Invisible woman

27 Sep

ImageSo apparently, the policy at my school is “don’t tell the brand new ALT who doesn’t fluently speak Japanese and who hasn’t been around long enough to know the routine when anything important is going to happen.”  I suppose I’m expected to ask when I’m confused about anything, but there are a couple of flaws with this plan: ① Everyone else at the school is (or at least seems) incredibly busy all of the time, so I don’t want to bother them to ask them stupid questions, and ② when I don’t even know enough to suspect there’s something I should be asking about.  A few examples of this problem:

❥ Today, the English teacher with whom I was supposed to be working left without me.  In the past, she’s left without the other ALT at the school, and then came back and impatiently asked why the other ALT hadn’t come (the usual policy at this school is for the ALT and teacher to go to class together).  I was afraid that for some reason she expected me to go on my own, but was hesitant to bother everyone else diligently working on their lessons to ask.  It turned out, the class had been changed to a study hall, but the other teacher I finally asked suggested I just “go look and see” so I ended up wandering around the school searching for the class, which was not in the classroom, but in the library instead.

❥ Last week, Monday was a national holiday, so all classes were cancelled.  However, no one told me this ahead of time, and I would have shown up at 8 am on Monday if someone from my elementary school hadn’t informed me at the last minute.  Awesome.

❥ At the undoukai or sports day (sort of like American field day at middle schools) yesterday, I was expected to take part in the PTA ball tossing game AND the students’ folk dance.  Since I’m not a part of the PTA, I did not expect this until someone came up to me and said “you should go over there now.”  I also was not expecting to have to pair dance with a bunch of middle school boys, and didn’t know the steps to the dance… which I was asked to join about 30 seconds before the dancing started, when the principal literally gestured to the kids on the field and said “go ahead” to me.  Needless to say, neither the middle school boys nor I were thrilled.

❥ Today, I’m supposed to teach some sort of “special” class.  I don’t really know what’s special about it, only that it’s two third years who take class separately from everyone else.  I don’t know what their English level is or what they’re studying.  However, two days ago, the teacher came up and asked me to “prepared some English activities” for the class.  When I asked how difficult, he was vague.  When I asked if they should be fun games or more like lesson worksheets, he said “either.”  When I asked for any suggestions, he literally said “anything is fine.”  I spent 2 hours of my time last night making worksheets that may very well be completely useless (too hard, too easy, too difficult to understand, etc) because I have no idea how the class is going to go.  I guess I’ll see.

There are only a few examples, but this is a constant pattern in my life.  I never know what’s going on at this school because everyone assumes that somehow, I either have telepathy or learned every since thing about everyday work life from my predecessor.  It’s not that big of a deal at the end of the day, but I could be way more prepared for things if I was informed ahead of time!

For now, I’ll leave you with another photo of a spectacular rainbow visible from my window at home.  Soon, I’ll post about the undoukai and have more photos, but for now, I’m going to go fret over what the heck I’m doing for that “special” class.


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