The past week has been a tiring one because our children’s classes had parents’ day. Since each class meets only once a week, this went on for the entire week.
Parents’ week stress actually started several weeks ago because we were required to hand in parents’ day lesson plans to our school administrators ahead of time for their approval. The due date for these plans was originally set for June 27th but at our weekly staff meeting during the second week of June, we were told that this date had been bumped up to the 18th and we had no choice but to scramble and get them done in a rush. The reason that we were given for the sudden change was that this would give administration time to help those new teachers whose plans weren’t adequate. As I expressed at staff meeting, suddenly giving me six days to complete a job that I thought I had fifteen days to do wasn’t likely to be helpful at all!
In addition to the stress of having to hand in our plans early, we were also expected to spend plenty of time in recent weeks prepping the kids for parents’ day instead of moving forward with our teaching but at the same time, we have a certain amount of work that has to be completed by the end of term! Is it any wonder that we get frustrated with our employer? On the other hand, I keep reminding myself that MIL is my ticket to being here in Japan. This is definitely where I wanted to be and that hasn’t changed so I try to remain as positive as possible.
I feel that most of my parents’ day classes went well, though it was usually very difficult to judge the parents’ reactions as they sat very quietly and showed very little reaction to anything that happened. I did have one class today where the parents responded with laughter and obvious appreciation. Perhaps that’s because it was Saturday and there were fathers in attendance. They seemed more relaxed than the moms and it didn’t hurt that the kids in that class are very young and very cute.
On the other hand, one of my littlest and cutest students is Mahiro. I call him my little boyfriend because every Monday he meets me in the reception room at Katsutadai school, takes me by the hand and leads me upstairs to our classroom. He’s absolutely adorable. There are only two children in that particular class. The second child is Hana, a little girl who is just as sweet, but she didn’t show up for parents’ day. Poor little Mahiro was on his own with an audience made up of his mother, grandmother and older sister. Though he left his shyness with me behind many weeks ago, that was too much for him and he never said a word out loud the entire class! He did everything I asked of him but would only whisper!
There are CDs that go along with each of our children’s textbooks. Often the kids are asked to listen to the CD and repeat what is said. In one of my classes this week, the CD stuck. I didn’t even know a CD could do that but it just kept repeating “their…their…their” over and over again! The kids dissolved in fits of giggles, the tension in the classroom was broken and things went smoothly from then on! There are also silly songs on the CDs that use familiar tunes to reinforce the vocabulary that we’re teaching. After practicing for weeks on end, I know, without a doubt, that some New Year’s Eve, I’m going to hear Auld Lang Syne and what will be going through my head is “Whose keys are these? Whose keys are these? Whose keys are these? They’re mine!”
Anyway, we’re glad it’s over and are happy that parents’ week happens only once a year. As we sip our wine and relax this evening, we look forward to tomorrow. Sunday, our favourite day of the week!