Sunday, 15 March 2009

Graduation Without Tears

Almost a week between entries. Guess I am just lazy. It's not like I have a lot to do. That is something that I want to change, but as yet I have not found much to occupy my free time. And free time is one thing I seem to have in abundance.

I spent the only lesson I had on Tuesday revising students' speeches. A lot of what was written sounded like it had been put through an online translator and hung out to dry. Trying to decipher what was meant in some cases really didn't help with the headache I had developed. :/

With no classes on Wednesday, I continued to study Japanese. My kanji count is 395 now, but I realised that despite the success of my learning method, I need to slow down somewhat and just take more time to review what I have covered before stuffing any more stories into my head.

On Thursday, the best class would have been sixth period, with the third years. It was my final class with them. I had burned the first, double episode of Legend of the Seeker to a DVD. We watched half of it in class.

On Friday, I taught at Wakaigawa shougakkou. I always enjoy going there. I like small schools. You can be a lot closer to the students because the classes have so few in them. It's also fun to play with the kids between classes.

That evening, I went around to Mika's with the intention of holding Japanese conversation practice. It wasn't quite Japanese but it was conversation. XD

Saturday saw graduation ceremonies for the sannensei at all of the chuugakkou around this area. I attended the Shouwa graduation ceremony. It's where I teach on Thursdays. The ceremony itself wasn't as long as I thought it would be. Small schools rock! It was boring too, but at least no one cried. I heard that Japanese Junior High Graduation Ceremonies can be very depressing and are often treated like funerals. But they should be a happy occasion! The kids are moving on, sure. But everyone should be happy for them moving up into senior school, where they will further hone their life skills. Or something.

Anyway, a couple of students spoke. One was a ninensei, whom I assume said nice things about all of his sempai. The other was one of the sannensei, who thanked all of the teachers individually - including me, as their ALT! That in itself was surprising, but seeing as it was on behalf of all of the graduating students (nine in total), I guess it makes sense. Very nice. :)

Phil, my predecessor, had come down to attend the graduation ceremony. He had also brought along a friend, Jerrmarco. We met up with Michael and went around to someone's house for a barbecue. We stayed there all afternoon. It was actually really cold yesterday, despite the sun being out, so sitting around a brazier was nice.

I ate a lot of oysters and chicken and even had some shitake mushrooms and inoshishi (wild boar) meat. All in all, it was a nice afternoon.

Last night, I went around to Mika's again. I helped her with the tutoring she gives to the young girl I mentioned last week. This week, however, she came on Saturday rather than Friday. It was another opportunity, also, for me to have conversation practice. I must admit that I didn't make much effort to speak in Japanese. But I did teach Mika how to play chess, and she kicked my butt at Bejewelled... :p

Today has been pretty slow. We are going to church tonight, so I will just chill for a little while. This coming week I only have chuugakkou classes, but there are other opportunities for me to serve during the days I would otherwise be sitting in the office for seven hours, twiddling my th- erm, I mean, being productive and improving my teaching methods and Japanese language skills. :/



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