Thursday, April 16, 2009

Random JET/School stuff...

If I think I'm gonna be able to shoot out to the one far away elementary I've got during the brief respite from the rain in the AM, the truth is that the sky is gonna probably open up on me about halfway there. Do well to remember that and just call the freaking cab.

I've got a female Principal at one of my elementary schools now. Kudos to you Japan, cause ya'll can be some patriarchal bastards here... I'm sure there's quite a few, but this is first I've come across in the last 4 years or so...

You know, usually, the schools here seem to rotate either the Principal or the VP, but one of my schools rotated both at the same time this past year. And the "head teacher" curriculum coordinator. Doesn't seem the smartest move in terms of continuity. Same school, after the 3.5 years I've been here also changed their schedule for class times. Screwed me up my first day over there.

Every year at elementary school means training another group of cute 1st graders to not kancho me or try and jab at my dick. Japan, I swear. Your kids are adorable, but that shit is exhausting by the end of the day. Of course, part of the "stop kancho" training involves snatching the child up to eye level, saying STOP, and providing a gentle shake to their giggling bodies. Which is why it's so tiring. Sigh.

Even in small towns, schools are different. One school I show up at my first day, they've got the year planned out, I know what classes I've got, what subjects they want taught for the next 11 months. The other school, I head over the day before my first classes, just to check that everything was good-to-go [I just knew] and the response? "You're teaching a class tomorrow? Uh-oh..." Not a problem, of course. After 3 years I can prep a kick-ass class all on my own, no sweat. And all the teachers are just super-nice and cooperative, so it's not like it was a problem. They're just not the best prepped group :)

It's really only a week and a half into the new school year, and I have to say, it looks like it's going to be abso-freaking-lutely brilliant. Today, I had a Jr High kid who, literally, I couldn't extract more than a one word response out of in 2 years [doubly frustrating because his older brother who graduated 2 classes ago was absolutely awesome]... anyways, today this kid approached me to ask me a question in damn near perfect English during an interview activity. I told the JTE about it later and we both were just gobsmacked. We had to tell his homeroom teacher, who was equally surprised and delighted. Another kid who was severely yanki last year, today was still rambunctious, but when it came time to take notes, he pulled out his notebook and got to work like a champ. My mouth may have been hanging open.

I've got what appears to be three engaged, really capable and nice teachers at Jr High. The students are 8 degrees of awesome. This is the first year, I think, where all 3 Jr High classes are just all around good kids - there's always been one year that needed some work. The elementary schools, as always, and although exhausting, rock very hard. I've got the same BOE supervisor this year as I've had the last two, one of the nicest guys I've met in Japan.

Gonna be a great year, I think. [Knock wood.]

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