Blue sky blues.

Today, I started doing introduction lessons again. I really want to be done with these. The students are either hyperactive and ask personal questions I don’t feel like answering… or they are like today: as we say in Japanese – しーーーーーーん。 (silent)

So my JTE today is really nice and well meaning but he usually assumes things and corrects things that aren’t wrong. Today and yesterday he tried to correct me by saying instead of boyfriend, the better and more colloquial term is lover. Yeah. It might be, but I don`t want my ten year olds learning that.

Also, I have to greet the students by asking what the wheather is like, how are you and such and such. But today when I asked my JTE how he was, he replied with ”fine but a little hungover.”   ……um….. thankfully my students didn’t really understand that and just stared at him blankly. But I did, and it was awkward. Also he assumed my family has owned a farm for generations when we just bought it 4 years ago. So I had to keep reexplaining things, and this makes the students lose interest. I usually have a really simple introduction with pictures, but my JTE asking me what kind of car I have doesn’t really let me keep a smooth, easy to understand conversation going. I really like him as a person and a teacher. I think he is entertaining and helpful, unlike some other JTEs. However, some of the introduction lessons have been extremely weird and I just want them to end so I can stop being the center of attention.

I am here to teach English and about my culture. I don’t want to be looked at as a clown to come and be goofy for a few classes. I take my job seriously, and my students like it when I help them with real problems. I think making every single one of them giving me a handshake is a little excessive, only because of time constraints and level of English ability and confidence, but that’s what my JTE suggested. I know once we get through all of this self introduction stuff I will feel so much better.

Another thing that has made this week awkard has been the time schedules. So I have five schools, and each one starts at a different time with a different routine. Most of them are very similar, so it’s actually harder to remember them most of the time. On my schedule I recieved for this week, times weren’t listed next to my classes. So I had to memorize or write them in. However, yesterday when I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge, two students knocked on the door and told me they were sent to get me for class.

This is kind of awkward for me because I sit in a room full of other teachers, and having students come fetch me like the class pet made me feel uneasy. But the bigger reason I was upset is because it wasn’t TIME to go to class. But when I asked the JTE about it, she told me this week is a little different because of some kind of event. So I had to write down all the start and end times  for my classes so it wouldn’t happen again. However, when I was leavning the teacher’s lounge the second time, another pair of students came to get me as well. I feel like they don’t trust me to make it to class on time. But other times, I feel like they trust me a little too much to know where the classrooms are (I do now, but on my first day of school, showing up and having your JTE pull a houdini is kind of unsettling).

Yesterday was so fulfilling, I kind of forgot about all these little incidents that add up to an awkward day. I have another scheduled class, and then I was just informed that I have to go in to another lesson halfway through. On top of that, the times changed AGAIN. And the class she wants me to go to is the loudest one I have. I’m assuming I have to go again because last week, the kids were fighting with each other so much that we couldn’t go through with the lesson, so partway through, she sent me back to the teacher’s lounge.

Ahh. One more day, and this week is over. At least I brought my lunch, have food at home, and have things to look forward to this weekend.

I know most of these things seem so silly to complain about, but I think what it really all adds up to is… I want to start being useful. I want to be seen as a teacher and as someone the students can look to for help if they need it. Everyone wants to be taken seriously. And for me this is just the beginning of my job, but I want to get to the meat of it already.

I am really excited whenever my students ask me a question and I can answer it. Just standing at the front of class talking about myself is tiring. I am energized by helping them. I also joined the Fukuoka JET Scholarship Committee. I am really pumped for this. We hold events and raise money in order to send a few students on the study abroad trip they choose. It is something I am really passionate about. Study abroad is my career aspiration, so interviewing Japanese students who want to study abroad? Right on track with my goals. We had a long first meeting last night about this year’s events and application. I was already able to give my input and help out with things, so I feel good knowing I have something outside school that connects me to other JETs and allows me to do some good.

Lunch is leftovers from last night’s pasta, so I’m pretty excited.

My dad sent me a package in the mail, but I missed the delivery, so I hope I can get it soon… He sent me food. Mmm. Food.

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4 thoughts to “Blue sky blues.”

  1. Your life seems very interesting. You are definitely living a life, or at least a part of a life, that I have always wanted for myself. I’m sure when it is time for me to get there I will get there however. In the meantime, I enjoyed reading this posting. It reminded me of my high school english teacher. I am still friends with her today. Conveniently she is only 11 years older than me, which would put her at 34. That really isn’t that old and I have to say that she’s been an influential part of my life. From helping me choose what college I wanted to attend, to communicating with me throughout the semesters, and finally being there on my graduation day. Even now, 2 years after my college graduation, we still communicate and she is proudly the mother of a two week old girl. My point in saying all of this:

    I enjoyed reading your post, and I’m sure you’ll get to that point you’re looking for. Just as much as I’m sure eventually, if I keep studying the way I do, I will be fluent in Japanese enough to fulfill my dream of traveling to Japan and having a conversation on their soil in their language. Hope this helps you with a bit of confidence, not that you seem lacking in that department. You have a lot of drive. 🙂

    P.S. | On a fanboy note: How I would love to be in the same room as Ayumi Hamasaki or Megumi Hayashibara. Touching your favorite singers isn’t something everyone gets to do. Here’s to dreaming!

    1. Why, thank you! I am very lucky but I have worked extremely hard up until this point. Being on JET has been my aspiration since I was 17, so it’s a dream come true.

      I am flattered you compared me to one of your teachers, especially one you admire! I really hope I can work hard enough for my students so that I add meaning to their lives and to their school careers.

      You are right, I do have a lot of drive, but I always love encouragement!

      And yes, I am very happy I was able to touch so many of my favorite singers haha… but it’s all up to chance really!

      1. If I had known about JET I probably would have strove for it as well, but alas I did not even know it existed until you mentioned it just now and I did the research. I’ve always dreamed of learning Japanese, and keeping motivated to work towards it when everything else in my life is confusing at the moment is tough, but it’s possible. Motivation is the key. Determination is the lock. You can’t open the door without both.

        I’m sure it will happen. When people work hard they are rewarded. Life will reward you too, and when it does everything will click. “It was meant to happen this way for a reason.” I like to believe that anyway.

        Without prattling on and saying the same thing repeatedly, I look forward to reading your blog.

        1. Thanks so much!

          Yeah the JET program is awesome but it takes a long time to prepare and apply for it. The application will go up soon, though, if it’s something you are really interested in! And sometimes one focal point when everything else is confusing, as you say, is a good thing. Something to keep you sane, keep you going. Learning Japanese has always been really fun for me, so I hope to share ways in which I made it not seem like studying so everyone else can take something from my method, too.

          Again, thanks for reading and commenting!

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