About Me

Ikawa-cho Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken, Japan
I was recently accepted by the JET program as an assistant English teacher in Japan for one year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

keeping you updated one post at a time

what's up blog,
i am just sitting at my desk in the office today. it is midterm test day, so all i have to do today is read some english prompts out loud for the listening part of the test. thought i would make a most since i have checked every website that i know about and read all of the interesting news that i could find today. joe lieberman is a real jerk, isn't he?
yesterday i went to an english middle school teacher's conference in komatsushima, a little bit south of tokushima city. there was a mock class demonstration that i watched. i had a lot of problems with the way they did things and i could have taken the demonstration as a good lesson of what NOT to do in my english classes. for example, they played background music while the students were chanting phrases, which i thought was miserable. also he assisant language teacher (foreign teacher, my job) basically just stood there the entire time. however, after the lesson, i turned to my teaching partner and said that the only thing i liked was that the girl doing my job was wearing jeans, and that i should be able to wear jeans, which made my teacher laugh a lot.
after the $8 standard bento lunch, the linguistics professor who gave the talk after mayuko's prefectural speech contest gave a two hour and change talk about different aspects of language and what we need to do to be effective language teachers. he said we have to go beyond the purely grammatical and syntactical, into the social and discourse and strategic uses of language. stuff like giving information in a logical order, putting paragraphs together, saying the right thing at appropriate times, and body language were all covered. there were lots of activities and games for the foreign teachers to do with the japanese teachers. for example, the best ice-breaking game was for a teacher to communicate their phone number with a key that read 1 - Lake, 2 - Rake, 3 - Lice, 4 - Rice etc etc since japanese people have an incredibly tough time with the difference between these noises, which is caused by the fact that the english alphabet and its noises is never formally taught. english education starts in middle school (next year it officially will begin in 5th and 6th grade) with no formal phonetic training. one teacher asked a question about phonetics and how we should teach it, since it isnt on the program at all, and the professor said to start young. another teacher asked how all of the lovely theory applies to testing, and the professor said it really didn't, so teaching it would be difficult. it was a fulfilling day where i got to meet some other english teachers.
i have been going to badminton on mondays and karate on wednesdays on fridays, which is good. i have karate tonight! also i have been slowly doing the JET program's advanced level japanese lessons, which can be frustrating but good. due december 10th is a standardized test of 50 questions, the first of 6 such tests that are given throughout the year. if i get them all in on time and get at least 70% of the answers right, i get a certificate that says i passed the course or something.
friday i have to get up early to catch a 6:30 train to the city, where there is another foreign teacher conference, this time for hallowe'en where we all have to give hallowe'en themes lessons. i have no costume and no idea for a costume, so i will probably just wear a tracksuit and pretend to be cool.
i have to work this sunday, because there are classes in the morning and we are going to a cultural presentation, something kabuki related, in the afternoon. for this everyone gets monday off, but i have to go to the mountain school monday afternoon, so i still have to do that, and to replace that work i am getting wednesday afternoon off. tuesday is National Culture Day so that is a holiday and everyone gets off. next thursday is another class demonstration in another city, so i need to go there in the afternoon. it is a busy, confusing 2 weeks. but then october is very done with and november will have some of it gone already. can you tell i want to come home yet?
tonight i think i have to go buy some more recycling bags, i forgot to buy the one for cans so they have just been piling up in the sink. also the karate tournament application is due today, and that costs $25. the train ride to the city is about $30, and that may or may not be reimbursed. i broke a $100 on lunch yesterday, so i think i can get the recycling bags, some bananas, the karate thing, and the train ride all without having to take out some more money. but this sounds risky and difficult, plus the lunch on friday is another $8 standard bento. so i will probably have to get some cash later or tomorrow. oh well.
japanese people rarely drink water. its always green tea, coffee, soup or sugar drinks.
today lunch is sugar covered bread with a little omlette and vegetable soup. one of the less impressive lunches i have seen. curry and fried are more appreciated.
that is everything i can think of for today.

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