Today, I woke up in my new bed (night two, after three months on a futon on the floor) to a toasty feeling on a cold day. By the time I made it outside, I realized that my hair would not dry anymore, but it might freeze. Knowing I was a little late, I didn’t worry, because my driver is always late on Wednesdays. So I get to the spot that I’m supposed to be waiting, and it is cold. It is really cold. Maybe -5 Celsius. And I’m standing there, and standing there, and my co-teacher who always waits with me isn’t there yet for a while… I see a friend walking my way from across the street near her house, so I wave, and she comes over. She’s headed to the store that I was leaning on, and we chatted for a while. While she was inside, I texted my co-teacher. They were both now 15 minutes late, and I was feeling the chill. She came out of the shop and we chatted a bit more. Soon, my driver arrived, and I said see-ya to my friend, hopped in the car and said hello to the kind young woman that gives me a lift to work every Wednesday. She apologized profusely for being so late, told me that my co-teacher was already at school, and that we could go. I told her it was okay and handed her a box of cookies that I had brought her to share.
So we get to school about 8:30, and my first class is at 9. I get my paperwork together for it, and head upstairs about 10 till. I find my co-teacher, in a near fetal position ~ showing the pain of having woken up far too early for her liking. I tell her not to worry, that I’ll take care of the teaching today, and show her the project. She smiled. The idea was based around a half-sheet of paper that had nine questions on it. All having to do with a noun that would be picked from a mug that I had prepared with 40 or so nouns that could then be used individually on the pages. I told her I even brought candy for the quickest four. She reached her childish hand and gave a whine modeled after a six year old’s plea, and said she wanted one. It was so cute. I re-spoke the statement that the quickest three would get a piece of candy, she smiled, opened the candy, and ate it, curling up a little more in the desk’s office chair in which she was sitting. I took that as my cue, and turned around to the 20, 9th graders that had one more week in their school year, and began to explain the lesson to them in a language that was not their own. Seven minutes later, they understood, and were rearin’ to go.
It went well. As is standard with that class, half the class tried, half the class slept, and the other half was alternately distracted and interested in the exercise depending on my proximity to them at the time.
The three that finished first also were the leaders in using the rest of the nouns in the mug as Pictionary fodder. They loved that.
For the next class I did exactly the same lesson, with the same sheets, but to younger kids. They were more attentive, more interested, and just as successful.
Following the two classes, I had almost two hours with which I could do as I pleased, so I read some more of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. Strong book.
I was interrupted by a woman who came into the lounge that I was enjoying who was offering me something that required the giant handful of chopsticks in her hand. All I understood was the closure to her sentence “… deu-shi-rah-yo?” which means “__noun__, would you like?” So I figured there was a snack to be had, I smiled and put down the book. Following her, she took me into the teacher’s lunch room where a spread of smoked fish, lettuce, garlic, sauce, chives, and two types of sea-weed were all laid out for a surprise gift/snack from someone who doesn’t work there anymore. It was fabulous. Apparently, he lives on the coast now, and they get all this good fish, so he decided to share. Nice guy. He wasn’t around at the time, but I’ll be happy to thank him if I ever get the chance.
As it worked out, one of the teachers that speaks really good English also had some extra time and was in there to try some. She and I must have chatted for 45 minutes or more. It was nice to do so. By the time we were done chatting, everyone else had left some time before. It was cool. I haven’t had a lot of simple, chill visits with many of my co-teachers. We’re always going somewhere or doing something in particular.
So yea, that was right before lunch. About 20 minutes later we had lunch at 12:30. Heh. So needless to say, I only ate half of it, but it was good. They actually pulled off a decent spaghetti sauce, even though I had to eat my spaghetti with chopsticks. Life is funny sometimes.
After lunch, I taught the same exact lesson to yet another grade younger, and they did pretty dang good, comparing to the older kids. They even had time left over for Pictionary.
Two hour break. I was able to get some typing done and read the news. Switched to coffee as the food-coma set in.
Last class of the day – Same bunch of kids as the first class of the day – 20 rambunctious graduates, being held against their will, in the last class of the day – of course the first question of the class popped off as it always does “Teacher, we want soccer.” “No problem, I said, you may go and play at 4.”
I turned on the YouTube for the Beatles, and let the music play. My lesson plan was to drop a bunch of knowledge on them about the Beatles, and have them follow along with a worksheet that followed the Powerpoint presentation, and a couple times, we would listen to more music, and by the time it got to Yellow Submarine, they would turn their papers over and fill in the missing words from the song. We listened three times, and a handful of kids had finished it, one perfect paper and three with minor flaws, ten half finished, and 6 with one or two words, 2 with 0. Good show I figured. This is a foreign language class after all. This is their first term ever with a foreign teacher, and this is the last class of the day. I feel like I won having inspired two-thirds of the class to pay attention. The class bell rang and off they went. I had another half hour to chill before leaving, so I typed a bit more and folded up the day.
That’s just my work day – I’ve been typing now for half an hour and the hour is late. The after-work matters will have to remain confidential for now. They involved seeing the same friend from the morning as I was dropped off ~ totally by chance, going to another friend’s house with her, hanging with a 3 month old kitten for an hour or two, going for some crazy dinner, and reacquiring my bicycle. All in all a successful day I would figure.
Found a silly new rock band (~sort of~) Axis of Amazing (I think that’s their name), comic singers. Their “4chord” song is genius.
Time for bed.