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Bitch, Bitch, Bitch May 12, 2008

Posted by Mitch in Rantings.
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Having just finished my first day of elementary school since February, I’ve got to say I’m shocked. The new question that I decided to cover with my kids was “Where are you from?” and introduce the English names for countries of the world. First of all, they seemed a little shocked that in England, Korea isn’t known as Kankoku. They also managed to bowl me over by not even being able to point out where Japan was on a map. Now, in their defence, the map was small and they were 9 or 10 years old, but I’m pretty certain that when I was 10 I could find Britain on a map. Once I ascertained that they were, indeed, little retards, the hope of them being able to find the other 9 countries on my list (England, America, Canada, Australia, Korea, Russia, China, France and Germany) diminished rather rapidly. In one of my classes there were two boys who, apart from Germany and France, found everything I asked them to. The others had to refer to their geography books. One of the teachers told me that they were only used to Japanese maps. The irony of this is the fact that these maps have Japan in the middle of the planet, as opposed to Europe and Africa being roughly central. The validity of her statement fell short as I was using Japanese style maps so the kids had no excuse. As I said, I could forgive not knowing where the European countries where – ask any English student to name countries in Asia and I’m sure they’d come up wanting. But to not even be able to find their home country, I found absolutely appalling. As a friend of mine commented; “Are they turning American?”

The school I’m at at the moment is the one that has previously been referred to as the ESIDL (the elementary school I don’t like), and this morning I was mulling over the unfairness of this acronym. That was, of course, until I got there. I don’t know what it is about this school, but the kids annoy me and the teacher grate even more. I got there to find that the shoe locker I had been assigned had disappeared from existence, presumably never to appear again and that the desk that had once been mine had been moved and so I had to wait around for the first 5 minutes or so whilst the headteacher and the vice principal searched the staffroom for somewhere for me to put my stuff. It happens to be by the staffroom phone, so if I’m not in my seat when someone wants to make a phone call, they just sit in my seat and I have to wait for them to finish their conversation before being allowed to “take a pew”. They also insist on asking me every month what I intend to do the following month. I don’t plan anything that far in advance and so, almost every month they ask, I tell them I have no plan. The only time I did feel compelled to make up a plan on the spot, I didn’t keep to it and none of the teachers remembered anyway. But this time, I had to have a meeting with the 3rd grade teachers. Now, one of these women pissed me off a while ago. I was explaining the rules to a game. It was really simple. Even in English the rules are simple and if they were explained to me in Japanese, they’re so simple that I would probably understand. But this one woman looked at me, then turned, laughing and said to the class “Well, I don’t understand him!” The lack of her even attempting to provide a joint effort angered me more than her stupidity, so I just launched into the game before I punched her in the ear. As it turns out, it was so easy I didn’t even need to try and explain it. So today, when I have to have a meeting with her, you can understand that I’m not jumping in the air at the prospect. She came over to me, spoke a lot of really fast Japanese that I wouldn’t have even understood had it been slower, and then asked if I understood. I told her I didn’t and she proceeded to do exactly the same. So this time I told her that I did understand and she seemed to take the hint and left. From the bits that I vaguely understood and the random English words she inserted, I took it that she was criticising the lesson I had with her this morning (not the one with an easy game and also not the geography quiz lesson – just an introduction lesson for the little’uns). I know that I’m not a trained teacher and she is, but I’ve got to say, I thought it was a little rich that she would tell me how to teach English when she clearly has very little to put forward herself. The fact that the lesson I gave to her class this morning has been praised by other teachers is neither here nor there, but again, I wanted to hit her. In the ovary.

Aside from being an angry young man, I don’t have that much to report. The past weekend was great – I did very little apart from sit in my house and work my way through the Star Wars epic. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch all 6, but have Return of the Jedi still to watch. But doing nothing but watching movies and cleaning my apartment was a brilliant use of my time. What with Korea and all my other numerous plans before then, I haven’t really had a weekend to myself. I realise that this is probably because I want to make the most of what time I have left here, but it also helps me to save money and lets me get the most out of my weekend (i.e. I get to sleep in!)

Right, on that note I should go. I’ve got a bit of ironing to do and then I’m heading into Iwakuni.

Till next time!

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