What a Day….

The best way to describe my orientation day at my new job is that it was like a Polaroid picture. Completely opaque and confusing at the beginning, but a whole lot clearer by the end.

I left the house at 6:30 and got to the school at 8:30 – slightly later than I wanted, as I was selfish enough to use the toilet at the train station and thereby missed the bus – and met some of the other new teachers. From there we were herded into a faculty meeting where we got to introduce ourselves. I think I did okay, mumbling something in Japanese that sounded like what everyone else was saying [1]. From there was a long presentation on something, very little of which I understood since it was all in Japanese, but I did my damndest to turn pages when everyone else did and look thoughtfully up at the guy who happened to be talking at the time. That was about two hours, and I hardly understood any of it. Fortunately my department-section-division head boss-type-person summarized it in about five minutes.

From there, we went into the teacher’s room, which is – and I do not use this word lightly – ginormous. What thrilled me was that I get a desk – a desk! And a locker for the stuff that doesn’t fit in my desk! I know, you’re thinking, “But Chris, it’s a job – you’re supposed to have a desk.” Well, you’ve never worked at an English Conversation School, have you? I fight for every inch of space I can get there [2], and now they’re offering me a whole desk! All to myself!

Anyway, we had a couple more meetings after that and I got to try the cafeteria food. What it all comes down to are the following:

  • My fellow teachers [3] are very willing to help me hit the ground running. They’ve got a ton of material to draw from and ideas to use. That helps immeasurably.
  • They also have nothing but good to say about the students. That’s quite encouraging, because in my experience if there’s something to complain about, a teacher will complain about it.
  • I’m actually expected to think about what I want to do, set goals for myself and all that. My current gig doesn’t really require that – all we have to do is find a lesson that works for the group you have and take two minutes to plan. NOVA is fine if we just follow their pre-done lesson plans, but here I’ll actually have to put some thought into what I do with the students. That is both wonderful and, of course, horrifying.

Still and all, I’m looking forward to it. Our books for the first half of the year or so are Fahrenheit 451, Things Fall Apart and a selection of stories from Edgar Allen Poe. Once they’re done, I can decide what we read next. Yay!

Oh, and I’ll be working with the drama club.

Now. Off to bed…..

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[1] I think I set a land-speed record for learning a new word: kyouka, which is “subject” or “curriculum.” My exact thought process: “Oh shit, I don’t know how to say what I teach. Okay, listen for a repeated word…. Got it. kyoukakyoukakyoukakyouka…..

[2] That reminds me – I have to disarm the mines before I leave.

[3] One of whom, I might add, is a dead ringer for Zachary Quinto. When I met him I very nearly screamed and covered my brain.

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