A Tale of Two Concerts

Last Friday and Saturday our oldest and youngest had concerts.

Our oldest performed in her final brass band concert before entering “Exam Hell” (more on that in a future post) and this involved a nearly two hour concert complete with acting, comedy, dancing, and giveaways. It ends with the seniors lined up as they are introduced and a certain amount of tears flow.

It is quite a show and our oldest spent a lot of time preparing for it. She was also part of the advertising committee which meant I got to spend a lot of time helping and my personal computer and printer got a workout. (Note: I’m annoyed I was not mentioned in the program’s acknowledgements. Our oldest is still doing dishes because of that.)

The concert was open to the public which meant I looked at every older male with suspicion as our oldest’s school has it’s own class of pervert.

The next day, Saturday, our youngest finally got to perform the Christmas Concert that was cancelled because of a flood in October. Because the house of one of the piano teachers involved was flooded, the concert was postponed as she apparently lost both a piano and an organ and couldn’t teach her students.

Unfortunately, this meant that concert was extra long and involved three acts of over an hour each plus 10 minute intervals. Young kids go first, then slightly older kids, then the oldest, and usually the best kids.

Our youngest was involved in a couple performances (playing piano and bell ringing) which meant we had to stay around. Making things even longer, both instructors took time to perform on both the piano and the organ. As they chose long pieces, the event became even longer.

It was fun to see our youngest perform, but not as much fun to see everyone else.

Next year, there will be junior high school concerts to attend as our youngest has apparently decided to join brass band club. There also may be a piano concert.

Badder to Better in the Day that Interrupts

Today was a day of work that interrupted a series of holidays. If there was such a thing as a just God, the Christian school where I work would have declared today a day off. However, they did not, therefore God is not just. (Something like that.)

At the end of April and the beginning of May in Japan four national holidays all fall in the same week. This week Monday is Showa Day; Thursday is Constitution Day; and Friday is Greenery Day. Saturday is Children’s Day and, oddly, this year it gets me an extra day off.

In between all this, the school where I work has, in an unusual move, scheduled the annual student health check for Wednesday. As the school where I work in not concerned about my health, I have a day off.

However, today nothing was scheduled and because there is no God (something like that) I had to teach four classes. However, the students had clearly decided that today was a special party time and my first two classes of the day were especially bad.

The last two classes were better and that salvaged my attitude.  Now I have no place to be for the next five days.

Maybe there is a just God after all…

Should They Stay or Should They Go?

His problems will become my problems, but my problems will remain my problems. Anything good will become his. Except in the one class where it won’t.

I’ve mentioned before how the junior high school classes at the school where I work are divided into S or “Special”, which are the higher level students, and R or “Retar, er, NOT Special” which are the lower level students.

The depressing part is that JHS 1 students (7th graders) are not separated until after summer. Because of this we have a mix of higher and lower level students.

However, we already know if we’ll have the higher or lower level classes and, since I have two lower level classes, it’s hard not to get depressed.

That kid who makes sex jokes but never actually writes anything will stay in my class. That kid with the English accent and the near perfect grammar, he’ll be moving out of class. That kid who’s eye’s glaze over whenever I speak to him, he’s definitely staying

In my higher level classes. I have the opposite feeling. That kid who turns everything I say into a sex joke will probably be moving down to the R class. That kid who thinks I won’t make him write that bad word 1,000 times will also probably be moving down.

At least I hope they will.

All Bad Boys Go To Canada

I almost sent a student to Canada today–I even wrote his name in the book–but he did his work and I decided not to send him.

A Canadian colleague gave me a Canada notebook after her trip home last year. It’s been sitting in or on my desk at work since then as I’ve tried to figure out what to do with it.

The cover of the notebook. The Canada shape is actually a hole in the cover.

At long last, as part of my goal to use up as many notebooks as I can this year, I finally came up with a use for it: This year, until the notebook’s used up, all bad boys in my classes will have their names, and their punishments written in the Canada book.

I’ve informed my classes that if they are bad they will be “sent to Canada”. Today a boy refused to do work and got the honor of being the first name in the book. I informed him and his classmates that he was “going to Canada” and that meant he had to meet me at lunch to do his work.

This inspired him to do the work and I told him he didn’t have to go to Canada anymore.

The notebook itself is unbranded and is not my style of notebook. The pages have lots of unnecessary ornamentation and lines that are a bit too thick. That said, the paper is actually quite fountain pen friendly. It’s got some tooth and it holds up well to almost every fountain pen I’ve used on it. The only ink that broke it was Wancher Matcha, the heart breaker (it breaks hearts).

Also, it does have a bit of feathering with especially wet inks.

A few inks scribbles in the paper.

The backside of the same page. That’s Matcha bleeding through at the bottom.

Given the way the year is already shaping up, I suspect a lot of boys will be sent to Canada and I’ll eventually need another book.

It’ll have to be a New Zealand notebook, though, so I can annoy the colleague who sits on the other side of my desk.

 

A Pleasant Surprise or an Evil Twin

He said hello and asked if I remembered him. I said “Of course I remember you, Mr. Dramatica” and then we exchanged a fist bump. After that, well, things got weird, and although he looked familiar, I’m not actually sure he was the same kid.

Although I’ve seen bad students change for the better, I’ve only seen it happen once and heard about it happening one other time. I’ve never seen it happen in the year when students are supposed to be bad. In the former case, one of the worst students I’ve ever had in junior high school became a decent high school student after being held back at least once. In the second case, I escorted a student to the principal’s office (even though I shouldn’t have) and heard that he became a better student after that.

In the current case, though, the student has changed fast enough that it has me kind of paranoid and I’m convinced I had the evil twin before and the good twin now. Or maybe he’s still the evil twin and I’m just being played.

That said, he not only acted friendly, he followed instructions and asked questions when he didn’t understand. Just when I thought things couldn’t get stranger, he volunteered to do his speech. Making things even more bizarre, he wasn’t the worst student in the class. (Note: he is now an 8th grader/Japanese JHS 2.)

I didn’t say much about his behavior in case 1) I might spoil him and encourage bad behavior or 2) I might wake up from the dream I’m in.

Then again, it is early in the year…

 

 

 

 

Another Day, Another Day

The more things change, the more I end up changing things.

After careful consideration, I’ve decided to slide this bit of blather over a day and begin posting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday rather than Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I do this because I now have a part time job on Saturday mornings and this involves getting up early and teaching 9th and 10th graders for three hours. It’s easy work, but it requires me to go to bed a bit earlier than I normally would on a Friday and this has caused me to skip a couple Fridays now.

My goal is to use Saturday to process photographs, the dread of which has kept me from finishing several reviews and even finishing a post that explains why all bad boys in my classes will go to Canada this year.

More on that in a future post. Probably.

 

The Last Day Before the Whatevering

Today is the last day before classes actually start and I’m befuddled that two people are actually optimistic. Well, actually, I understand why: They are new or have been absent.

It is a tradition at this point in the start of the year to carefully study class lists and either celebrate or swear and drink heavily.

In my case, my list isn’t that bad, although I do have a couple problem students from last year and one class that promises to be problematic. At least that class is before lunch.

As for the optimists, one is a replacement for a teacher who found a different job and the other was on maternity leave last year. The former is naive and the latter claims to have relaxed more than she’s ever relaxed in her life.

At this point I went: do you actually have two kids?

That said, new classes bring new dynamics because the worst players appear to have been split up. JHS 2 (8th graders) will still be terrible, but at least they are only once a week.

Oddly, I remain oddly optimistic.

Growing into Uniforms and Placement

Note: Been in the oddly busy part of the end of break and that means I guess I decided that Friday was a hiatus.

The only exciting thing that’s happened recently is our youngest started 7th grade today.

This involved her, after all these years, finally getting a uniform and being more obviously segregated by gender.

They marched in with girls on the left and boys on the right.

There was the usual round of introductions in which every new student (71 in total) was introduced by name. There was some excitement as a student in a higher grade fainted or had an epileptic seizure and was escorted out.

Eventually, our youngest gave a speech on behalf of her class of new students. I still do not understand how she was chosen to do this, but she rocked. The speech was good and she read it like an old pro. She has clearly inherited speech-making genes from both me and She Who Must Be Obeyed, who also has been known to make impressive speeches.

Eventually the students left and we parents suddenly found ourselves being held hostage. It is tradition to observe the first homeroom, which was happening as we sat there. However we were assured we couldn’t get to the homerooms before they ended unless five people volunteered to serve on the PTA. As I was holding down SWMBO’s hands she couldn’t volunteer.

Eventually volunteers were drafted and we got to see the homeroom and run home.

I ended up having to go to work, but that ‘s a story for another day.

Back and Back to Normalish

The girls survived their trip to and from Niigata. They brought back the usual baggage, though.

This means that within one day we’ve already had arguments, a surprise latish night, and serious questions about the food I ate whilst they were gone. I’ve also been criticized for not eating something that 1) I didn’t know I was supposed to eat and 2) was buried under stuff where I couldn’t see it.

That said, it’s good to have them back and in one piece.

Now it’s time to settle in to something resembling normal and start thinking about the start of the school year, which may suddenly be more complicated than I’d hoped.

More on that in a future post. (Along with possible job hunting.)

Missed it By That Much

Missed a day thanks to a game. My intentions were good but my actions, well.

Before writing yesterday’s post I decided to play a few rounds of a game. I ended up teaming up with an old friend and that meant I played longer than I’d planned.

At 4:00 a.m. I decided it was time to get to bed as today is technically a work day (aka House Arrest.) At least it’s supposed to be. More on that in a future, possibly angry post.

I was mostly pleased to see that I could still pull an all-nighter and be reasonably functional the next day.

However, I opted for a few hours sleep rather than writing a post.

Now it may be time to play again, but She Who Must Be Obeyed and the girls are returning tomorrow. I don’t have to be coherent or awake, but I do have some cleaning to do.