Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Summer Vacation! You Don't Exist!

Today was the last day of the first Japanese school semester and the start of summer vacation. Even though I am still expected at work during the break, I've requested enough nenkyuu (paid vacation) to keep me away from the office. In all seriousness, I desperately need a mental break. Japan has a masochistic school schedule with summer vacations only spanning a little over a month; and even when there are no classes to teach (say, during spring vacation), the teachers are still expected at work. 

I sound a bit whiny, huh? 

Truthfully, I am exhausted with planning English lessons, games, and activities. For example, I planned a lesson based on Frozen and had the 4th graders at Ginoza Elementary sing a bilingual version of "Let it Go." A bilingual version of the song doesn't exist, so I had to use my nerd skills to splice together the Japanese and English versions of the song. I also made a handout with the lyrics and, since the kids can't read English, I inserted the Japanese phonetics for the English words. After teaching the 4th graders, all the other grades wanted to learn the bilingual version of "Let it Go" as well. After teaching the lesson 20 times at three different schools (I'm not sure if that's an exaggeration anymore), I wanted to punch Elsa in the face.

It begins to feel like Groundhog's Day, and what's worse is that some students give up without even attempting the activity because of the muri or "impossible" attitude that anything slightly difficult is impossible to achieve. So I have to begrudgingly cheer them on even though I want to shake the sense into them. I can't get upset, though. I just found out yesterday that my 6th graders believe I speak Japanese because they think I'm half Japanese. They just cannot fathom that I studied Japanese. 

Do you see why I need this mental break?

I have a lot of plans for this summer, but my first act of summer business is to ignore my students as though they don't exist.

Just kidding! I'm not that mean! Well, that actually depends on who you ask, lol! 

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