived. Somehow we managed to make it to the school in about 12 min, but I was still five minutes late. The vice-principal and the teacher I was going to work with for first period were both really understanding, but I still felt terrible for being late.

Anyway, the classes I had today went pretty well--nothing spectacular, but there weren't any problems or anything either. So I was in a pretty good mood until lunch. I was eating with an ichinensei class that I hadn't actually met before, and when I arrived in the classroom, a group of girls was crying. I'm still not sure what was going on--the teacher tried to explain a bit to me, but he wasn't exactly sure what had happened either--but I think there was some sort of conflict between the girls and some sannensei where the sannensei said some mean things. I felt terrible that I was there eating lunch at the table where some of the girls were still sniffling, but I couldn't do anything to help.

After all that, I was kind of tired when I got home, but I changed and packed my stuff as fast as I could and drove to Kirita. I missed the start of the dodgeball competition, but I got to watch a couple of games, and it was pretty entertaining.

Then came the volleyball. The sannensei were split into two teams, the ninensei made one team, and the ichinensei were split into three teams. Since there are only 17 ichinensei, one team was short a person and some of the teachers took turns filling in--myself included! It wasn't regular volleyball, either; the rule was that exactly three people had to touch the ball before returning it.

Even though it was embarrassing because I was so terrible, it was fun playing with the students. And they're all really good kids. When their teammates missed, or even when their opponents missed, they would call out "Don't mind, don't mind!" and other words of encouragement. Since I was hitting the ball improperly most of the time, my arms and wrists also ended up sore and bruised. But still, it was probably one of the best times I've had at Kirita so far.

After volleyball, they gave out certificates to the winning dodgeball and volleyball teams, then everyone had Christmas cake and drinks. ^_^

The fun didn't stop there either. Afterwards I went shopping with T-san and H-sensei, and we also had our (Kirita) bon enkai (end of the year party). But I'll write more about those things later!

More student quotables

It's amazing what students will come up with when you give them the chance.

A no-prep game that I have students play as a warm-up at the beginning of class or as a time-filler at the end of class is line races. The students compete in their rows to write as many words or sentences as they can on the blackboard in a set amount of time.

So on Wednesday I had the sannensei (third years) compete using two verb sentences, e.g. "I want to play..." "I like to eat..." These are all the sentences one student contributed for his team:

"He likes to kill people."
"I want to leave NERV."
"I know how to use people."
"I don't know how to kill you."

Definitely creative (in the sense that it's nothing they'd learn from the textbook) but also a little scary. Still, I wasn't as shocked as I might've been since these sentences came from the student who once said that his favourite movie was the Evangelion movie because he likes grotesque movies. (At the time, I was impressed that he knew and even pronounced the word "grotesque" properly.)

But yeah, that was Wednesday.

Thursday I had jishu gakushu (extra English) with the sannensei and I had them do a "Twelve Days of Christmas" activity where they each were given a number (there are twelve sannensei students, so it worked out perfectly) and they had to fill in something that they wanted. This is what they came up with:

1 lord killing his people (can you guess which student that was?)
2 big countries
3 years vacation
4 erasers
5 ikemen* boys and cute girl friends
6 ice creams
7 good stores
800,000,000 yen house
9 soccer teams
10 big TVs and games
11 delicious foods
12 happiness all over the world


Okay, so maybe this is a "had to be there" kind of thing, but listening to them read through the "song" was really funny.

Then today, the sannensei at the school I was visiting (i.e. NOT at Kirita) had to do an activity where they were given question starters--who, what, when, where, how many, etc.--which they had to use to find out things about me. So after they wrote the questions (in groups), they had to--one by one--come up and ask me the question, listen to my answer, write it down, and report my answer to the rest of the group. During this time, one student (male) came up to me and said: "I will make you happy." My immediate reply was: "Is that a question?" At which point both of us and the students who had heard the comment started laughing. Then just before he left, I said "Thank you" and this elicited a fresh round of laughter from the nearby students.

As I was leaving the class, the same student came up to me and asked: "How many (remember, that was one of the question starters) lingerie do you have?" If a student in Canada had asked me that, I would have been insulted/annoyed, but I just thought it was amazing that the student knew the word lingerie (although he pronounced it like "longer-ray") and had the guts to ask me the question. Of course my answer was "It's a SECRET," but yeah, it was definitely amusing.

Then in the next class (also sannensei) one group asked me: "Do you spend Christmas with a boyfriend?" It wasn't as funny because I overheard them talking about how to ask the question, so I actually helped them phrase it properly, but it was still amusing for me that they thought up such a question in the first place.