We had one more week of training after I uploaded the last post. It covered a variety of things, mainly about things to help us get adjusted to life in Japan and Hamamatsu. We had speakers come in and prep us on special needs classes (which I have two at my JHS), Earthquake and Disaster safety, and how to be an effective ALT. We also had all the current JETs in Hama give short presentations; topics ranged from Self Studying Japanese, What to Wear to Work, How to Work with our JTE’s and then small tidbits on elementary and junior high schools. It was very informative! The BoE had an Ikebana instructor come in as well and I got to try my hand at that! It’s harder than it seems! And straight up matcha (green tea)…. Not a fan. Not a fan in the slightest. SO BITTER O_O
I’ve spent the evenings either shopping around Zaza or May One or spending time with my fellow JETs! I’ve already been to Animate twice and I have come back hurting from how much I buy; I don’t mean to whn I go initially, it just…happens. My apartment is almost, keyword here, finished; my bed frame is coming in tomorrow and I managed to assemble a small shelf on my own (with the help of some colorful words). I still need a TV stand (my TV is currently propped up on my suitcase) but that can wait until later this year. My apartment is feeling like home now! The only issue is the incessant dust. Where the hell is it coming from? I wipe everything down DAILY and it’s still EVERYWHERE. We also had a welcome party last week for all the incoming JETs! It was really fun! Couldn’t eat most of the food, but what I did eat was AMAZING! And some killer karaoke afterwards 🙂
I went to Nagoya last weekend and met up with three people who I haven’t seen in a long time! We had lunch together, shopped, and enjoyed each other’s company. It was so nice seeing them again! B came with me as well so that was great! I love shopping in Nagoya. Next time, I hope to make time for a massage. The Raffine clinic calls!!! O_O We left Nagoya around 9:15ish and had a minor panic attack as we weren’t sure if the train we had gotten on would make it all the way to Hamamatsu. We had one conductor say no, then two seconds later another one said yes. We also had one conductor who brushed us off completely -_-
We made it though. And I spent the majority of Sunday cleaning and washing and getting ready for my first day of school at Hokubu JHS. Technically school doesn’t start until the 31st for me, but as an ALT, I HAVE to go to school. I really don’t mind. These couple weeks leading up to school starting will give me a chance to get the layout of my school down and prepare my self-introduction.
I actually ended up going to the wrong way my first day. I caught the right bus (score!) but Google Maps ended up taking me to the back entrance of the school rather than the front. And I think this is a great Segway into a new part of my blog that I’m introducing called, Embarrassing School Moments. Because seriously, it’s gonna happen; I might as well have fun with it. So!
Embarrassing School Moment #1: Being escorted to the front of the school in front of my new students. Now, if they were in fact 3rd years (9th graders) then it’s not as embarrassing as I think it is because I won’t be teaching 3rd years. But I’m pretty sure they were 1st years (6th graders).
After being escorted to the school, I managed to find an open guest shoe cubby and meandered around looking for the Teacher’s Room. I had memorized the kanji (and by memorized I mean had a picture of it on my phone), but it wasn’t even necessary because all the room placards have English underneath the Japanese. Another cool thing about my school, none of the doors open out. They’re all sliding! And the school smells amazing because it’s ALL WOOD. My tantosha (supervisor) said that the school was recently remodeled a few years ago.
I was greeted by my tantosha, O-sensei, who then showed me to my desk. There’s quite a bit on it that I don’t need and I plan to get rid of it later this week. I haven’t had much time to filter through the papers, but I’m pretty sure I will only keep a few and chuck the rest. I have my own system for organizing! I am grateful for the heaps of flashcards; I spent most of the morning going through them and organizing them. However, I don’t know how often I will use them. I need to sift through the books and see which lessons they would be used for. My school also gave me a computer to use, but it doesn’t connect to the internet (there’s a main computer everyone uses) so I opted to just bring my own.
I was introduced to Kyoto-sensei (vice principal) and he went through the rules of the school. Things like the schools strict no drinking and driving/acting stupid in public, no taking pictures of the students/posting them on social media without permission, no piercings or jewelry (I have to remember to put earrings back in otherwise they’ll close!) and dress code. He also went into explanation about the school lunches, but I’ve opted out of them since I have so many dietary issues. It’s just easier to bring my own lunch.
O-sensei showed me around the school and explained how the levels were divided on the floors. I haven’t seen the second half of the school yet, there are parts of it that are in a second building nearby. I was also shown the changing room, but I don’t have a locker yet. It will be nice to have so I can keep a blazer at school at all times just in case of surprise ceremonies. My tantosha has been great though and gave me a year events schedule for the school so I know when all the important things are.
Embarrassing School Moment #2: Tripping while walking UP the stairs. This is a new one for me. I mean, I always, ALWAYS fall down stairs; it’s a fact of life Miranda will fall down stairs at least once a year. But tripping… up? That’s a first.
I met my Kocho-sensei too (principal) and he asked why I was working during summer vacation and INSISTED I take Friday off to relax and enjoy Hamamatsu. Well, who am I to go against my boss? But of course, I checked with my Kyoto-sensei and Tantosha (O-sensei) to make sure they absolutely didn’t need me that day. My biggest concern was being help to help my speech contest student, but since he wouldn’t be there Friday, I relented.
In the afternoon, I helped O-sensei with Hokubu’s speech contest student. His English is really good for a 3rd year! And his speech tugged at the heartstrings! His biggest challenges are the “th” and “ly” sounds, especially if they’re back to back. I’m going to be working with him on it after school once school begins, but until then, I get an hour twice a week with him. He was really excited to hear I had participated in a speech contest in high school, but since he was also told I won first place… no pressure, right? The contest is on a Monday, which means I’m actually at my elementary school that day; but I want to be there to hear him recite it! My elementary school is making my schedule to hold all my classes in the morning so I can attend his speech recital in the afternoon. I’m so grateful!
Other than that, I spent the rest of the day working on my introduction PowerPoint and reward system for my JHS. O-sensei loves my ideas, I just hope my other two JTE’s are as embracing! I wish I had O-sensei more often for class too; I only teach in two of her classes! The majority are with I-sensei, who I met briefly Tuesday; she’s the coach for the softball team at my JHS. O-sensei was also super encouraging when I asked about after school activities. I asked if it would be okay if I filtered around the clubs to see what they were like. Of course, I won’t have time to actually go see any until after the speech contest. I don’t mind though! My student is doing an amazing job!
It’s so quiet O_O There’s maybe, 4 teachers (not including myself) at any given time in the teacher’s room. I have yet to buck up the courage to go exploring around the school, but I’m not entirely sure I can?
Tomorrow, I will FINALLY be able to attend a concert. And for my absolute favorite band O_O K is going with me, she’s meeting me at the venue once she gets off work. I also have a few instore events planned for Sunday which are incidentally ALL for Duel Jewel. But hey; they’re disbanding. And I won’t be able to make it to their finale in Feburary; and I missed all their Aichi/Shizuoka lives; SO. Meeting and greeting and pictures three times.
Don’t judge me 😛