The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Crazy Snow

Japan has apparently been making the news internationally because of the crazy amount of snow that has been falling in and around Niigata prefecture. They have 4 metres of snow in some places. I don't have a TV but I saw a picture in the newspaper of guys from the army digging out houses and rescuing people. Just so that you're not worried about me (I've been flooded with worried calls and emails... okay, I got one) I'm in Fukushima and we haven't had much snow.

Today is Friday but I have the day off, which is nice. I have to work tomorrow, but then I have Sunday off again. They seem reluctant to ever let us have 2 holidays back-to-back, which is kind of strange, but I'm so thankful to be off today that I'm not complaining. I finally met my students, and they are really nice and very smart. I have 2 groups. My English class has 4 people, and their English is quite high. My technical class (the group I am trying to teach how to become teachers) is also 4 but is considerably less fluent. But, they are also a bit more fun because of their personalities.

Nothing else to report. I'm really just working, planning for my lessons, and sleeping!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

First Week at JICA

Wow, it's been a pretty crazy week. I haven't done much "work" per se but I have been bowled over with tons and tons of information during this week-long orientation period. I have been trying to sort out which fraction of it I can ignore, and which part I need to remember, and then trying to remember it. Also, the experienced teachers have been looking quite busy making preparations for their classes - they all seem to be making print-outs, copying things, making up spreadsheets, picking textbooks to use, etc. etc. Meanwhile, I'm sitting there listening to how absolutely, insanely busy I'm going to be over the next 10 weeks, wishing I could actually understand enough of my duties to go ahead and make some preparations.

Anyway, the other teachers I'm going to be working with are really great. They have kind of put me to shame ... they have amassed huge quantities of books, photos, games, toys, and other useful classroom resources over the years, and I showed up with ... um, nothing, I guess. But they are very generous, it seems, so I will be able to share resources with them.

It's kind of scary to have come from my last job (where the objective was, firstly to have fun, and then hopefully to teach them something) to this job, where we are preparing young people to go off and live by themselves in some village in rural Africa for 2 years. If I do a lousy job, my students are *really* going to suffer for it. So the pressure is on to drive these guys to really achieve a lot, and I have to make sure my lesson plans can keep up with them! It's a very new experience for me.

Anyway, it all looks pretty daunting because it's just the first week, but once I start actually working I think things will get better. I will try and keep everyone updated.