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A New Year of School

April 16, 2013

My computer is fixed! It turned out that after six faithful years the charger finally gave out. After handing over a fair amount of cash, I’m up and running again.

Anyway, I’m one whole week into the new school year now! Some things have been switched around regarding my schools. MES has moved to Tuesdays, THES has moved to Wednesdays, FES2 has moved to Thursday mornings. I have one new elementary school, and I’m now teaching at a junior high school for one and a half days a week. In the process of this giant shuffling of schedules, I will no longer teach at TES or WES. As a result, I have no idea how to code my schools anymore. Keep an eye out for any changes.

Last week Monday was the first day of school and my first day at my new junior high school. Since it was the first day, instead of classes we had opening ceremonies for returning students and for the new freshmen. At the ceremony for returning students, I stood with all of the new teachers and had to give a quick self introduction. I was the very last to speak, and I decided to speak in English (since one of the English teachers was nearby to translate if needed). Somehow my speech ended up being hilarious to the students, and to make things worse I forgot to bow at the end and instead gave a small wave.

In the afternoon we held the entrance ceremony for the first year students. During this time rather than get introduced as a new teacher, I was introduced as simply one of the teachers. My heart was pounding so hard when I had to step out of the group of teachers, bow, and say 「よろしくお願いします!」(yoroshiku onegaishimasu) in front of all 165 of the new students as well as their parents. You would think that it’s nothing much, but to someone who gets stage fright quite easily in front of strangers it felt like giving an hour-long speech! I was relieved to see familiar faces from TES, WES, and FES1 amongst the first years, though, and they were extremely surprised to see me!

I’ll be there Mondays and Friday afternoons, and I know for sure that I’m going to get lost. I had a chance to explore the school, and the building is HUGE compared to my elementary schools. There are classes on all four floors, so it looks like I’ll be getting my exercise! There are six first year classes, seven second year classes, and seven third year classes. That’s so big compared to my elementary classes. The teacher’s room alone is two times the size of those at my elementary schools. It’s a bit overwhelming, honestly. However, teaching at the junior high level is sure to be interesting! I already had my first class with second-year students, and it was hilarious.

To give you an idea of what happened, I walked into the classroom before the bell rang and a boy sitting in the front row tells me in Japanese, “Carolyn! I know where you live.” Of course a comment like that was quite the curveball, and it took me a moment to look at his name tag and realize that not only was he the older brother of one of my former students at TES, but his mother is a consultant for Interac and is the person I’m supposed to call if I ever have any problems in Koga. Last year during my first few months in Koga, I was convinced I had mold growing in my floors so I had messaged her and she came over with the whole family to check out my floors. The boys waited in my foyer while their parents checked out my floors.

That comment definitely set the stage, though, because the lesson was just too funny. I had the whole class period to teach my self-introduction lesson, which consists of talking about Wisconsin and teaching the English for five animals that can be seen in Wisconsin (bear, eagle, porcupine, fox, and deer). Then, I split the students into teams and for every question the students asked me the team would get points. During the splitting of teams, though, I had one boy who had decided to take a nap. Obviously, the only choice is to see how many books I could stack on his back to see if he would wake up! He didn’t, and so the JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) finally shook him awake after I removed the stack. The questions that the students asked me were fun as well. As usual, there were two giggly girls in the back who wanted to know if I was married, and I was also asked what my favorite food was and what food I didn’t like.

This Friday I’ll be teaching the same lesson to a third year class. I’m definitely looking forward to it. Hopefully they’ll have the courage to ask me some questions that will make me think!

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