Second Week Highlights

18 04 2009

Monday: Going to the town hall after school to get a health card and not being able to get mine because they a) didn’t believe me that I lived at the address I said I did and b) didn’t think I looked like my passport photo. So they posted it and I got it in the post the day after. Dinner was curry and brown rice.

Tuesday: Benno’s birthday, eating oven baked fries for dinner and drinking soy chai lattes at Starbucks, doing 3 practicals at school with very low supplies and hearing Low Rider on the radio (*the* birthday song if you’re from Manila). Dinner was tempura stirfry.
b_birthdaycake

Benno’s birthday cake

Wednesday: I decided to read some books from the Inter library and ended up reading 4 novels in as many days (they are fairly basic English novels after all). The most interesting was reading the sequel book to Howl’s Moving Castle called The House of Many Ways.

Thursday: Freedom Machine here we come – Benno bought a bicycle – with uber trendy front basket and 3 gears (about as high tech as bikes go. Shopping bicycles are practically the only bike available- in the one colour and style). Dinner was salt and pepper tofu with rice.

Friday: Getting internet installed (finally) at our house. Fibre Optic to the door is something Australia is gonna have to wait about 10 years for – pity we were so impatient having to wait 3 weeks. Dinner was mushroom stroganoff with udon. Benno stayed up until the wee hours playing on the internet while Lara went to bed as on Saturdays she starts work at 7.25am.

Saturday: Up early for a 7.30am lesson – at least the bus stop is not far from home.

ourhouse_frombusstopThis photo is taken from the bus stop, facing in the direction of school. You can see our apartment the on the ground floor of the yellow building, straight in front.

Second Freedom Machine – Lara got a bicycle from school that wasn’t being used. It has a front basket and 3 gears and is similar in style to Benno’s except that it also has a back carry rack. Benno rode his bicycle to school and when Lara finished around 1.30pm we both rode down the hill home.
bicycles

Benno and Lara’s bicycles outside our apartment. It’s very safe so we can just leave them outside and no one will steal them, even in town if we’re out shopping. This photo was taken with my pink slide cell-phone/mobile/k-tai.

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Week One of Teaching: the highlights.

11 04 2009

The starts can be a little early – on the bus by 7.10 to be at school by 7.25am with the first lesson at 7.30am. At least it only takes around 10 minutes on the bus and the bus stop is 2 minutes walk away.

On days when I don’t have the first lesson (which is 3 days out of 6) I can catch the later bus at 8.05am which is a bus for elementary school students. The first time I caught the bus the little kids looked so cute with their berets, blazers and socks pulled high. The seats still had plastic covering on them so the kids were sliding around everywhere when the bus stopped. The elementary teacher quickly helped the students to put their seatbelts on so they didn’t fly out the window.

The work load is fairly easy – 20 lessons a week with 3-4 lessons to teach in a day. I only have 2 homeroom duties filling in for other teachers. So, that leaves a lot of preparation time. Also, the class sizes are 6, 9, 6 and 8 (for J-1, J-2, J-3 and H-1 respectively – equivalent to years 7, 8, 9  and 10)

During some of my lessons the principal or vice principal walked in and looked around – checking up on the new teacher I guess. That was a little intimidating but since they don’t speak English it probably didn’t matter what I said.

Benno made hot cross buns for Easter – not that we have any holidays for Good Friday or Easter Monday. In Japan Easter is not celebrated – we’ll have to wait until May 2-6 for Golden Week holidays.
hotcrossbuns

Benno’s handmade hot cross buns.

On Friday after school Toshy came and we went to a local doctor for a pre-employment compulsory medical. The three new Inter teachers pee-ed in cups, had heart scans (involving about 12 sticky electrodes), had x-rays of our lungs, the doctor listened to our heart and took our blood pressure. My health was perfect (of course) so the school is happy to employ me. I have to pay compulsory health insurance anyway so I’m not sure what the big deal is. Every year teachers and students sit compulsory health checks, but I’m not sure if there are any consequences if you fail.

Working on a Saturday:

The first time I’ve had to work on a Saturday (apart from detention supervision, but that’s not actually teaching lessons). The school bus had me home by 2pm to enjoy the sunshine and be lazy for the rest of the day…we had roast vegetables and gravy for dinner followed by a strange not-dessert – black sesame and tofu japanese-pudding (that was fine on its own) with miso topping (bad addition – next time we’ll throw out the miso dressing and use straight sugar).

sesame_tofu