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A Wild, Wild Party January 29, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General.
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I went to another enkai (staff party) on Friday. The school has been taking part in a research survey for three years and it all culminated on Friday when teachers and educational service employees descended upon my main school in order to watch a series of team taught lessons. As I’m their very own foreigner, guess who was wheeled out and expected to perform in front of said onslaught of people in the know? Yep – me. To be honest, I really didn’t mind. What, after all, is my job about, if not team teaching? Three weeks ago, I was informed that I would be expected to be in the lesson, helping Julie with her lesson about comparatives and superlatives. However, Julie is a bit of a sly dog and so by the time Friday came round, the class we were showing off were on their seventh class of these grammar rules. So they rocked, basically.

However, for the first time, I was actively involved in a class at Junior High School. I had to give all the instructions in English to the class and, if needed, Julie would translate. I also had to take a good 15 minute slot of it, introducing some friends of mine in Japan. The kids had to get their heads around the names (“No, it’s Louise, not Luigi!”) and were then given information about them that they had to log in a table and then could choose to use these tidbits of information in their sentences which they would have to present to the class at the end of the lesson.

Ah, the table I made. First of all, it was just a table. Five names across the top, gridlines; nothing spectacular. Julie decided that this wasn’t enough. So I volunteered to miniaturise the larger pictures I would use in class and insert them into the grid as well. Once again, it wasn’t quite hitting Julie’s spot. She landed on the idea of my drawing cartoon versions of my friends. Needless to say, the (ahem) professional side of me baulked at the idea. Me? Drawing cartoons? Never! But the artistic side of me that has been yearning for something to do for the past six months jumped at the opportunity and I set about making my friends into characters. It actually came out much better than I had thought it would, with the final results actually resembling the real human. One of the kids, when he got to table, drew and extra picture on the end. I was interested to see who it was meant to be, but when I asked to see it, he obviously got the wrong idea because he ripped that section off the sheet and ate it. Yes, you read right: he ATE it.

Julie also had the idea that when the kids had to present their sentences to the group at the end of the class, they would write them down on sheets of card that were then stuck onto the board. The other groups in the class would then clap to decide who was the winning group. I was to bestow my honour upon the best individual. However, after one class, people were just clapping willy-nilly and when we tried to ask them again, the results were wildly different. So I offered the idea that maybe we could give each team captain a paper star that they affixed to their favourite group’s sheet, thus making it a lot easier to judge. Julie hurried away to make stars…

She came to me about five minutes later, telling me that everything she had drawn hadn’t looked very star-like and so hinted that I should offer to make them. Which I duly did – my creative side was wide awake by now and longing for some more activity. So I made some stars. Well, ten of them. And they each had different faces. It was then decided (by Julie) that they should be coloured. So, a quarter of an hour before the class that has, essentially, been being prepared for three years was to take place, I was sitting in the staffroom, colouring in cartoon stars.

The lesson went totally to plan. The kids enjoyed it. Their examples were great. I got to bribe them somewhat and the number of sentences about me soared. Such things as “James and Daryl are cool, but Mitch is the coolest in the world” were offered up as hopefuls for Best Individual. Ordinarily, in the other classes that we had rehearsed with, I had rewarded these insightful youths with old British stamps (don’t snigger – they’re the most desired accessory in Kuga Chugakko, let me tell you!), but in this class, I decided to bathe in the compliments with which I had been showered and went with the kids who had written really good sentences that hadn’t been about me.

All in all, it was really great preparing for such a class. That said, if I were a teacher and had to wait three years for every lesson for which I could be creative, it wouldn’t be so great a job, methinks.

That night, there was an enkai. A party. A piss-up. It was going to be carnage, not least because at the last one, the P.E. teacher, Alan, had expressed interest in challenging me to a saké drinking contest. I was seated next to the one English teacher in attendance and had some really nice chats with teachers whom I had never spoken with before, through him. Alan then stumbled over to me, pissed as a fart, asking me what I wanted to drink. Remembering his challenge and having the reputation of Britain on my shoulders, I proffered saké as an option. He jumped at it and all the other staff looked worryingly at me, either unsure of how I would deal with it, or certain the Alan clearly couldn’t. But I went ahead with it. I continued drinking even though the other table of teachers from my school had just upturned one of the tables, sending dishes flying. I continued drinking even though I could see that Alan was visibly wilting. I drank and I drank, for the sake of the British Isles. I drank for the Queen. I knocked back and thought of England. And, needless to say, I won. Outright. Alan was later seen wandering around outside, not looking for anything in particular. All together, a grand night!

Till next time!

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Comments»

1. Lia - January 29, 2008

Go Mitch!! I congratulate you on your amazing sake-drinking skills. And I am proud that you are out there, representing Britain in our biggest talent – binge drinking. Now all you need is to prove your worth at casual violence and you will have represented all the major achievements of the UK!

I jest. What are you up to apart from teaching, my dearest? I went to see Sweeney Todd at Warwick on Saturday – can’t wait to tell you all about it. “Laaaaaaaaaaaanddlooooooorrrrrrrd!!!!”
Big love and missing you lots
xxxx

2. Alex - January 31, 2008

I reckon the boy who ate his picture was embarrassed at what he’d drawn – a big love heart around his sentence that read: “I love Mitchell, my teacher”… Expect some table-standing of “Dead Poet’s Society” proportions when you leave.

Oh captain, my captain…

3. Wendy - February 1, 2008

After 3 weeks without Broadband, we have now caught up with your blog and are now free to make up a comment to add to your dwindling lack of self-esteem. Well done (I think!) on upholding the honour of the British (sake is something I will have to try to gauge just how well you did).

Glad some of the teaching is rewarding – I’d hate for you to feel totally inadequate.

Take care, Mumx


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