Since it’s a new school year, I have new nursery school students. My new students are the younger nursery school kids who never really saw me last year. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I can repeat my lessons now, but it’s a curse because they are new kids, and I have to explain how to play each game. I have two nursery schools now (the third one closed down), Jikou and Tobu. Jikou was my favorite nursery, but now the kids are just so-so. I’m not sure if they just haven’t warmed up to me yet, are uncomfortable with English, or what exactly, but they are quiet. It’s such a change from my last group of kids there. Plus, they don’t understand the games, so I have to explain the best I can in my broken Japanese. For example, yesterday we played Duck, Duck, Goose, and the kids had absolutely NO idea what was going on. Whenever I couldn’t explain well enough, the nursery school teacher stepped in and tried to explain, but the kids still seemed really lost. Two kids cried, and several of them wouldn’t run. Blarg. Epic fail. At Tobu, I still have several of my old students since the preschool class there was a combination of four and five-year-olds, so they remember and understand the games and generally just seem happier.
Last Wednesday, I went to the ES. Since it was spring break, I haven’t had recess and played with those kids in three weeks. I’m pretty sure they bottled up extra energy just for me! It was raining, so we didn’t get to go outside and play. All I had to do was step outside of the teacher’s room, and I had kids swarming me. We went upstairs to some classrooms that are never used, and I soon became a human jungle gym. I had kids hanging off of me, climbing, tickling, pinching, and pulling on me. Twenty excited and hyper kids is NOT a fair fight against one out-of-shape foreigner! Even whenever I collapsed to the floor, they still continued to climb on me! We finally started playing daikon-nuki, a game that I previously blogged about but didn’t know the name of. This game is simple and fun. It involves all of the kids lying belly down on the floor and holding hands while two other kids try to break them apart by pulling on their feet. I always have to pull the kids apart because no one can even move me, and it’s not really a fair fight. I love that game, but by the end of it my arms were sore from pulling kids apart.
I didn’t have any classes that afternoon, so I just stayed at my desk. However, the principal came up to me around 2:45 and said that the teachers were having a meeting at 3:00. I said okay, but what I didn’t realize was that this was a subtle hint for me to leave. He was trying to gently tell me to get the heck out, but the Japanese are Japanese, so they won’t be direct about it. I didn’t really think anything about it. Sometimes at the JHS I just have to sit through meetings, so I thought the same thing would happen. However, I heard him on the phone and saying my name. He had called the BOE to see if it was okay for me to go there while they had their meeting. My ES principal doesn’t speak English, and I barely speak Japanese, but I finally understood that he was telling me to go to the BOE. lol! I got kicked out of the ES and banished to the BOE. And it just so happened that that was the day I walked to school, so I had to walk to the BOE. Luckily, it was a beautiful spring day, so I enjoyed a nice twenty minute walk.
Thursday morning I woke up with an awesome dream fresh on my mind. It was about my cousin (who shall remain nameless). I dreamed she was a midget and getting married. Her dress was ridiculously white and puffy with lots of beads and glitter. For whatever reason, my ninety year old grandmother was walking her up the aisle, but my cousin passed out halfway up. As she tumbled to the floor, she pulled grandmother down with her. Everyone rushed over to check on Grandmother (who was fine), and they continued to walk up the aisle, but my cousin kept fainting during the entire wedding. I LOVE random crazy dream!
I had three classes on Thursday, and all of them were really fun. I’m not sure if Mr. Fujiwara is attempting to make class more fun, it’s just the beginning of the year, or what exactly, but we’ve been playing a lot of games in class. A basic pattern of class is the following:
15 minutes- review homework, repeat after Melissa-sensei
20 minutes- learn new info, repeat after Melissa-sensei, practice reading
15 minutes- game time!
We’ve played board races, spelling races, translate into English/Japanese races, and it’s been a lot more interesting than classes were last year. I think I’ve only had to wake up one student, and compared to last year, that is a VAST improvement.
Thursday afternoon I went upstairs for something, and I caught a group of students looking at my English board. This always makes me very happy! However, when I went over to talk to them about Easter bunnies and eggs, they suddenly pretended like they weren’t looking at the board. I get it…..the “too cool for school” routine. Whatever.
Friday was a very awkward day at school for me. All teachers and students were supposed to go hiking as a beginning of the year bonding experience, but sadly it rained. Therefore, we had to play ice breaker games in the gym. I’m not a big fan of ice breakers in English, let alone in a language that I don’t understand! Blarg! It started off with boring speeches from the principal and vice principal. Then each sports club (kendo, baseball, tennis, judo, brass band, track, and volleyball) had to put on a little intro and persuade the new first graders to join their club. By far the volleyball team’s performance was the best. They chose three teachers to play against the team, and it was quite comical! The rest of the day was filled with games that I didn’t understand but pretended to, and then lunch and break time were nice. Everyone ate lunch together in the gym in big circles. I ate with a mixed group of first, second, and third graders. Several of them offered me candies and chocolates, which absolutely melted my heart! It really makes me feel super special when my students do things like that! During break, everyone stayed in the gym and played. Most tossed around volleyballs, kicked soccer balls, or shot basketballs. I was with a group of girls stretching, and one of the third graders was ridiculously flexible. She could completely spread her legs in the splits position and then lift her body up by her hands. Crazy! I also tossed around a volleyball for a while with other girls. As I spiked the ball out of our loop again and again I think they realized just how bad the foreigner is at sports……..
Friday night was a wonderfully lazy night. Ian went to a beer pong party at a friend’s house, but I had absolutely no desire to go, and I was skyping my brother and sister that night. As soon as I got home, I put on sweat pants crawled into bed. Heck yeah! It was a nice rainy evening, so I watched movies for the rest of the night until bed time.
I’ll catch up on the weekend in the next blog.