31 May 2011 § Leave a comment
Among everything else that is wonderful about Japan are the arcades. They are plentiful. If I wanted to play some arcade games in Canada, an arcade would be hard to find. And then when I did find it, I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable there because of the atmosphere (I imagine. I’ve never actually looked for an arcade in Niagara or Southern Ontario). Here, I can be walking home after a bad day at work, suited up, walk into an arcade, and be around the same age (if not younger) and even similarly dressed as most of the people in there. I don’t even really care that much for arcade games.
On another note, I sometimes worry that I am teaching my students poor pronunciation. I have a few words that I tend to pronounce strangely, even according to people (at least one person) from the same region as me, which suggests that it’s not a matter of geography and accents, but of very individual difference. I make a conscious effort to pronounce those words as other people pronounce them, when I am teaching (in conversation I can’t be bothered). Today, I was looking at some notes that another teacher wrote in a student’s book for them and my worry decreased. Someone had written the word “cicada” and as a pronunciation key next to it wrote “sic-ar-da”. An “r”? I’m not saying this is wrong. I understand that this other teacher is from another country, has a different accent than me (so, dear other teacher, if you are reading this, please take no offense!). But sic-ar-da? And I’m worried about how I pronounce “been”? I need to give the students some credit that they’ll learn something from listening to a number of native English speakers and be able to figure out how to pronounce things, despite certain individual peculiarities.
Beginning to think of plans for my two weeks off in August. I’m thinking Hokkaido.
12 May 2011 § Leave a comment
I am beginning to develop a sense of ownership for my classes.
When I was student teaching (over a year ago now? Wow…), I never really felt like any of the classes were mine. By my last practicum, I had a full teaching schedule for my four weeks, teaching two grade 9 English classes and one grade 9 math class. But the students knew, I knew, and my associate teacher knew that I was only there for four weeks. They were never my classes. I got to know the students and as far as I’m concerned, we got along well enough and we had some fun, but I was “only” a student teacher.
I only see the students I have now once a week, and so some of them I’ve only seen four times, others maybe six times. Already, though, they feel like my students. It’s a good feeling. I anticipate seeing them. They anticipate seeing me. I know that I will be seeing them (nearly) every week until next March.
(Interesting the way in which the length of time I anticipate seeing or being in communication with someone affects how I feel about my relationship to them).
I was thinking about this on the train ride home tonight. The last class I teach on Thursdays is a junior high class. They have a longer lesson with a Japanese teacher first, and then I go over some things with them for 25 minutes. It’s a short time, but sometimes it drags because well, they’re junior high students and they have that junior high attitude (that attitude that I didn’t think existed when I was a junior high student myself). I’m having some difficulty with a few boys who keep speaking Japanese in class, which is frustrating because – obviously – I don’t understand. I’m trying to not let on that I don’t understand, though. I talked with their Japanese teacher after class and they think that maybe I understand Japanese. The fact that they were trying to whisper to each other when I wasn’t looking suggests that they think I understand. Anyway, I was reflecting on how that last class went while I was on the train, and I realized that they are my class, and it was a nice thought.
I’d like to feel like this about any student I have, even if it is only ever for one lesson. Retain this feeling for students that I won’t necessarily have for the next year. Because really, regardless of how often I will teach someone, so long as I teach them even once, they are my student.