I need to correct a statement I made last week. Not all of the students think of the English communication class as a joke. There are a good number of students who do take it seriously and try hard. I was cranky last week because of the play and all the work I had to do. I made the finals for all my classes, so my time in school was consumed by that. Then, the rest of my time went to A Christmas Carol. I was not very happy when many students lost their journals. The teachers told me that we need to tell them that the journals will be included in their grades. Originally, I didn’t want to count journals into their grades, but for the general track students, I needed to use something else for their grades. We didn’t really teach much this semester due to many different reasons. I spent so much time doing those journals, and the fact that many students lost their journals did not help my already tired state.
Christmas is in full swing, and I have gotten enough sleep. All is back to normal for me meaning I am functioning properly again. I am at a time when I need to put my priorities in order. After doing the play and commuting every weekend, I realize that as much as I love theatre arts, I need to stop with that particular theatre group. My priorities were in limbo for the past month and a half. I have regrouped, and I needed to remember my purpose for coming to Japan in the first place. There’s the culture that I want to experience. I really want to continue learning Japanese. Of course, it is of great importance to teach the children effectively so that they can communicate in English considering the importance of English in the world. I am hoping to maybe start my own theatre group in the future, which may be very good for the community near and around my town. However, right now, I need to put my attention to the students.
What I really want to do for the students is to get them to be able to express their own opinions. Of course it’s imperative to teach them useful daily English for their tests and any traveling they may do, but so much of the English language is about expression. The goal of any language is to relay a message, but English focuses highly on personal messages. I think it’s because individuality is central to the cultures of English speaking countries. Therefore, I always reward students for their effort.
I don’t want them to worry so much about being correct, which is why I favor open-ended questions on tests. As long as they try, usually students can get at least 50%. I may not explain it to the students in that way, but effort ties into grammar, spelling, and following directions. If a student tries really hard, it’s noticeable despite mistakes in grammar and/or spelling. Oftentimes, a perfect sentence does not come from the student who tries the hardest, because it results from the bare minimum. It is a joy in my heart to teach and interact with the students who give their all.
Stay tuned next week for another update!
今週の聖書の詩: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.”
- Isaiah 42:1-4 (NIV)
FYI: This was before the birth of Christ.
今週の写真: A Christmas Carol went really well.