Still, there are occasionally moments of awe and inspiration. For example, one of my students has suddenly started doing much better on his spelling tests. He had been one of the biggest problems in my class, but now, not so much. He’s eager and he applies himself. Tears welled up in my eyes as I marked one of his latest tests and stamped it with a red-ink Snoopy likeness that says “Good Job!” There are still a few holdouts that haven’t “clicked,” but I have hope for them. I’m often overjoyed when anything finally gets through to anyone.
And today in my class I noticed that one of my students was kneeling in front of her desk, and her chair was in the aisle. I attempted to intervene, but the kids told me that their Japanese teacher wanted them to push their chairs back into their desks when they got up. It was going on a “three strikes” basis, and they were even policing themselves – one or two more kids lost the use of their chairs during the course of the class! They even taught me a lesson; in the staff room later, I started being more careful to push my own chair in. (The aisles are narrow and the desks are tiny; every speck of space counts.)
Now that open lesson is over, the stress levels have gone down, but the apathy levels have gone way up. To combat this and to keep my sprits up during the 1,001 daily moments of reflecting on the relative pointlessness of my job, I’ve made this list of things to look forward to. Just for starters, every month from here on out has a holiday – the lack of any holiday made June especially trying. But most months have something else, too:
July – YMCA overnight camp; probable day care and pool duty the final week
August – Holidays! I’ve got two weeks off and I will be buying a Seishun Juhachi Kippu and also taking the ferry to Tokyo – we’ll see how things go!
September – There’ll be a sports festival; this should be at least a little interesting.
October – It looks like there’s some kind of field trip planned. That’ll be fun.
November – There’ll be a performance festival. These take a lot of preparation, but some classes are cancelled in the bargain.
December – Holidays!
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I’m only guaranteed to be here that long, but just in case:
January – Last Sankanbi (a special lesson that the parents attend; this is followed by a meeting with the parents). It’s also my birthday.
February – Has a few extra holidays, plus another performance festival.
March – Lots of parties and ceremonies and farewells, and some low-pressure day care time at the end.
I think I’ll survive. ;-) Off to see Indy!