Tuesday, 18 August 2009

My first day teaching

Above: My JHS office. My desk is in the foreground with the laptop.

Above: View from the office window.

Sweet jesus, I'm knackered! The killer combination of Taiko last night, a bad night's sleep, and a hot and long day at work has left me sat here at 18:16 completely exhausted.

However, my fingers still work thankfully, so I can manage a couple of blog entries. Let's start with school then...

I started work today. It was very much a day of firsts. Well, every day is a day of firsts here, but it was certainly a lot more evident today.

My alarm went off at the unholy time of 6.45, and after a quick breakfast and shower, donned my suit for the opening ceremony of this new term at school. Although I don't usually sweat much, the crazy Japanese humidity (Japanese: mushiatsui, or むしあつい) had me rather clammy by the time I drove into the staff carpark. Buying a sweat rag was definately a wise move!

The ceremony caught me off-guard. I stood with the Principal while the students filed in, and after a brief introduction by the Principal, I took to the front of the hall to introduce myself in both English and Japanese. I'm used to standing in front of large crowds, but the butterflies were doing a conga inside me. Thankfully I didn't fluff my speech, and I turned from the microphone to much applause.

My schedule today (worked out by a complex and confusing series of cross-referenced tables) gave me just two lessons, both of which I used to introduce myself to the first-graders. It's true what is said about foreigners becoming celebrities in schools here, especially if you, like me, are tall or have big feet. The students wanted to arm wrestle me, compare hand or foot sizes, or try to jump higher than my height. I'm certain one student called me "Schwarzenegger" and another called me "Terminator." When I hummed the theme to the movie they erupted with laughter and cheering.

In my time between lessons I have been studying Japanese, drafting these blogs, and altering my introduction lesson for the classes I am to teach. Every Friday I am to visit two Elementary schools, and have a full day of lessons! I only hope I don't run out of genki (see blog) - a lifeless ALT wouldn't last 5 minutes with these kids!

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