Monday, November 22, 2010

ES Tour Week 3: Teaching is hard work!

These last 3 weeks of elementary schools have been some of the most exhausting and most fulfilling days I've had in a long time. I'm guess that since the school only gets you for two days, they're gonna make sure to get the most out of ya! When I'm not team-teaching classes I'm visiting other's classes. And just when I sit down in the teacher's room, a group of kids will usually knock at the door looking for me.

And man, have I been all over Sapporo! One day I'll be in the south near the mountains, and the next day I'll be amidst the factories in the east. I've taken buses, subways, and the tram (streetcar). And thank goodness for my iphone! The map on that thing has saved me so many times, I haven't gotten lost yet!!

A few of the teachers I've worked with have asked me if I have any American games to play with the students, so I've been testing out some of my old reliable theater games. They don't really have anything to do with learning English, but the kids have fun, and the shy ones definitely warm up to me after a game of Sneaky Statues (which I'm calling "Janitor" in Japan). I think the teachers love the game just as much as the students, and some of them even join in!

Nathan has a full-time job as well! He's working for an after-school English school (if that makes any sense). I met the owner of the school, Mary, yesterday at a staff party they had, and she's really great. She's half Japanese, half Brazilian, and speaks Portuguese, English, and Japanese. I think she's going to be a great person to work for, and I think Nathan feels better now that he has some consistent pay. Ethan's doing great in school - he's improving in math and has made some good friends. The other day he came home from playing with friends with an armful of long sticks. He told me that he and his friend were making spears for when the Earth floods in 2012. I'm just happy he's outside and playing with friends, even if they are preparing for disasters!

More observations of Japanese elementary schools:

  • During lunch, every student wears an apron and a bandana (for their hair). Most even have placemats.
  • Accordions are standard musical equipment. Here's the proof:
  • Each classroom has an aquarium which either contains gold fish or small lobsters.
  • ES students love to have your autograph. I signed at least 15 English textbooks today.
  • They also love to give you gifts. Here's a pile of origami I received from one school:
  • A few people have asked me why Japanese are always throwing up the peace signs for pictures. I have no idea, and I'm not sure if anyone knows. They could be doing worse gestures with their hands, so I'll take the peace signs!

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