William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

137. Wet Wednesday

Tonight we're celebrating L.'s birthday - we'll be meeting at Fuji Grand in about 90 minutes. We may go see Iron Man - word is it's pretty good.

This morning was dark, dreary, and rainy. It made me wonder what the consequences would be if I just didn't show up. I'd also woken up just minutes before my alarm. Don't you hate it when that happens?

When I got to the teacher's room, I sat next to F., and she asked how I was. I gave about the most dispirited "OK" reply imaginable.

"It's one of those mornings, isn't it?"
"I had to call two people who I know love me."

I get into class, and R-kun announces that he doesn't want to do our midterm test. Well, lah de dah. "You know what? I don't want to give the test, either. I want to go back to my room, have a beer, then catch an airplane and fly back to Canada."

Well, that shut him up. The students should realize that we're just as trapped and helpless as they are.

So here I am, teaching Year 3, and administering a test. The first item on it has students pick out the short vowel sound from a series of words; for example: "Sky, Flute, Cup" - you're supposed to pick cup. My own Grade 3 teacher taught us that long vowels are the ones that sound like letters, whereas the short vowels don't - but today I realized that was a gross oversimplification. What about "flute?" - we don't have a letter "oo." It's more about duration - hence the terms long and short! And this snapped into my mind after I'd given that set of questions! So I clarified that it was about duration, and went back and read it all again. It's my PEI education rearing its ugly head again.

Small mercies abounded today - the Year 9 math class was cancelled for their monthly Japanese-curriculum tests. Years 8 and 7 weren't keen on math, either. Actually, the only class I can really be said to teach is Year 7. Years 8 and 9 basically amount to me rediscovering algebra and geometry on the blackboard while the students whiz through their worksheets. The Year 7s still have enough to learn that I don't have to appear completely incompetent.

I'm actually thankful for teaching junior high math, as it will really help me out next summer. I would have been going in after nine years without math - having this experience, it'll only be about five months. Science too, has taught me critical thinking - between hearing myself talk and the questions that the children ask, I've discovered innumerable gaps in my conceptions of things, and I'm starting to be my own watchdog. I do fudge things sometimes, but I try my best to be honest about that, because science and authority should have nothing to do with each other - nothing ever happens "because I said so."

I was having fun using basic algebra to find angles and their complements and supplements, even though the students didn't give a crap. I suppose I could be doing more to "make it interesting." It's hard when I don't even really know the material, but maybe I'll find a way. Sometimes, though, I'm just stalling for time until the bells ring.

When I left for lunch, the sun was back and beaming brightly. It was very nice to see it again.
Tags: classes, education, japan, learning, math, phonics, school, teaching, tests
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