JET Programme · School

Conquering the First Week of Classes!

I did it! I made it through this week of first classes alive! I celebrated by sleeping in this morning until the late hour of 7 o’clock, all thanks to the ‘alarm clock’ of a dog singing the song of his people from across the street.

I chuckle every time I see this poster

Every day this past week I found myself exhausted, and by the time I got home in the evening, all I could think of was falling (literally) onto my futon and passing out. It was ridiculous actually, I couldn’t believe how much energy it took to function this week. Though I suppose doing 14 self-introduction classes of 50 minutes each, including being enthusiastic and ‘looking’ energetic every class can lower your HP pretty quickly. I can say now that I have a new found respect for all my teachers and lecturers that I had at school and college, how they were able to run classes every single day, for who knows how long, is impressive.

Interestingly, I have only been asked once so far if I can use chopsticks and if I have a boyfriend. Though I have already received one marriage proposal from a student, which was hilarious and quite sweet actually 😉

So I cannot remember if I have already mentioned this, but I have three high schools that I go to every week. Three times a week I am at my base school, and then on a Monday I go to the one visit school on an island that requires a 40 minutes boat ride to get to, and then on Wednesday I go to the other visit school on another island that is about a 35 minute bus ride to get to. No matter which day, or school, I have to travel to, I always find the scenery so beautiful and easy on the eyes – I almost fell asleep on the boat ride back to Onomichi the other day, the boat was effortlessly gliding over the water, making it a very comfortable and serene ride.

The one thing that I made the students do this week was fill out little info cards with their names, birthday, etc., so that I could get to know them a bit better and try to learn their names (I say that in the confidence that I will learn all 200 grade 11 students’ names by the end of the school year, so help me!). Some of the students went a bit further and drew little pictures for me, which is just plain awesome in my eyes as a first-time teacher. So here are two pictures of what I have received so far:

In case you are wondering, the thing around my neck is a name tag, required to be worn by all teachers
So I mentioned that I liked watching a certain anime during my self-introduction lesson. I then received this girl’s info card only to find that she had drawn an exact likeness of one of my favourite characters. My mind was blown that day.

At my one visit school, I was asked to read through and correct the spelling and grammar of the summer vacation writing assignment the students had to do. They had to write about who they would like to meet and why. Most of them that I read through were pretty good, apart from a few grammatical errors. But there was this one student’s piece who had me chuckling under my breath the whole time I was trying to read it.

He, well, I presume it was a he, wants to meet Sherlock Holmes, and I gather it is the Sherlock Holmes from the series that is set in New York, where Watson is played by Lucy Lu. Because by the end of the essay he was going into how Holmes was on drugs like cocaine and meths and his final paragraph went like this:

What the?

My chuckling had turned into laughter at this point, and the JTE came over to see what was going on. I showed her the essay and she just rolled her eyes and laughed, saying she would have to question the student to try and understand what he was trying to say. I think he should get credited for at least being creative about it, even if no one can understand what he was trying to say.

So my week has been quite exciting, exhausting and rewarding. Quite a mixed bag of feelings, but I think for the most part they are positive ones. I have a feeling that it is going to take a while for me not to feel exhausted after every day. The calligraphy teacher at my base school says that after about 3 months I should be fine… 3 months?!? Okay, that is a bit longer than expected, so in the meantime I need to source out some sort of energy supplement or something that will give me that extra boost during the day.

Oh yes, before I finish this post I must mention one more thing:

So on my two island visit schools, I have spotted quite a few cats around. Now even though the islands are part of Onomichi, I don’t want to add those cats to the cats I am already trying to count, albeit slowly, in the city. So, I am starting a second cat count called the “Official Island Cat Count”, to count all those cats I will see on a Monday and Wednesday when I go to my visit schools 🙂 So, without further ado:

Official Onomichi Cat Count: 8

Official Island Cat Count: 8

One of the cats on the island. I so wanted to pet it, but most of the cats are strays, so I didn’t want to risk having my arm shredded to pieces.
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5 thoughts on “Conquering the First Week of Classes!

    1. Thanks! That’s great to hear that you will be in Onomichi – I really love this city. The leaves are slowly starting to change different colours now as Autumn is just around the corner, so very soon it will be very, very pretty 🙂

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  1. I can understand writing an essay like that kid’s. I just finished my second semester of Japanese and we had to write and essay every month. I didn’t know what to write about one month, so I wrote about the yakuza and my pet giraffe getting into a fight in the local airport while I was at work in said airport. I’m sure my sensei had the same reaction, haha

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