Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Empty Calories

Today I was teaching at the Junior High School. I was all excited -- today was the elective English class with the san-nensei's. Today was scheduled to be our cooking class. I was asked to show the students to make something Canadian and told that I would have a class period to work with.

Well, everyone likes desserts, so I decided on Nanaimo Bars. Yum! I trekked into the city to find the necessary ingredients -- strange foods like "icing sugar" and "graham crackers". One cup of icing sugar costs 280 yen, for those who are keeping track. Conveniently, some previous resident of my house left behind a load of coconut. I planned a lesson where the students would learn some cooking vocabulary: ingredients, verbiage, utensils and such; and then they would follow the recipe in English and make Nanaimo Bars. Sounds great, right?

Well, you forget my new JTE is quite possibly the laziest man on earth. (Not really, he just suffers by comparison to the JTE he replaced).

This morning I was at school, printing off some things for the lesson. My other JTE approached me. She was worried about the lesson. Apparently, there was no actual structure to this lesson aside from "let's have a fun day of cooking"! Her concern was that the students hadn't prepared anything (other than the food), and that we would run out of time. She asked me to help keep the students on task so we could finish on time. I told her I would do what I could, thinking to myself -- wait, won't there be three teachers?

So we had a cooking class. The students made a lot of different desserts and had a really fun time. What they did not do was learn anything. I was under the impression that the goal was to a) speak some English, b) have some fun and c) maybe internationalize a little (because that's the word around here -- internationalize). I ended up scrapping my lesson and making Nanaimo bars by myself because there was no time for me to do any of that crazy "teaching" stuff.

It was a really frustrating day. Yes, I realize my JTEs are busy, but isn't their job mainly, well, teaching? And isn't an elective class WITH three teachers and nine students an ideal teaching environment? The other JTE was also feeling frustrated, which makes me feel better, but really doesn't do anything for the lesson. What a waste of two classes.

I mentioned my troubles with my JTE to someone at Sapporo Orientation last week, and the advice I got was to present more of my ideas to him -- pre-empt his laziness. I don't know though. It feels to me like it wouldn't do much good. There never seems to be enough time... case in point: I haven't been to an elective class in months (despite the fact that the schedule drawn up at the beginning of the year was basically to accomodate things a native speaker would talk about -- like Canada).


(Incedentally, the Nanaimo Bars were excellent. I had enough to share with the students in the class and all of the teachers as well -- not bad for an 8" x 8" pan.)


It was an exciting journey to the post office today. No, I wasn't shipping boxes of books anywhere -- I was taking care of my own finances. People don't pay for things by credit card or cheque here. It's all about post office banking.

Note to self:
- parking tickets are stupidly expensive in Japan: the one I got a few weeks ago ended up costing 15,000 yen (somewhere in the vicininty of $150 CDN).

- Strange that I had to go back to the issuing office to get my parking ticket, but I could pay it at any post office in Japan.

- that 5500 yen to take the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) seems like an awful lot of money to put yourself through some pain and anguish. Why are you challenging Level 3 again??? Yay! for self punishment.


Apparently my office never sees me in anything dressy. I was wearing a nice skirt and a relatively nice top and heels today (the shoes are new, I got them in Sapporo a couple of weeks ago. They give me blisters).

One of my office ladies remarked that I looked like a grown-up. Well, I guess when I'm at the office I'm generally headed to an Elementary school or a kindergarten. Or on "school holidays". No wonder they were surprised to see me "dressed-up".

1 comment:

rusu said...

I'm that previous resident!

*maniacal laughter*