the test scores are in and they are pitiful. students took their midterm tests yesterday and today, and i graded all the English ones, because i could. the part where i could actually read their japanese and grade it was exciting, the part where the class averages where in the low 60's was depressing. 2nd and 3rd graders' scores made me want to cry but grading 1st graders today was the highlight of my week so far. they're well into high 70's and 80's and 3 or 4 scored above 90. i know you must think that it's a bit sad to be excited about 2 or 3 high scores but after seeing test after test of below 60, i was nearly beside myself writing those numbers on their test sheets.
two reasons for low test scores: the absolute certainty that all students will pass through junior high school no matter what their scores are on the test and second is that the language is taught in a completely illogical manner and there is too much information and not enough time to process. sub reason: the teaching enthusiasm of a certain person has transferred to the learning enthusiasm of most students. 1st graders so far seem immune. The 1st grade textbook is actually a bit better than the ones we used in previous years and also they had 5 years of Gabrielle's brilliant teaching in elementary school. It also helps the class averages that most students are either good learners or well above average. In other classes there are handful of students with obvious learning disabilities who get lost behind when the textbook tempo picks up at the end of 1st grade.
i would love to be able to say that the reason 1st graders are doing so well right now is due to my inspired assistance. perhaps in parts, i could attribute it to it, but certainly not all. the fact that we introduced phonics differently this year and have tried teaching reading a bit differently might have contributed to it, but i don't have any data other than these tests to support it.
i am happy to say that on the listening portion of the tests, in all grades, students scored high. So i guess i'm doing something right. oh well. we'll keep persevering.
in other news. the mosquitoes are out in full force! I am being eaten alive at home and out. Last night went to eisa practice, thinking it was going to be indoors like on previous tuesdays, but the weather had cleared up right before practice time and we were out on the field--in full range of the mosquito population. most ladies were itching and i learned the word for "itchy" and won't forget it now.
Eisa is turning out to be a lot of fun. The dances are a bit complicated, but have gotten a hang of most of them. Am having trouble with transitions from one song to another, but that's probably 'cause we haven't practiced the full set of songs with transitions. Yesterday, they added the cheers, and so i now can rightfully scream "ha ee ya!" in response to the "ee ya sa sa" of the big drum dancers. and of course, this will actually make sense to only a handful of you, so i just gotta say to the rest of you, try to make it to the Ogimi festival this August 10 and 11th when i'll hopefully be performing the eisa with the group.
and it's looking like the rainy days are finally behind us. although, i say that now, and watch it pour down again this weekend. enough rain already!!