Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This week's grammar in 2nd grade:
"what do you want to be?" "what do you want to do?" the key words are "want" and "do". please don't forget the little tiny "to" as it makes all the difference.
been thinking about that question this past week. what is it that i want to do? what is it that i wanted to accomplish while here? it's nearing a year; people are coming and going. they're starting something new and i am staying here another year. so what happens when i'm done? what do i want to be when i grow up? funny question, i know. at my age i should know right? it should be clear and yet it was only clear when i was young. i wanted to be an archaeologist since i was 12. oh yes, i also wanted to be a movie director. those are the only two i remember clearly wanting. i went for the first one because i lack any three dimensional creativity.
so i did that. i was one. it was great. chose another path, walking a new road. what do i want to be when i grow up?
usually this type of thinking would depress me just slightly. sometimes greatly. but right now, i'm ok. here. right now. i am ok. i feel that i am doing what i want. i am achieving what i came to achieve. and i'm also finding all sorts of gems i never forethought.
mostly--they're my students.

yesterday in the 1st grade class we were playing a game i haven't tried until now called "whispers". i whisper a sentence to a student in the back of a row and it gets passed along to the front through whispers and the student at the front writes it on the board. worked well with the 3rd graders but created a bit of confusion in the 1st grade class. After the first round i was asking the kids to switch--front students to the back and rest move up. One kid, Kaito, a hillarious little menace who flat out told me a month ago that he doesn't like English (but at least he likes me), was trying to get his friend to move to the back as i had instructed. I think he just wanted to be in the front. So i came up to sort out the confusion and Kaito looks at me and says in English while pointing at his friend, "Technical foul. What's the penalty?"
I had to laugh and out loud, and then i pointed at the friend and in a serious voice told him that the penalty is to go to the back. Kaito agreed. And that's a gem.
In 3rd grade class today, i said "Stand up" and one of the girls sang it Eminem style, "please stand up, please stand up" and so i joined in with the hand gestures. made her laugh. after class it was, "Elina sensei...Eminem? like?" he he. yeah. i guess i did at one point. and then she sang a bit of, "My name is...My name is..." and "chikachika" is in my head still.

My English Club girls were asking me on Friday whether they could have penpals from America. They are specifically wanting to correspond with teenage boys. :)

Yuu took 2nd place at the All Okinawa story contest on Monday. I was surprised but not really. The competition was tough, some of the students spoke near fluently, the one who took first place spent 10 years (of her 15) in the states. But Yuu was at his best. He had never told it as well as he told it that day, and even though i know the story by heart, i was laughing along with everyone. I was so proud of him. He's an awesome kid.

They see me in the hall and shout "hellos"; they wave goodbyes when i pull out the parking lot. They stop by my desk between classes and try to talk. A kid in the 3rd grade who is a very low student in all classes but has a warm personality stops by to "chat" every other day. And we do chat. I, with my broken Japanese, and he with his collection of random English utterances. He says, "Elina, Serina" and i say, "Tsubasa, Mikasa" (yeah i know it means "my house" in Spanish, i've seen Pulp Fiction, but it was the first thing that came to my mind when he first shouted my new nickname and he doesn't understand it, so no harm done, right?) :)
The JTE and i had a long conversation about some of the students on the ride back from the story contest. I brought up my concern with a 3rd grader in 3-1 who has grown more reluctant to participate, acts arrogantly, and draws other low achieving students to him. When he is in class and dissinclined to participate, i have 5 boys who don't participate and sometimes blatantly ignore my attempts. The JTE usually does nothing, i have to make it point to ask them to stop talking, i stop talking myself or call on them to answer a question. So during the ride, I mentioned the student to the JTE and he told me that the student lives with his mother who works all day and he is by himself until 9 or 10pm on weekdays. We talked about other students and some of family problems they might be having. How students behave at school is usually influenced by their home situation. It's true for Milwaukee, it's true for Ogimi. When i first met Tsubasa, Gabrielle warned me that he was one of her worst students. She said that his father commited suicide a year before and Tsubasa has grown more reluctant to participate and behave. Right now he is one of my favorite students and either he decided for himself or it was decided for him, but he does not associate with the other rudely rebellious 3rd grade boys, and i'm glad.
I am here for the students and some days i'm tired of being in the school but they always cheer me up.

I wrote most of the above on Wednesday. It's Saturday now and the rest will be a photo blog. Enjoy.

Yuu with his awards at the All Okinawa Story Contest on July 3rd.

July 7th was the Tanabata holiday in Okinawa. It is a Japanese holiday of wish making. Girls of different grades hung up their wishes on the tree. I wrote up a piece of paper as well.

Boys read the wish messages written by girls the day before Tanabata.

At the JET goodbye party in Onna, Julie and Anna.

and here's a link i got from Erik. It entertained Brett and I greatly Friday night.


Rosemary said...


I'm thrilled to know that you are staying an additional year. I live vicariously through your experiences!! My teaching role will change a bit in August as I will be primarily teaching English and Soc.St. to 7th and 8th graders. Maybe there is an opportunity for your English Club to correspond with my students...even though there are but a few males!

Stay healthy and God Bless!

Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

In Sept. I will have a few teenage boys for them to correspond with if you want to set that up. When will you be in old Miltown? Give me an email heads up so I can come have a pint with you.

Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

leek spin is hilarious