Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day in the Life

I figure that you all are interested in my daily teaching life, so I thought I'd chronicle a day at each school. As of today, Friday October 8th, it will take me 14 school days to make a full rotation through each school. Just to give you a taste of the crazy 6-school rotation, I'll share my October school visit schedule with you. Each letter refers to a school (A, B, C are JHS, and D, E, F are Elementary Schools). All schools are basically in pairs, so A-D, B-E, C-F. So starting Oct. 1st: E,..., E, F, D, E, F,...X, F, F, A, B,...B, B, B, C, C,...C, D, E, E, F. So yes, lots of changing. I put extended periods for weekends and an X for the National Holiday. As you can tell, I move around a lot, meaning I'm usually bringing everything I need to and from work with me. The upside is that I can say that I'm so cool that I get 7 desks.

Ok, so a day in the life: Friday, October 8th. School F

Every morning I wake up around 6:45am. The first thing I do is put my futon (my bed) away. I sleep on a mattress-like pad and below that is a foam pad. So in total, I sleep about 3-5 inches above my lovely tatami mat floor. After storing my bed, you must or it will start to mold, I go through my beautification routine. It's funny because in college, I spent much more time on appearance. Now, it takes me about 15 minutes total to get ready. I'm sure once winter hits, it will take me longer to get ready, as I will need to dress in more layers (I’m not looking forward to the cold weather). Next is breakfast, usually consisting of imported granola, a banana, and an English muffin. Yes, very "American" I know, but that's fine by me. Then, I have about 30 minutes to catch up on the news that I missed and chat with friends and family, since it is usually 3-4 pm in Portland. Today, I left at 8:05am, as I had a 10-minute drive to school, and my day officially starts at 8:20am.

I had an extremely easy day today. I didn't have a first period class, so I cut up some stickers, talked with the other staff members in the office, and even tried my hand at a Japanese "can you spot the 5 things that have changed?" game. I only saw one thing. Then the principal tried and about 10 minutes later, he spotted them all. Impressive.

For second period, I gave a self-introduction to 3rd graders. I was surprised at the English level of this class. There was a boy who asked me questions in English, mainly questions involving “like or dislike”. The reason I’m so impressed is that this boy is taking private English lessons once a week and he is up to things he will learn in 5th and 6th grade. After that class, there was a 45-minute break, so I went outside and played Onigokori, aka tag, with the 3rd graders. I had a free period for 3rd period, so I went over some 5th and 6th grade lessons that I will have on Tuesday. Next, I had 4th period with a 4th grade class, yet again, another self-introduction lesson. After 4th period was lunch! There was yakisoba, squid, a salad consisting of: kiribashidaikon, carrots, bean sprouts, and cucumber, a hot dog bun (“bread”), a blueberry jelly for dessert, and milk. It was a tough day to not eat pork, as the yakisoba was full of it. I also opted to pass on the squid; I figure that if I’m not going to eat it, then someone will. I ended up having a cliff bar halfway through the afternoon to subside my hunger pains from only having milk, a hotdog bun, a salad, and a blueberry jelly.

After lunch is recess! At recess I made my usual rounds, played some soccer with 4th graders, tag with 1st-3rd graders, and then kickball with 3rd-4th graders. After recess is cleaning time. For 15 minutes students (in groups of 5) are assigned to a certain portion of the school to clean. I helped sweep a 4th grade classroom. Once cleaning time was over, I had a 10-minute break and was “summoned” by some 4th graders. They literally come to the teachers’ room and escort you to the classroom. So, once self-introduction #46 was complete, I headed back to the teachers’ room to finish the day. I didn't have a 6th period (remember, I told you I had an easy day). So, sadly I just sat in the teachers’ room researching my day trip to Nagoya (apple store, foreign food store, and some shopping). I ended up typing about half of this post on my phone during my free time. Consequently, I could hear the other office staff talking about me literally behind my back about using my phone. If the school computers weren’t so slow I would’ve just typed it on the school computer, and no one would’ve known, but typing on my phone, oh man, that got a response (person 1: “what is she doing” person 2: “ah, she is using her cell phone”, person 1 looks at the board to see I have no more plans for the day, person 1 says, “Amanda, you are done for the day, but you need to have a meeting with the other teachers”). Oh well, I was being productive with my time, since I was lucky enough to have a predecessor who planned everything in great detail, my job has been pretty simple so far. Basically, having 3 free periods in a day is a little much; I like 2 free periods, or even 1.

So, finally after my meetings with the teachers, I left at 5:15, or about 70 minutes later than I’m supposed to (the good news is that I get to leave that early on another day!).

There you have it. Day 1 of “A Day in the Life of Amanda”.

Ah, the comforts of home!

Random Questions from my self-introductions: What color is the water in America? What time is it in America? Why isn’t the Statue of Liberty holding ice cream?

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