Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
A girl on the playground yesterday got stuck on the jungle gym thing. Now the thing wasn't set up very well because its either climb down on these ladder sets that aren't very easy or walk across either set of monkey bars. Now I realize that she would have had to do one of these to get where she was but there was no discussing that once she was scared out of her mind.
I was the first to "arrive on scene" with her crying her eyes out. I climbed up in my dress (bad decision obviously) and tried to just climb her down. She wouldn't have it. Then my head English teacher,who is also this girls teacher, comes out and tries to talk her down from the ground. I am up there sitting next to her at this point. Then my VP comes out and just watches. Obviously its hard for me to comfort and reassure her because I can't speak Japanese. I was really frustrated but she was scared out of her mind. Yamazaki sensei brings out a ladder and my VP climbs up but she won't let go of the pole she has a hold of. It takes all 3 of us reassuring and prying hands away to get her to come down. Whats funny is that she probably finally came down the most unsafe way possible. I was holding her top half from the top and Yamazaki sensei and my VP had a hold of her feet trying to place them on each ladder rung. It was awful but also really funny at the same time. Poor girl.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
This starts the blog of my best day so far in Japan!
There is no way to explain the excitement that this event contains for my kids. There is so much preparation that you can't help to excited whether you really are or just want it to be over. My day was suppose to start off at 6:30am to get ready and have a good breakfast to be at school at 7 but that didn't happen. I woke up at 6:52 with no alarm and rushed out the door to arrive at 7:15. My VP gave me a hard time about it but it was fine. I was placed on the set up crew for each event. The beautiful of this Japanese culture is that they allow the children to do everything. So of course they had practiced each events set up several times and so the teachers really had nothing to do. Not that I could actually do anything because I didn't understand what needed to be done. I was the best cheerleader ever today!
My friend Emily came to watch a little and cheer me on, not that I did anything. I cheered as relays and races took place and I watched and cheered as every grade did their dances. As it turns out, I got to learn most of everyones dances because I had so much free time in the weeks before this. I want to be able to explain every event to you in detail but I realize thats boring so I'll let the pictures and videos do the talking.
They will pass this ball all the way around the field. One ball for each team (red and white). It's really funny to watch the first graders get it, they get killed.
Apart of the 5th and 6th grade dance, they also do mounting. 3 tiers is the highest they go but its pretty impressive.
Some of the best 5th graders ever! We have secret handshakes!
I got to help with a couple of the games. This game is called "What color do you like?" and I picked the color that got to bypass the obstacles.
She's the sweetest ever!
Even these pictures don't do it justice so I tried to take some videos to show you exactly how it was.
1st video is of 1st graders playing a game. They are shaking pom poms from their shorts. It was something I hadn't seen before so it was really cute.
2nd video was me getting prepared for my one and only duty of the day.
This is the 5th and 6th grade dance. The sun was at a bad angle but I thought maybe Gamma could use some of these moves for Spring Sing next year. There is no way to get you to fully portray this day. There was so much going on, most of which I had no idea about, that I could only get so much on video without looking like a tourist. One more video. This one is of me dancing the Japanese traditional dance that all the kids learned in the gym one day. Everyone was quite surprised that the foreigner could do it.
This day made me love Japan even more. It got me closer to my kids and my teachers. Afterwards, the teachers always have a party to celebrate Undokai being over so I got to be apart of that. All of these things are helping me bond and get to know me teachers so much better which is helpful when I teach with them every week. So far this was my favorite cultural experience and I'm not sure another can contest with it but we'll have to wait and see. Let me leave you with the 1st and 2nd grade dance. Its a long video and the same thing over and over but I love it. Love you all!!
All pictures and videos needed to be removed. Sorry!
I wasn't able to help with much for Undokai because honestly, its easier for the teachers to do it themselves then it is to explain it to me. The language barrier has never been so frustrating because I know there are things to do and I have no classes so I have nothing to do but I don't know what to do. The one job they did give me was to water the field. It was sooo hot the first week of practice and the field was so dry. With all the marching and running around they do on it everyday it needed a little moisture to keep the dust down. Well that is a pretty brainless job so they gave it to me.
On Monday of Undokai week, they decided to up the stakes. They pulled out the fire hose and got the whole field in one swoop. Those things are sooo powerful! The youngest teacher, Yuya, and I took turns as we were both getting soaked by the wind spray. I was looking forward to using that for the rest of the week to make things easier but turns out that this fire hose doesn't seal very well and tends to leak all the way down the hallway. This is fine if there is actually a fire-the more water the better but when you are only doing something like watering the dirt...its not so good. So it was discontinued just as the fun was being started but that one day I was quite the firewoman!
Undokai is a big deal here. It translates as sports festival and they are quite serious about it. Ours was on September 11 and so the first 2 weeks of school consisted of cancelled classes and practicing marching, events, dances and more. I've never seen so much preparation done for a one day event. I was having fun NOT teaching class and watching the kids being tortured out in the sun, day in and day out. The first day of practice, the teachers had the kids outside practicing the opening ceremonies in which the kids have to march for quite a long time. To prepare for this, the kids marched out on the dusty field for almost an hour. My VP asked me to watch for white faces and fatigue and boy did we find that. We had kids left and right coming over holding their stomachs, white as a sheet. It was quite funny actually. Some were faking, of course, but others definitely were sick. We even had one throw up on his way to the nurse's office. As they started their like 12th time marching to the same song, my VP leans over to me and says, "Welcome to the Kawawada Army!" and thats exactly what it reminded me of.
Why are earth would anyone consider sending me a student teacher? I was never trained to be a teacher nor do I have any idea what I'm doing. But right after summer break my Vice Principal told me to expect a student teacher from Ibaraki University for a couple days out of the month of September. What he also told me turned out to be quite funny. He said since me and this student teacher were the same age that he HAS to have a pretty face. He had never met this student teacher but since he is in college it was assumed. The first time I met Yuma he just came in for a meeting to make a schedule for when he would come in. I started laughing to myself because I assumed that my VP had actually seen Yuma and telling me he had a cute face. Yuma is the first person I have seen with severe acne. He's not bad looking but not quite my type. What was funny was when Yuma left my VP, my principal, my head English teacher and I all walked him out to the lobby. After he had walked out the door my VP turns to me and says, "Sorry, no pretty face!"
So now it turns out Yuma will be with me for the WHOLE month of September. I would rather not have a student teacher only because I change things up from class to class that someone that is there with me all the time can see the changes and mistakes I make. He also speaks Japanese and so for the 4 days that he has been there...he knows more about the drama and works of that school than I do after being there 5 months!