Settling in (again)

The process of adjusting to a new situation can be difficult.  There’s a new routine to become accustomed to, new people to get familiar with, and new rules to follow.  I’ve completed my first week of teaching my new classes solo, and I feel really good about my progress so far.

My schedule was swapped around, and I have some students I did not meet during my first week of training.  Tristan (the other teacher) and I met for lunch and coffee to go over the students we were swapping, and to get a feel for what we could expect in the classroom.  I’m grateful to have him as a resource – he’s been teaching at my school for about a year, and still really enjoys it.  I hope a year from now I still feel as positive about things as I do now!

Teaching solo was an eye-opening experience – I learned what changes I need to make to my lesson plans, what classes are going to take some extra effort, what classes are easiest to teach, and what I need to do to ensure all of my students are learning something every week.  For the most part, my students seemed to make the transition to my teaching well.  The majority of my classes are fun and all of the kids are fantastic.  So many of them have such a great sense of humor, and it makes the experience fun for everyone.

My returnee class is extremely enjoyable (I included a quote from one of the boys in the last post).  The kids have a high level of English and enjoy speaking to one another about a variety of different subjects.  This class mostly focuses on building vocabulary and speaking skills, so it’s very free flowing.  My students apparently had their “learn about boys and girls” day at school this week, and their interpretations were hilarious.

Takuya: “At school today we talked about boys and girls and changing.”

Me:  “Oh, really?”

Takuya: “Yeah, and then we talked about sex.”

Me: “Was it fun?”

Takuya: “YEAH!”

I think the kid is 11.  He’s an absolute crackup.  The hardest part of this class is getting them to focus on using English – they switch back and forth between Japanese and English a lot, and since I can still understand them when they speak Japanese, I often don’t think to bring the focus back to the language they’re supposed to be practicing.

I still have a ton to learn and every single class is an educational experience for me (as well as the kids, I hope).  I’m glad to be establishing myself quickly, and happier still that I’m enjoying every aspect of being back here.

It’s not all work for me, though – I have had the chance to get out and play on the weekends.  I’m re-familiarizing with old haunts, finding new places, and have already started in on doing some things I never got the chance to do the last time I was here.

Wackiest thing I’ve eaten recently (sorry, Mom, you might want to look away for this one):

This is a restaurant where diners have the option to catch their own fish and have it prepared for dinner.  As I think this picture illustrates, the option was taken advantage of for this meal.  I, unfortunately was lacking in fishing skill, but my comrade for the evening managed to secure us food.  This thing was still twitching on its skewer and was a bit chewy for our tastes, but it was an experience in itself!

P.S. – Thanks to everyone who was concerned about the tsunami action last week – nothing happened!  We were graced with glorious weather one day this week, but unfortunately, the rest of the forecast calls for rain.  Sigh.  While I don’t always like the rain, I do enjoy coming home to this at the end of the day:

The hallway is lined with wet umbrellas the owners leave out to dry.  I’ve seen this a few times now and something just strikes me about it as oddly charming.

To recap: settling in is going well.  I’m glad every day to be back, and happy to be finally out doing so much while still enjoying my time at work.  I’m putting together a new YouTube video and hope to have it ready within the next day – I’ve been slacking a bit on this one, apologies.  Stay tuned!

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4 Responses to Settling in (again)

  1. Steve says:

    Glad to know that your teaching experience is positive!!!

  2. Gweb says:

    Wow, the fish skewers sounds pretty wild. Twitching?!

    I have the same language problem with my R.A.s in my dorm. I’m suppose to be using as much Japanese as I can, but I often slip back into English and since they understand a lot of English it’s hard to get that authentic experience I guess. They respond in Japanese, so I’m grateful for that at least.

    Nice picture of the umbrellas.

    -Nagoya G.A.

  3. Gram says:

    Hi Alisha
    Glad to hear you are doing well and enjoying your return to Tokyo. I too can do without the picture of the twitching fish. ugh. Keep warm, Love You, Gram

  4. Mom says:

    As you know I am a Pisces and I cannot believe you killed and ate one of my people!

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