spinelstar: (Default)
My friends, I think I must resign myself to my fate.

Now that there is only one English teacher in my school, the classes are arranged such so that it is humanly possible for him to be present in all of them. And what does that mean for me? That I, too, am also capable of being present in all of them.

Consequently, I am now apparently going to be present in all of them, whether I actually help much during the lesson or not.

What does this mean? Four classes a day, on average. And what does that mean?

No RP, except on weekends. Because I'm just too exhausted and don't have much time anymore.

But I really can't complain, and I especially can't resent my teacher for it. He's a really nice guy. And really, it's a lot more fulfilling than sitting at my desk surfing the internet, and feeling like I'm not helping here at all. Now I get to actually see and talk to my students everday. The only thing that's annoying about it is when I'm sitting there through half the class, watching Niwa-sensei explain things in Japanese, and not doing anything.

Anyways. I was in a drawing mood last night, when I woke up from my nap. So you guys get to see one of my crappy pencil sketches. XD

Daily Drawing #13 (and random babbling) )

♥'s for everybody! ^.^
spinelstar: (tantrum)
60-second-rant, GO!

ARRRGGHH work has been crazy. For no reason at all. I had five classes yesterday, and four each day two days before that, and today I have three. And it came at the worst time because my back is hurting (don't know how I hurt it) and being on my feet all day isn't helping. And I haven't been able to RP at ALL because I come home exhausted and I have no time during the day and it's made me REALLY upset and cranky and I wish I could play with all of you guys because I really miss it. :(

*deep breath*

HERE HAVE A MEME.

Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] viridian and [livejournal.com profile] chanter_greenie:

Give me a character and I will tell you...

* How I FEEEEEL about this character
* All the people I ship romantically with this character
* My non-romantic OTP for this character -
* My unpopular opinion about this character
* One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon.

(List of characters in my profile.)

Bleeeh. :P

Feb. 21st, 2011 08:05 am
spinelstar: (Tamaki towel)
Well, guess what, guys? I'm really sick.

I started feeling really dizzy yesterday while I was doing laundry, and it kind of scared me, so I took a nap. I woke up feeling a little better, but I had a splitting headache. So before I went to bed I took some Excedrin PM, which both cured the headache and knocked me out sufficiently. And I woke up feeling much better than I expected to this morning, but definitely sick.

I considered staying home, but my friend here warned me over Facebook not to do that. I don't know if my school is this way, but other JETs have been told that they have to get doctor's notes if they want their absence to be considered sick leave. That wouldn't be a problem, except that none of the doctors in my town speak English, and I'd have to drive over an hour to see a doctor I feel comfortable with. Which I don't feel good about doing if I'm sick. And I don't really want to see a doctor anyway, because I hate doctors and I don't feel that sick.

Luckily it's just a bad cold. I was worried that I would get the flu or something and start throwing up, but I just feel like my sinuses are clogged and my nose is runny and I've been sneezing. But it already feels like the worst has passed.

I'm going to try going into work today. I didn't put on makeup, and I'm going in wearing a mask, as is the habit around here to do when one is ill. Best case scenario, they'll take pity on me and tell me to go home. ;)

If they don't, though, that's okay too. I was just hoping I wouldn't have to push myself today, but I think my teachers are nice enough to at least go easy on me.

Eep! o.o

Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:34 am
spinelstar: (hunny)
So... I sort of brushed it off when my schools started handing out fliers and all of my teachers kept talking about the impending INFLUENZA. I figured, every school worries about sick kids, and hands out health fliers; they probably do it even more so in Japan.

But, um. I've just been informed that 13 students in my 2nd-year class are absent today. That's... kind of almost half of them. O_o

I have no idea if this is usual or not, but I sure don't remember anything like that happening when I was back in junior high school.

Luckily, I am not feeling sick or anything as of yet. And I'm hoping this is as bad as it will get, and the outbreak among my students will start calming down.

Poor things. :(
spinelstar: (mozart livejournal)
Ack! I meant to read all those things people posted in response to yesterday's DE, but unexpected stuff kept getting in the way. I'll try to get to them at work tomorrow, maybe... Anyone is welcome to poke me as a reminder whenever. And anyone is still welcome to post on it. :3

So, considering how much I didn't feel like going into work this morning, and how annoyed I was that I had to do a class I wasn't expecting and had to help the third-years write compositions after school, I had a really good day today. The class was all the second-years together, and the teacher's nice and speaks really good English, even if I feel like her lesson plans are a bit haphazard sometimes. Today the students seemed more eager to talk to me (they're slowly getting used to me, and I'm slowly feeling less shy >.<), and when I assaulted them at random with the questions we were working on, they were able to answer me without any trouble. I love it when they get creative with the answers.

It was fun working with the third-years, too, after school. My teacher doesn't have me assist in their class much (I have no idea why), so it was nice to actually get to work with them. They're not very good at speaking, so I was pleasantly surprised by their writing capabilities. And I feel like I got a bit of a chance to show them that it's not so hard to talk to me.

Also, I couldn't help feeling a little proud of myself that I was successfully able to translate the six sets of instructions they were given for said compositions. XD It was like being back in translation classes in college!

So, yeah. That was my day. Tonight I went shopping for supplies for my elementary school class.

OMIGOSH less than a week before I leave for Tokyo, and then a week from tomorrow I'll be on a plane home! O.O
spinelstar: (Default)
Watching someone have a heart attack is not fun.

I had a meeting this afternoon with some of the other English teachers in my town, at a junior high school on the other side of town. So the other two ALTs for Minamiise were there, which made it a little less scary. The meeting went really well, and I was happy with what my elementary school teachers had to say about the lessons I'd been doing in their classes.

We were just wrapping up, when the principal from the school we were at (who was attending our meeting for some reason) started moaning and convulsing, and collapsed.

He turned blue in the face, but he started gasping for breath after about fifteen seconds. And he came to, but he was delerious and started struggling, so the other teachers had to hold him down to keep him from getting up. He was moaning a lot, but honestly I was really glad for that because it meant he was breathing and he was fine.

The closest hospital to that school doesn't have an ambulance, so they actually called for the one by my junior high, I guess. (Or maybe one just north in Ise?) It took them what seemed like forever to get there, but once they did, they seemed to be able to calm him down really quickly. Less than five minutes later, he was sitting up and talking like normal.

I was kind of shaken up, but really only because it startled me at first. The way that everyone handled the situation-- calmly, people stepping up where they were needed-- and the fact that he was breathing again meant that the situation ended up as good as it possibly could have.

I'm just so glad he was okay. I'll be anxious to hear from Darren (that school's ALT) how he's doing.
spinelstar: (Tamaki towel)
With the food thing, that is.

The other teachers at my jr. high often bring in different types of food to share with everyone, especially if they've gone somewhere interesting recently. This morning I was offered some sort of dango. I don't know what type of dango it was, but they'd given it to me once before, and I already knew I didn't like it. I don't know why I let her give me one anyway; I guess it just seemed easier than saying no. But I literally gagged while I was trying to swallow it down. I'm sorry, those things are effing disgusting. Japanese people claim they're sweet, but they're not, hardly at all anyway, but they're not really anything else either. They're just gooey and disgusting and they're dipped in something that reminds me of molasses, except again it's hardly sweet at all. I hate them and I'm never eating them again.

And then today I couldn't finish my lunch. I couldn't even get close. I didn't finish a single plate of the three that they gave me. The food wasn't even that bad; it certainly wasn't the worst stuff they'd given me. But I felt my gag reflex trying to kick in again while I was sipping at the miso soup, and I gave up. I just couldn't do it. But I continued to try to pick at my food a little, feeling kind of helpless.

I've decided that Japanese food is like English food. (At least the plain sort of food they give you at a school lunch... Not the nice gourmet kind of Japanese food.) It's soggy and heavy and bland, except it's even worse because it's stuff you wouldn't recognize and they don't ever have salt at the table. I would kill to be able to pour some soy sauce on all that damn white rice they give me, without them looking at me funny. That's how my dad eats rice, that's how I grew up eating rice, and plain white rice tastes like absolutely nothing; why even bother putting it in your mouth?

Anyway, it was at this point (while I was still picking at it) that my English teacher sat down, and he ate for a while before telling me (in English), "If you're not hungry, you don't have to finish." Needless to say, I was really embarrassed, but I couldn't really do anything about it. I mentioned I didn't know why I wasn't hungry today. He politely pointed out that we were eating a little earlier than usual, because of a change in the schedule this week. After I put my tray away, I went into the bathroom and cried. I was just embarrassed, and kind of touched in a way because Niwa-sensei noticed and was being so nice about it.

I'm okay now, but I still have a bit of a lump in my throat. I'm not quite feeling well. Nothing's really wrong, but for some reason I have no appetite. I'm at that place where I can't even imagine eating anything, not even food I like. And it's just embarrassing, because my food is still sitting outside just barely picked at, and the students are all walking by and can probably guess that it was mine...

Oh, well. I tried.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be feeling better, and can finish my food. But at least I know they'll feel sorry for me, instead of thinking I'm rude, if I can't.
spinelstar: (lysol)
I don't want to spam the backroom with another post, but I have to apologize again for not coming back full-force when I said I was going to. So pass this along if anyone's asking after me, okay? (Not sure why they would, but if they are...) I'm really sorry. T.T

Fridays are difficult because I don't have access to my computer at my elementary school, and I tend to be worn out from the liveliness of the kids and the accumulation of fatigue from the whole week by the time I get home.

And then this Saturday, we went to celebrate someone's birthday and were out all night at this stupid bar. Of course I was driving for the other JET in my town (because I don't drink and he wanted to), and of course he got totally wasted, and of course he threw up on the way back after 45+ minutes of winding mountain roads. He got most of it out the window but there was still some cleaning up to do... He felt really, really horrible about it, though, so I tried not to give him too hard a time. He basically spent all of today trying to make it up to me by going with me to get cleaning supplies so he could clean it up for me a third time, to try to make sure it was all completely gone. I'm not positive that it is, but he offered to pay if I decide I need to get it cleaned professionally.

Anyway. So it's been a rough, busy weekend for me.

This week I have to put together a presentation on Martin Luther King, Jr. for my third-years at my junior high. So I imagine I'll be pretty busy with that between classes for the next two days, and probably after school as well. But hopefully things will have calmed down by the end of the week. Hopefully. *crosses fingers*

I love you guys. ♥ *flops*
spinelstar: (ignorance is bliss)
Wow, I just up and disappeared for two days without meaning to.

First I went to Meiwa to go shopping on Thursday night, because I was told that I would need sports wear and tennis shoes for my elementary school the next day. I'm glad I already had track pants, because even finding a stinkin' t-shirt that fit well was a project! T.T

So then Friday I never got a chance to log onto my computer, because I was out with the kids all day, either watching them practice for their sports day or giving a small lesson.

And then Friday night was my company party. As soon as I got home, I had to take a shower and get ready, because one of my teachers came to pick up me and the other teacher who lives in my building at 6. The party itself was fun! I was a little worried, because it's not bad etiquette at Japanese drinking parties to get drunk, and I've heard from other JETs that sometimes their coworkers get a little out of hand. But mine seem pretty chill-- literally the most interesting occurrence of the night was that my principal went and lay down on the floor for a little while. (Fear my proper-but-awkward-sounding English!) The food was really good, too: Japanese-style Chinese food (which in no way at all resembles American-style Chinese food. And I have yet to try real Chinese food). There wasn't anything they gave me that I didn't want to eat, which is extremely rare for me.

So I was glad I went! They also asked me to say a few words, since we were celebrating the new term and I'm one of the big changes. I gave it in half-English, and half-Japanese. I could have probably done it in all Japanese, but I didn't want to mess up when I was trying to say how kind they'd all been to me. My English teacher was able to translate that part just fine for everyone. :)

Anyways... It seems I'll be gone again today during prime RPing time... I'm going back up to Ise to hang out with some of the ALT girls from the JET Programme. They have this club they apparently call "Stitch n Bitch." XD So I'm going to learn how to knit!

Love you all! I'll try to get caught up on tags when I get back tonight at the latest! ♥
spinelstar: (me!)
Today's been good so far... Tomorrow's going to be my busy day, apparently. Six classes, probably. But today I just had two classes of second-years.

I'm provided with the school lunch every day, which I eat with the other teachers in the staff room. I feel obliged to eat the whole thing every day, because the other teachers always do and I don't want to seem ungrateful. But the amount of food they give me combined with the fact that I'm a picky eater has made that kind of difficult. Seriously, I don't know how they all eat the whole thing every day... And they're always so fast, too. I must have a small stomach and a really slow metabolism. After the first school lunch I wasn't hungry again until 9:00pm that evening!

I've been proud of myself, though, because there's only been one time so far that I haven't eaten all of it. And I think that I'll actually grow to like plain milk before the month is out, because that's always what comes with it.

So anyways, today there was a salad-looking-thing and rice, and then there was this bowl of burnt-orange liquid stacked high with minced vegetables and I think some meat scraps, but mostly tofu. I sighed a little bit on the inside and went for the salad.

It wasn't so good. I think it was spinach, and there were just some other vegetables in it that weren't very good (I have no idea what they were) that just made it seem heavy and soggy somehow. So I gave up on that for a little while and went for the orange stuff.

It was surprisingly amazingly good.

It had a creamy, almost tomato-/vegetable-soupy taste, and the tofu absorbed that really nicely. I found myself shoving it into my mouth without stopping to think about it, much like I would with spaghetti or a cheeseburger back home. It was easily the best thing I've had at the school lunch so far.

But I still had to eat the salad. :(

Word Phrase of the Day: Sei, na. (presumably the first word is written with the kanji 正) It basically means, "That's correct."
spinelstar: (play now)
I had a great day at my elementary school today! I thought it was going to be a lot harder than my Jr. High, because none of the teachers at the elementary schools actually specialize in English. But a lot of the them were actually pretty good at speaking English, and even when they didn't, for some reason my Japanese didn't seem to be as much fail today as it usually is.

But that's not the interesting part!

I was told that the kids were practicing for their sports festival, so I figured there would be a pretty big chunk of time where I'd have nothing to do, except maybe look out the window at them running around outside. But then later I noticed they weren't outside anymore, and the principal comes up to me and asks, "Do you like to dance?"

I was like, "Uh... I guess?" "Do you like Michael Jackson?" "Uh... Yes?"

Turns out that's something the kids are doing for their sports festival-- dancing to Michael Jackson songs! (He's a huge thing over here; I don't get it, lol.) So they take me to the gym and all of the students and some of the teachers are all dancing to "Beat it"! It was pretty much the most adorable thing EVER. I even joined in a little bit, even though I was still in my work clothes.

I am definitely going to this school's sports festival.

I don't care that it's on a Sunday. (Plus, if I do, I get to take that next Tuesday off!)

So, yeah! I had a good day. Tomorrow's back to the junior high, where I'm starting to feel myself slip into more of a routine.
spinelstar: (Default)
Today was my first day with the second-year students! I already did my self-introduction for the first-years on Friday, and I have to say, there's a huge difference between the two classes. We'll see how the third-years are on Wednesday. My first day at an elementary school is tomorrow.

I think the first-years are going to be my favorite class on my bad days. They're pretty much sweet and angelic, and really enthusiastic. (Very "genki," as the English teacher put it.) The girls are more outgoing than the guys, and they all asked me a lot of questions.

But I think overall I'm going to have more fun with my second-years, at least on the days when I'm in a good mood. Which is to say, they amuse me. I walked into the classroom (which really is hot, by the way) and several of the students were slumped over their desks. They didn't seem afraid to complain about how hot it was and how tired they were, and some of them seemed distracted a couple of times during the lesson. Right now, I find it adorable and charming. I'm sure it might get frustrating to me later.

But they (understandably) know more English than the first-years, and they don't seem as afraid of trying to say things. They were told to introduce themselves to me, and it seemed pretty easy for them. One kid got up and said, "Hello. My name is Roberto. I'm from Mexico." You know kids are at least mildly interested in a language when they make jokes in it, right?

Also, the teacher for the second-years is a young woman who works here part-time, who can't be much older than me. She speaks English almost fluently-- I think she spent a few years in LA? Anyway, she's really easy to talk to and really nice. I'm really glad I get to work with her.

So... that's today's report! Back to work, I guess.
spinelstar: (Default)
The school assembly today went well! Or at least, I feel okay about it. As usual, I was nervous and I probably spoke a little too fast, and I forgot some stuff, but I in no way froze up or made a total fool of myself. So that's good! Of course, they told me to speak in simple English, so that made it a little easier. We'll see how it goes at my elementary schools when I have to do it in Japanese...

In any case, it was probably good that I didn't go on too long. The students had to sit on the floor in the gym for the assembly, and they looked really bored and kind of uncomfortable. (I remember those days, when I had to sit through school assemblies in the gym...) It was really hot in there, too; we were all sweating by the end.

But I do have to say, I found it absolutely adorable when they had to stand and sing the school song. At first I thought it was the national anthem or something, but then I kept hearing the school's name. It was really long, too! I was impressed that they all seemed to know the words to the whole thing.

I understood parts of the assembly... The teachers speak slower and clearer when they're addressing the students, which makes it a little easier. I heard them warning the students that they found a viper near the locker room where they put their shoes, so they need to be careful. I was glad I was able to understand that; that's a good piece of information to know.

Anyways, that's been my day so far. The kids are all cleaning the classrooms, and I'm back here at my desk. I printed my pictures for my self-introduction on Friday. I might write some notes on the back of them so I don't forget anything.

I'll try to start tagging back if I get a spare moment. Love all you guys! ♥

Word of the Day: Mamushi = viper! (See, I actually learned something from Prince of Tennis! XD Fssssshuuuuu...)

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