Today I had my first “music” class with the 3rd years for sentaku-eigo… I did a short lesson on Justin Bieber. We listened to “baby” and so now it’s stuck in my head. I did it twice, first with 3-3, who were kinda blah about it, and kept laughing but wouldn’t tell me why, so I was a bit disappointed. Kodai kept giggling at me cuz I was signing along. lol. Most of them had no idea who JB was so I was kinda surprised. 3-6 were a little more enthusiastic, and a few of the kids (boys, no less!!) knew the song… I had two pictures of JB, one with his famous hair cut, and one when he cut it short, and Rina was like “he is much cooler which short hair!” lol. Well there you go… no wonder he’s not that famous here, I guess. lol.
Oh, and apparently, I DO stink, cuz Taihei (Mr. Soccer hair) made a comment about my perfume T_T and I was like “is it good, or bad?” pointing my thumb up, and then down, and he followed suit by pointing his thumb down. I went “hey!” and he said “not bad! not bad! but it’s too sweet!” (in Japanese). Well, maybe he just doesn’t like it, but I guess I won’t be wearing perfume to school anymore… *cries* the kiddies used to love my perfume before… what happened?!
Today is test day! So that means no classes, except that I do :/ Somehow, we still have class fourth period so I have to do my Justin Bieber lesson with 3-2. I don’t mind so much because it kinda breaks the monotony, but I feel it’s just sooo lame for the kids to be having tests all morning and then “oh! look! You still get to have class after!” but this is Japan, after all…
Aaah, さすが3-2… they seemed to enjoy this lesson way more than the two previous classes. Even when I walked into the class, Dan and Kota came up to me going “Justin Bieber! Justin Bieber! Nihon ni kuru yo” (he’s coming to Japan). I was surprised that they even knew that, since my two previous classes had been completely clueless, AND they’re boys… lol. The whole class was super fun. Dan, Kota and Imari spent the WHOLE class vying for my attention, which was hilarious… and could also have something to do with the fact that I was wearing a shirt that made my boobs look huge… lol. but anyhow. At the end of the lesson, there was about 15 minutes left and since Mizushima sensei didn’t have anything for them, I just played other English songs from my iPod and we chilled. It was fun! I also realized that Dan shaves his eyebrows, and that he actually has a really really tiny face! I never realized, what with his giant hair and all… he’s actually pretty scrawny! lol.
Today is test day again, and I may or may not have a class 4th period. I “think” I don’t, because on the monthly schedule there is a funny kanji instead of a “4”, but then, last time that happened Yuka asked me to come to class anyways. So we’ll see. I really don’t know what I’ll do if she does because I have no “easy games” left to do with the first years… hurry up and start actually learning English! urgh… well anyways…
So I guess I didn’t have class after all! I ran into Yuka earlier in the photocopy room and she was like “do you have any classes today?” and I said no and she said “aww… that’s boring!”, so I guess it means we don’t have class together :p anyhow, I’m quite glad to have this day to myself… I’ve spent the whole morning cutting and laminating cards for a game for the 1st years tomorrow, so it’s good I don’t have class!!
AWWWW!!!! Ayaka, my fangirl who graduated last year, just stopped by with another ex 3rd year to visit and chat to some teachers! It’s kinda funny cuz I also saw her on her bike on her way to school this morning. Anyways, we chatted, but, that’s not what is squeal-worthy… she brought me a present!! too cute!! all wrapped up in a Hello Kitty bag, were a tiny pair of earrings… it’s a little bit wtf, but it warms my heart. I mean, I’ve never had students come back and give me presents before. It made me so happy. ^_^
On my way to class this morning, Minami and co. accosted me in the corridor. She made a comment about how cute I was (as always) and then commented on my clothes “ne, sugoi jaaa… Vanessa wears something different every day.” I guess other teachers have a wardrobe of 5 different shirts (or 2 different track suits…) which they rotate every other day? It just made me laugh so much that she was amazed that I had many clothes in my wardrobe. lol. So I told her I had “many many clothes” and not enough room in my closet, and she asked me “oh, are clothes really cheap in Canada?” lol. Not really. :p
Then I had sentaku class with 3-5, who are notoriously my most boring 3rd year class. Surprisingly though, they seemed to enjoy the lesson. I guess since the alternative is to be doing exercises in their workbook for an hour, listening to English pop songs sounds like a fair trade. I was pretty much teaching to these 4 kids at the front though. Kiyo and Ryohei (I can never remember his name, he’s one of the soccer playboys) and Moeka and Miyuu. This one other kid at the back had this little Gantz ball, which he kept throwing around, and “losing”… it was so annoying, but he’s so cute, I can’t hate on him :p
After a short break I had class with 2-4. I had forgotten, until yesterday, that I had this 2nd year class and so I hadn’t prepared anything. So this morning, I prepared a kinda half-assed game, that didn’t require anything except the board and blank paper. The students would be in their lunch groups, and I would give them one word at random, and they had one minute to come up with a grammatically correct sentence – bonus points if it was funny. Well, I didn’t really expected it to be all that, but everyone LOVED it, even my JTE, this senile old man, was super excited the whole time. On top of everything, most of the sentences were perfect (no mistakes) and quite a few of them were hilarious. Here’s a few I can remember:
I played soccer with a tiger and a cow.
I was busy in the sento. (this one made me die laughing)
I didn’t go to the toilet.
I talked to my natto at breakfast this morning…
This one group, with the smartest kid in class, kept coming up with super extra long sentences that were really good, but there would always be one tiny mistake in them, so they couldn’t get any points, which made me sad. Also, Masaya spent the WHOLE class harassing me, telling me I was #2 crazy, and calling me “aho” (fool) and “koitsu” (that girl… it’s kind of a rude way to talk about a person…)… if it had been anyone other than me, he would’ve been severely reprimanded for talking to a teacher like that, and all his friends made shocked faces every time he did, but I just laughed. I know he means it as a joke, and I can’t really blame him since I am forever going on and on about what a “crazy boy” he is. Also, I told him he was “my favorite crazy boy”, and he went to one of the girls next to him “Ha! Did you hear that?! FAVOURITE!” and it was just so hilarious, especially since I didn’t know it was a word he understood. He also asked me who, between him and his brother (who was one of my former students) was the craziest, and I said it was definitely him.
After that, it was sentaku with 3-4, and it was kinda meh. It was okay, but man, the vibe of that class is so weird… on the one side, there is Ryouga & co. who are super cheerful and have a tendency to get really into my lessons, and on the other side there is Bad Ryota and Shiomi-kun, the former who doesn’t understand anything (and thus doesn’t do anything) and the latter who is incredibly bright, but the laziest, most bored-looking kid I have ever seen… and they just kinda suck the energy out of the class and people just kinda don’t dare to volunteer any answers. Anyways, true to himself, Ryota didn’t do anything for most of the class, but then when I put the song on, I was surprised to see him following the lyrics attentively on his paper! He liked it! also, at the end of class, there was only about 10 minutes left so Mizushima-sensei told them to work in their book, both mostly it was just “free time”. Ryouga dragged his chair over with the two misfits (they’re friends!?!?) and 5 seconds later came to ask me if they could see my ipod. I handed it to them and they started examining it, all huddled in a corner. Eventually, they found one song that they knew, that was in Japanese (a BIG BANG song) and they started listening to it. I saw Ryota sit back, one earphone in his ear, going “this is the life! Can you believe we’re doing this IN CLASS” (in Japanese) and it just cracked me up. It also made me think about the possibility that he’s probably not as badly behaved a student as I make him out to be, in other classes. Maybe he just really, really can’t understand English.
Aaww… a bunch of the old 3rd year girls are here again! Different ones from yesterday, but still… I wonder why they’re all feeling nostalgic all of a sudden? They all attacked me going “Vanessaaaaaaaaa!!” when they saw me, and then we chatted, mostly about their new school uniforms (since they’re all going to different schools)… they’re also having tests right now, and one of them showed me the “practice test” they had for English and said “it was really hard!” well, no shit Sherlock! I had a look at it and it was a one and a half page of tiny text, all in English! The most they ever read of anything last year was like 6 lines long, and they almost never read any original texts… the gap between what they’re learning here and the level they’re expected to know in high school is HUGE!! and it makes me feel once again like the JHS English curriculum SO needs to be turned upside its head… but then again, who’s gonna listen to just a silly ALT, eh? :/
Today was the day we took the staff group picture in front of the school, which will appear in the little school booklet, and the 3rd years’ graduation album. For a mercy, I was actually TOLD which day it was gonna be on. (For the past 3 years, I’ve just shown up to school and crashed the photo-session… one time notoriously, wearing jeans :p) Again, I was told by Hasegawa-sensei to “wear formal clothes and suits”. I don’t know why she says it to me that way every single time… as if after 3 years, I don’t know that you guys wear formal clothes at ceremonies and stuff… and if she is saying it because she is hoping to make me wear one… I think not, lady. It’s not like I don’t care or anything, I always dress nice on ceremony days, I just refuse to wear a suit because I feel ridiculous in one. They’re just not me. That said, today, for the first time ever, I wore a jacket!! but… it was a snakeskin print jacket I’d bought at H&M a few weeks ago, mwahaha… wonder what she thought about that? Well anyhow… I looked hot. I probably won’t look hot in the actual picture though, because the sun was shining super bright and I was unable to keep my eyes open…. oh well…
After that I had class with the kiddies. 1-6, followed by 1-4. The vibe in 1-6 was really good and it was fun, in 1-4, it was ok, but I they are so strange! It’s also the class with Hideki, who is one of my fave newbs, and I keep mixing him up with Eitaro, from another class, because they are both super short, have a hamster face, and terrible cute, but whereas Eitaro is just usually genki, Hideki always looks like he’s kinda sulking… He is too freaking cute though. He’s like a little grumpy, life-sized teddy bear and I just wanna HUG him. lol. He got 35 (on 50) on his test and he was like “is this good?” and I answered “hmmm…. so-so… but you can do better” and he looked like he was reflecting on it, and then went “yeaaah… the vocabulary was hard!!” lol. toooooooo cute!! XD
Aww, the head teacher guy just came up to me to ask me to check a form about a former student who wanted to study abroad in the States… I don’t know why they need JHS info since she’s in high school now, but whatever, the form was fine. However, I noticed the name of the student, and it was Yume! honestly, I don’t remember her last name so I can’t be 100% sure it’s who I’m thinking of, but I’m pretty sure she was the only Yume that graduated that year, and she really liked English class. Or she really liked me. :p She was a super cheerful, tomboyish girl, and she always greeted me cheerfully and came to chat with me… In her 3rd year, at the chorus contest, she performed on Taiko drums, by herself, along to techno music. It was the coolest thing ever. And one time, on sports day, one of the moms randomly came up to me and went “Hi. You’re Vanessa? I’m Yume’s mom. Yume always talks about you at home. She loves your class so much. Thank you for always being kind to my daughter.” and I was just super touched, I couldn’t believe it. So to see that this girl now wants to go study English abroad, well, it means so much to me. In a way, it’s kind of the whole meaning of being an ALT isn’t it? Influencing your kids’ lives and showing them that there is something “other” than the Japanese way, and other than everything they’re used to. Like I said, Yume was a tomboy. She liked sports, she was genki, and she wasn’t that particularly good at English. I’m pretty sure that if I had never entered her life, she would have remained pretty ambivalent about English and would have had no desire to go learn it in some other part of the world. So it makes me kinda happy ^_^ I wish I could see her again and tell her.