|View From Teacher's Room|
Saturday, August 14, 2010
bfg on meeting my students
I was honestly at the point of considering throwing myself out the window in the teacher’s room as it would mean possibly landing in the ocean, swimming in water instead of my own sweat.
The only rooms in the school which have AC are the teacher’s room, the computer room and the administrators room. But today there was a blackout frill. First day a fire drill where I am made to handle the firehose (that was a feat!) and now surviving a blackout. Dear me, could they not choose a cooler day to do this sort of thing?!
It was while I was gazing out to the Pacific that I heard it.
“Helllll-o (giggle, giggle) my name is... Sa--!” Laughter. “uhhhh... uhhhh” She rolls her eyes as if searching her mind... “Nice to meet you!” She found them.
And it was that moment my friends I felt pure elation because I knew it was my first teacher moment.
Sa- introduced her friend Yu-- whose English was pretty much non-existent but Sa-- made up for it in her gumption and spoke for them both. We talked for about forty minutes using many an electronic dictionary (3) and the dictionary on my iTouch to get by.
A part of me became discouraged - they couldn’t understand the simplest sentences and I had to act everything out. For two girls it is fine, but a whole class!? I have no idea how I am going to teach these kids and actually succeed in disseminating knowledge instead of just entertain which I am starting to have the feeling is what most JETs end up doing.
But there was some success, for example after ten minutes of searching and two teachers joining in. I taught them the word “synonym”. Can I just say, that is an awesome word to teach! Suddenly I was able to express to them that the word “exam” has the same meaning as “test”; they were elated. It really felt like I opened a door.
By the end we had a not-so-secret handshake and traded our favorite band names, me having introduced them to Carla Bruni and Feist. I think they were surprised when I zipped out the iTouch that I could text and type as quickly as they could. It totally put me in the “cool teach” pool...
In fact, word got around that I got the iPhone 4 and now the soccar boys thing I rock and am rich. If only!
Sa and Ya are third year students coming to school to study for university entrance exams. They come in and out of the teacher’s work having written practice essays and solved algorithms seeking advice from their senseis. I had seen them many a time and even waved but this is the only time they spoke to me. And though the low-level of English is scaring me the fact that they are willing to put up with the Pictionary way of explaining things gives me more than hope. It makes me excited for September.
I don’t have internet... in fact, I just got out of the shower and am getting ready to meet some other JETs in the area with a sempai (a JET who has been here for over a year) for some dinner and to speak English at a normal speed. But I wanted to write this down... it was vivid in my mind and my fingers were just itching to write.
I will be out of touch for a while since I am going to prison... aka Prefecture Orientation. I wouldn’t mind it but I have to sleep in these horrible dorm beds. So it goes.
*** written august 10th***