Let me get back to the school for this post. The class dynamics have varied greatly through September into the beginning of October. It has been interesting to see when the students are really up for something versus when they just want to curl up and sleep. The teachers have been very busy as well. So, the school has just been a place where a bunch of tired and possibly cranky people congregate. Because of all the holidays and school events, it has been hard for the teachers to really keep all the classes on the same page.
Preparations are still going, especially for 1-E and 2-E. On the afternoon of October 18, a number of Australian students and teachers will be visiting Mito SHS. 1-E and 2-E will primarily be the students who will greet the guests as well as present something. 1-E is very busy, because they need to also prepare for presentations to elementary school students, which will take place in late October and early November.
In all of my classes, except for my first year general course students, I have instigated journal writing. I give the students a topic, preferably something in relation to the past or current lesson. They have about five minutes to write as I play a CD track or two. The students appreciate that most of my songs are more recent like Fall Out Boy’s “Thnks fr th Mmrs.” Some songs I play are actually ones that I don’t really like, but I think it’s good to give the students a nice variety instead of only playing those that I like. I have bit of fun with the journal topics. For 1-E, I try to give topics that will have the students get used to writing, so the topics deal more with the “what.” For my second year students including 2-E, I want the students to express more on how they feel. This focuses more on the “why.” For 3-E, I give abstract topics. For those of you who know me well, you know how much I love the abstract. The two questions I’ve given for 3-E has been as follows:
1. If you were an electrical device, what would you be, and why? Write 10 sentences or more in 5 minutes.
2. What is love? Write 5 sentences or more in 5 minutes.
When I asked the first question, I noticed that 10 sentences might be a bit too much as maybe they aren’t used to deal with too many abstract questions. It is even hard for some native speakers of English to answer abstract questions. So for the next time there was journal writing, I went a step further with the difficulty as I lessened the sentence requirement. It was all very good.
When the journal time is up, I collect all the journals and read them. I correct them and make comments. My time each day is usually filled with a lot of journals, but I find it fun to do. It’s been really interesting to see what the students write about. I also feel that I should really put my all into teaching, because the students deserve to get a good education. I don’t want to be like those AETs who treat their time in Japan like a long vacation. Although part of my reason of coming to Japan is to experience the culture and see new things, I do have a job commitment. Some days I wonder if I really am doing a good job. I know that I’ve only been here for 2 months, but I want to put in what I can so that the students can improve their English and experience a bit of another culture.
I had an AET meeting a few days ago. A lot of the AETs are very talented and have a lot of interesting ideas, but I feel lucky that I have a great deal of input into the English education in Mito SHS. Many AETs have files upon files of games, whereas many of my lesson plans consist of topics to teach the students. Why do they have so many game ideas? It’s simple. Most AETs have more than one school, so it’s hard for them to build on their relationships with the students. Usually an AET visits a class once every few weeks. In such a situation, it’s difficult to be involved with daily lessons and yearlong goals. In that way and much more, I am very lucky.
Stay tuned next week for another update!
今週の聖書の詩: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
- John 14:27 (NIV)
His promise is so amazing. Indeed, He does not give as the world gives. The world boasts the material things. There are so many people who do not accept God. I find it interesting when people don’t accept the Bible, but still claim to believe in God. I can understand if people don’t want to believe something ignorantly, but please spare me following something else based also on ignorance. Why do people follow something else? The usual reason is an indirect way of stating dislike for the hardships and difficulties mentioned in the Bible. Some people believe in “no pain, no gain,” but then when they hear about the hardships in a Christian life, they just abandon it. Why? It is usually for something that is pleasant to the ears and something that puts the person in control.
今週の写真: Beautiful flowers from the flower arrangement club.