Published: August 30th 2012August 30th 2012
Woke up half an hour before my alarm, for once not to the sound of electric hedge-clippers, circular saws or hammers, or the old man who rides his motorbike like an 18year old adrenalin junkie.
Off to school to prepare for another Orientation Day or ‘New Mummies’ day. I was meant to have 20 of my 22 Pandas back today, but luckily there were only 18, still, the classroom was fuller than it had been in weeks. Of course, 10 of them showed up at 10.05am, and so began a mad rush to get them ready (luckily they stayed in their before/after-school uniform today, otherwise it would have been impossible).
When the new mums piled into the room, we started our Mat Time, and I was very relieved when the parents laughed at the kids for nearly all of them replied to ‘how are you today?’ with ‘angry’. If I was one of these parents, I would be worried that we were training angry Pandas!
We sang our songs, and even though half the class had never even heard ‘Bugs and Beetles’ before, they were able to sing it and do the dance moves. Yes, my Pandas are that good! I don’t know why Miki and Mrs Nagata are so worried about the Christmas concert, when these kids could learn a simple song the day before the concert and still look good!
We started our activity of crazy-hand-glasses. Each student had a glasses-trace-out, and had to trac their own hands, colour them in, and stick them onto the glasses. Again I gave out sheets to the new kids and they coloured in. The only thing that went ‘wrong’ today, was a new child reached for a Panda’s scissors, and he yelled ‘Dame!’ (which means ‘bad’) at him. I was there at just the right moment and was able to tell him to share his scissors, which he reluctantly did.
Long after the new parents (I should say potential new parents!) left, the Pandas were still doing their crazy-hand-glasses, and even longer after that I was cutting out the eye-holes and stringing rubber bands through the sides.
It was 11.45am by the time I finished stringing together glasses, so after a quick photo (photos are never quick when you’re dealing with kids), we started lunch early. As Miki was back today, she brought some American candy from her trip, Mini Butterflies which I shared out with the Pandas and the Bears. The non-summer schedule Pandas quickly learnt from the summer schedule Pandas that doing the cleaning entitles you to an extra lolly, and so the classroom was spotless and scrubbed all over!
I gave some dried fruits and a card to Kaori Sensei and her daughters as appreciation for all their work this week. Kaori is so calm and relaxed, and she gets everything done properly and always with a smile. Workers like that are priceless!
I had all the kids out on time for the buses today, despite being given no notice of who was pick-up and who was a bus-kid. Then I lay down to watch Aladdin with the kids, and five of the kids made themselves comfortable sitting on my back and legs!
The last kids were out at 2.27, and by 2.30pm I was out the door, dodging Miki’s questions of whether I had cleaned the classroom. (Technically the Pandas had!)
A brief pit-stop at home before I was back at school and teaching Juku. Somehow, in my worst class of all, I have managed to get two extra students, who escalate the problem even further. The three trouble-makers are triplets. One by himself was bad enough. Another teacher told me not to complain about him, because the three of them together are just torture, but somehow the other two of the triplets have ended up in my class also. In one of my good classes, a very weak boy has been put in, and rather than rising to the occasion, he just disrupts the other children. It’s probably because he knows he was kicked out of the last class for being too weak. I feel like I’ve been given the sharp end of the stick, but although I want to just refuse to teach them and toss them into someone else’s lap, I keep telling myself that I must rise to the occasion and overcome it. That being said, I’m still grumpy!
I did the same lesson as Tuesday, and we talked about what we did on our summer holidays. Except for my worst class, in which we just read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. I translated the whole thing into Japanese, which I was very proud of, but also read it to them in English. I hope they can learn one word a week, and this week’s word was ‘egg’. (Ham is ham in Japanese!) Three of my students went to Australia on their summer holidays, a brother and sister to Cairns, and a girl (older sister of one of my Pandas) went to the Gold Coast for homestay. This girl said the best thing on the trip (apart from her host family’s gigantic backyard pool!) was rainbow ice-cream. I never noticed, but there is no rainbow ice-cream in Japan!
Home for a massive tidy-up and to start collecting my things together for my big climb tomorrow!