Archive | April, 2017

The Law of the Land

20 Apr

The Law of the Land states that when you are so busy on one given day that sitting on the loo seems like ‘a break’ it is inevitable that someone will ask you to do something else and you will say fuckin YES – probably because

  1. you’re just a nice person, or
  2. you have an inability to say NO unless it’s to your husband asking for sex before you’ve had enough wine, or
  3. you want the money even if it means you’ll be a raging bitch to the family for the next three days….

Today was batshit. Thursdays have turned into my batshit crazy days. It used to be Wednesday but when I started working at the school in the next town over (from last April) it changed to Thursday. It doesn’t help that I started at a NEW school (also in the aforementioned town) on Tuesday this week – 3 hours of teaching from 9:30 to 12:30. I don’t mind teaching but first days can be a bit precarious ya know!! New teachers, new children. I didn’t know if I was going to be assisting the teacher or if I was going to be left to my own devices to impart my expansive knowledge of the English language, No David!, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar onto my new students. I didn’t know if the first graders would be receptive, or the 6th graders too cool for school.

It was fine though.

Mainly because I’m a fabulous teacher and great at reading kids (as in who is about to cry, pack a fuckin hissy fit, be a twat rah rah). Seriously. Not joking (pats self on back and pours a wine).

I then had a new Junior High student start in Tuesday’s JH class. She was fine. Seemed to enjoy herself and I could literally see a ‘penny drop’ moment which was great.

Rock on Wednesday and I had to clean the house in preparation for today’s Home Teacher Visits, teach three classes and then head over to the excitement that is a PT fuckin A meetings. There was some also shopping for sustenance to keep the family alive at meal time – because like, I didn’t have time to go forage in the hills for mountain root vegetables like I normally do. And I had to get the kids’ shit ready for soccer, make the meal, deal with Granny K and random visitors yaddah bloody yaddah. Seriously. I only cleared one level on Jelly Splash, THAT’S how busy Yesterday Was!!

Then today happened.

Today started with the normal routine.

Coffee, shouting and getting the kids out of the front door in time.

I then realised I was on traffic duty but had to drive to the person, who was last on traffic duty and who didn’t know what to do with traffic duty flag red bag at end of school year’s house. Get said flag. Extend flag arm and walk children over pedestrian crossing, which takes about 13 seconds. Go home and walk the dog, hang out the washing, dishes, tidy, vacuum, polish etcetera, etcetera.

At 9am I drive to the shop to get more caffeine, because well, it’s a multiple shot kind of day. I then drive by my English room to get a bag full of random teaching materials because the school I am teaching at has failed to inform me of any more details other than ‘you will be teaching, yoroshiku’. When I am the sole teacher I obviously prepare lessons but at the primary school they follow a curriculum and every teacher conducts their classes differently. I am the ‘paid fluent help’ in these classes.

I get to the school in time to meet the new Principal, new Vice Principal and new teachers – bar two. Japan has a stupid system of transferring teachers and other civil servants to different locations at the beginning of April. It is bloody ridiculous. On Tuesday the school I went to had a new Principal – who had NEVER taught at primary school level before…

boggle, boggle.

The mind just boggles.

I teach three classes in a row – but somehow the tea lady manages to convince me to have two cups of green tea and some coffee. I get told ‘in secret’ that the new third grade teacher hates English.

Fuckin Yay.

It would seem I have just embarked on a whole year with a teacher writing bloody katakana above the English. This is ‘trying’ to write the way a word is pronounced in English in Japanese. Like we would write ‘sigh-yo-nah-rah’ for ‘sayonara’ in Japanese. It is frustrating because we have many sounds that Japanese doesn’t have. like ‘si’ in ‘sick’ – or ‘th’ or fuckin ‘v’ – the list is endless.

After finishing the classes there is a quick meeting about the Saturday classes I ‘light-heartedly’ said I would teach this year. I got a letter yesterday in the mail saying thank you for your commitment. You will be teaching THREE hours every second Saturday. Last year I taught TWO as a FAVOR to the then principal whom I have known for more than 15 years.

I said my piece to the new principal – told him the Education Department had failed to inform me that I was teaching three hours instead of two and that it interfered with my children soccer pick-up duties and that there could well be Saturdays when I couldn’t teach that third lessen I didn’t know about until 24 hours ago.

He said it was fine because ‘the previous principal spoke so highly of me they didn’t care if I actually couldn’t teach half the lessons!!!’

Bloody hell.

I should charge more than the minimum wage for making coffee in NZ.

Actually doing anything in NZ.

When I take the kids back to NZ I have to pay my nieces the same hourly rate (more on a Saturday night) to babysit as I get paid, with 20 years experience, to teach English. They get to sit on a couch on their iPhones for the same price I have to get my energy sapped out of me by alien beings on crack. Tis not fair.

That said – I said yes (kind of) and I COULD have turned it down today but fuck, read the first paragraph of this post again.

 

SOOOOOOOOO, I finish at the bloody school and go the supermarket next door to forage for groceries.

I get home at 1pm. Teacher interviews are set to start at 1:30. I stuff a rice ball in my mouth – like I’m the Usain Bolt of eating rice balls, and then get dinner sorted – yakisoba, or noodles with pork, onion and carrot. I cut up some cucumber, tomatoes and orange for good measure, leave it in a tuppaware container and pat self on back for making a ‘salad’ with dinner. Three days a week I have to make dinner and then rely on Granny K or hub to fed the masses. It usually works.

Teacher one arrives and we talk about the golden child for 30 minutes. She leaves and 47 seconds later Shou and Marina’s teacher (they share the same homeroom teacher because the school is so small) arrives. She stays for an hour.. … I seriously thought she would only stay for about 40 minutes (at best I was looking at 25)… but she is new to the school, and area and I just happened to be her first home visit.

Fuckin Sigh.

She leaves at 3pm and I have 30 minutes to finish the fuck out of all the house stuff I was meant to finish before picking up English class kids, own kids AND taking Granny K to the God Dam post office (yes, all in the same trip).

And then I get an email from translation company haven’t heard from in about a month.

Can I finish a 12 page survey by tomorrow night?

…. ……

I actually consider vodka at this point but realise that a) I don’t actually drink vodka and b) well, just no, too much shit left to do.

So I reply with ‘sorry, no. BUT (read first paragraph of post again) if you can extend the deadline until Sunday evening I could do it for sure – no problem. AM ACHING to translate that document on that survey about rental spaces in Tokyo.

And then I had to teach three lessons, pick the kids up from soccer and….

come home.

Oh fuck, I forgot, in the 20 minutes I had between English classes I came home and washed the dinner dishes and cleaned up AGAIN.

And now????

I am going to pour wine and watch English anything. Probably My Kitchen Rules, Possibly Criminal Minds. You never know. I might just stream Adele interviews for an hour 🙂

 

Night you lot.

SDGH&QL

Note: ALSO am currently hemorrhaging vast amounts of blood out of the saloon doors. Which explains why have been bitchy to family but am also grateful for it because it means that I’m not with child – which was a possibility after hub and I got totally pissed and I said, tis OK, don’t need condom, will not get pregnant.

Said the woman who gets pregnant at the whiff of a man’t underpants.

 

 

 

More Chocolate & Punishment in School

17 Apr

LOL – apologies to anyone who read this when the title didn’t contain ‘&’. Chocolate Punishment, mmmmmmm.

Can’t believe I left ya’ll hanging on

“Shou’s chocolate cup-cake mission is another post – a post to be intwined with views on corporal punishment at schools. Chocolate and smacking, hmmmmmm.”

from the last post a MONTH ago. My apologies. You must have been on the edge of your seat all month.

So, rewind to last month. Shou decided he wanted to make some of my fabulous chocolate cupcakes (that I stole off the internet) to give back to the two older girls who gave him sweets on Valentine’s Day. Not wanting a repeat of the ridiculousness surrounding Marina taking her stuff to school Shou and I agreed that we would make them on Monday after school and I would take him to hand them out after dinner.

I was hoping for a few left over but he decided he was going to give the rest out as ‘tomo-choco’ or ‘friend-choco’ to his mates. Girls do the ‘tomo-choco’ thing a lot but I haven’t heard of it becoming a thing between boys. Not one to discourage him though, we wrapped up cupcakes for the other boy in his class, the three boys in 5th grade and one of the boys in 6th grade.

Shou was super excited and in a lovely nice, possibly slightly high on raw cupcake batter, mood as we set off – first stop, the girl he’s liked since he was a first grader. About 37 seconds after he races back to the car after stopping at her house, and with a huge grin and possibly a pink cheek or two, the phone rings. It is from his teacher.

Never a good sign. I have yet to encounter a teacher who rings up purely to tell me how well behaved, intelligent, respectful and nice my kids were that day.

I was driving but can see who the caller is. As I wait for an acceptable place to pull over to ring her back I ask the boy child if there is anything that might possibly have happened at school that day that would warrant a call from his teacher. He says no. This is such a male thing to say. I mean it’s not as if I am about to find out the whole truth when I ring her back!!

I pull over beside a mountain with shithouse cell-phone reception and ring her back just as ten concrete mixers and a gang of motorbike bogans roar pass. Needless to say I could only actually hear 68% of what she was saying.

BUT, from what I could gather, and with my superb ‘fill in the blank’ skills, garnered over years of international marriage and trying to have conversations with old people with no teeth, it seems that Shou and the other boy in his class both got a couple of clips round the side of the head from their teacher.

Not the teacher that I’m on the phone too – that is their Homeroom teacher. The teacher in question is their Japanese language and science teacher. She is as timid as they come and I can only presume she is dealing with a whole shitload of stuff outside of school AND/OR both the boys were being complete fucktards. This said though, there are only Shou and the other boy in the class. Two kids.

Anyhoo, not wanting to ruin Shou’s chocolate cupcake giving outing I choose to keep ‘the conversation’ until we get home.

The rest of the outing is successful, despite a couple of the boys (and their parents) being visibly shocked that boys giving each other chocolate is now a thing.

After discussing the aforementioned smack round the side of the head with Shou it would appear that the other boy was being a dickhead, got the first smack and then later, when he was standing too close to the heater and Shou said something along the lines of ‘don’t stand that close or you might combust in flames’ (or similar) the boy, not liking Shou’s choice of words, tackled him – which is a stupid move when you yourself aren’t that athletically gifted and your opponent is half All Black. Shou did what any kiwi kid would do and tackled him back. Quite well it would seem.

This netted them both a clip round the ears and subsequently put the other boy in a bastardly foul mood that lasted after class finished – prompting their homeroom teacher to ask what the matter was.

Shou was fine when he got home but it seems the other boy wasn’t as fine, as has been the case countless, numerous, untold times in the past. With just the two of them in the entire grade they have a love-hate relationship akin to siblingship.

The homeroom teacher wanted to explain what had happened to us incase the boys came home and said ‘the teacher whacked us’ and didn’t tell us the whole story. In her explanation, and in between concrete mixers and hooligan bikers, she says that ‘she is certain that the person most upset about the whole situation is the teacher’ – which later, when I was relaying the conversation to hub, really started to piss me off. Yes, she was having a bad day. Yes, the two boys were being fuckers. But how can smacking them make the teacher more upset than the boys?

The next morning I see the other boy’s mum at drop off and ask her if she got a phone call from the school. Yes, she did. The boys had a fight didn’t they? That was ALL the teacher told her!! I really don’t understand the discrepancy. I told her their teacher smacked them and she was shocked – and said that explained the foul mood her son was in.

They rang the school back, the teacher in question rang hub up and apologized, the principal was involved yaddah yaddah.

I mean back in the day kids were getting the cane left, right and center and physical punishment was a thing, especially here in Japan, up until quite recently. Now though, teachers can’t get away with it. I feel sorry for them, having to deal with parents who go nutshit when a teacher so much as implies their snowflake child might be flawed in some way.

Never the mind though. Lesson learnt.

Don’t be a cunty fucker during class.

 

SDGH&QL

 

NOTE: I teach a class with four sometimes extremely disruptive and physical boys at the school in the next town over. Their teacher resigned this year, from teaching, at the age of 30. I don’t think teachers should be able to beat on their students but if a kid is being physical and disruptive then I am all for physically removing them from the class and making them sit in the principal’s office (or hallway or where ever) until they can calm the fuck down. This teacher would say things like ‘right, if you aren’t interested in learning you can go to the back of the class while the rest of us learn – so there would be silly bastards at the back of the class while the rest of us are trying, in vain, to belt out a good version of the ‘Days of the Week’ song or similar. One day I had to stop her mid-lesson and go nutshit at the misbehaving boys. I went and sat in the principals office with a coffee and told her to send the boys to get me when they wanted to learn. They came crying and sniveling about five minutes later. Jeeze.

Thoughts on punishment in schools and/or methods of dealing with bad behavior at school welcome.

Mrs D Is Going Without

Too much wine in rural Japan