This is post 1311 of this bit of blather and it has me thinking that after three and a half years of blather, it’s time to to start rethinking things.
Although I like the daily writing habit, lately it’s begun to feel like more of a chore than it should be. Out of laziness I’ve ended up writing about work and what I’ve done for the day which is exactly what I’d been hoping to avoid when I started this bit of blather.
Because of that, I suspect a short hiatus is in the works, although I’m also considering a different kind of writing project.
I’ll keep putting out some blather until the end of this month, and then I’ll make some decisions about how to proceed.
Today I had to bring in the assistance of a homeroom teacher, which is not something I like to do.
I have a student who hasn’t had his speech paper on his person since school started. In fact, until today, I hadn’t seen a single word he’d written, although I’d seen a lot of attitude. He kept insisting he’d left his paper at home and that, because he’d already written a speech, he was exempt from doing anything at all. For three consecutive classes.
I suspect, base on his actions in the past, that he was planning on improvising as much as he could. What he couldn’t do, he planned to turn into a comedy routine.
However, for the speech contest, that’s unacceptable. Therefore, today, I wrote up a “Doom Note” (long story) and rather than delivering it to the student’s classroom, I delivered it to his homeroom teacher.
At lunch, the student showed up with a speech scribbled on a random piece of notebook paper. This means he either didn’t actually do the summer homework or hadn’t bothered to bring it from his house.
This meant my “lunch date” lasted only a few minutes. But it was worth it.
Today’s classes were bad, albeit in a kind of ordinary way.
First, my lowest level 7th graders were supposed to have performed their speech contest speeches in class today. However, one hadn’t finished and will get a lunch date tomorrow if he doesn’t finish. Others had not brought their papers and decided that exempted them from having to do anything.
They were shocked when I made them go up the front and do their speeches.
Since it was a self-introduction I felt they should have been able to do it without their scripts. However, when two started with “My name is…uh…uh…” they got sat down and got zeroes. In fact, one third of the class ended up getting zeroes and will have to go again on Monday.
In my 9th grade class students were only supposed to do dress rehearsal. However, one student has been avoiding me because he has yet to finish a speech script. Today he ran off to the nurse’s office. He’ll be in at lunch tomorrow as well, even if I have to annoy his homeroom teacher.
I suspect that he thinks that if he delays long enough he won’t have to do it. Staying after school every day next week will probably cure him of that. As I’ve said before: he doesn’t realize I do this for sport.
The rest of the class was pretty good, though. I have to give them that.
One of the tricks for dealing with bad students who think they’re really cool is to get under their skin whilst not letting them get under yours, The trouble is, by the time you feel the need to get under their skin, they’ve already got under yours. .
For example, I have an 8th grade student who’s decided he’s too cool for my class. (Note: this is one of the defining characteristics of 8th graders.) Last week, rather than work on homework when he had the chance, he spent the class playing Cat’s Cradle with a piece of green yarn. He sits with his back to me, even when I’m speaking, and today he refused to sit in his assigned seat. (Also a defining characteristic of 8th graders at the school where I work.)
Even after I told him to get in his assigned seat he just kind of shrugged and continued to talk with his friends rather than practice his speech contest speech.
During the actual speech time, when each student had to go the front and read their speech (Note: today was only practice; long story). I started calling him by the name of the student who was supposed to be sitting in the chair he was occupying. This seemed to get under his skin and make him mad, especially when I called him to do his speech. Rather than go to the front, he went back to his regular chair.
He then got mad when I told him to do his speech anyway. He gave me an eye roll and a smug look and refused to go up to the front. I leaned back and said I had all evening because the class was sixth period. I told him we could stay until 3:30 or 4:30. Either way, we’d stay until every student was finished.
Because he had me last year he knew I wasn’t bluffing and finally did his speech. He went back to the wrong seat again, but he also did the worksheet I handed out once everyone was finished.
We just came off a three day weekend and today everyone was already going “Is it really only Tuesday?”
This is partly because the typhoon messed up schedules and created a dreary weekend that should have otherwise been fun. We’ve also got marking to do and new lessons to plan and, in my case, a handful of students to chase down so I can force them to write speeches at odd hours. (Granted, I usually do this for sport, but I’ve been feeling out of sorts for a couple weeks to it feels less like fun and more like work.)
I’ve also been giving the future of this little bit of blather a lot of thought, but I’ll get to that in a another post.
Luckily, my schedule actually gets easier as I go along this week. But this doesn’t mean I’ll be more productive.
As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. The storm passed us and we got the warm, muggy, clear weather that follows a storm.
She Who Must Be Obeyed and our youngest made it back with no problems, although they did encounter some rain.
The rain before had messed up her reason for going: rice harvest. Now a group of cousins are being dragged out of retirement to help with harvest and we’ll probably have new rice in a couple weeks.
Our oldest also made it back from school on time, although there was some confusion about whether or not she needed lunch:
Me: When are you coming back today?
Me: Do you need lunch today?
Me: (shouting out window) Do you need lunch today?
It turned out she did need lunch, but she arrived home after I ate so I sent her on a mission to buy a lunch at a convenience store.
Then, I tried to teach her how to answer questions.
Between typhoons, missiles and rain, it’s been a pretty dreary weekend.
The missiles don’t bother me as much as they probably should, mostly because they don’t trigger migraines. (Yeah, I know, death, destruction, and mayhem, but when you have a migraine that’s pretty much what you wish on the world anyway.)
The typhoon, though, triggered a migraine yesterday and offered rainy, gray, dreary weather today.
This, as you might imagine, inspired me to do very little.
I got some writing done, but mostly I researched a bunch of nonsense based on one or two random notions that got stuck in my head. I also finished watching season five of Angel.
Now the big worry is She Who Must Be Obeyed and our youngest getting back from Niigata safely. They plan to travel back tomorrow and I’d tell them to wait, but I’m not He Who Must Be Obeyed and any suggestion that they should wait might actually trigger the opposite reaction.
Instead I may tell them to rush home. Either way, I’ll probably spend the day worrying.
Today, oddly, had it all but I didn’t actually do much.
She Who Must Be Obeyed went to the in-laws for the three-day weekend whilst out oldest and I continue to go about our daily business. For me that involved doing shockingly little.
This meant there were some “see you laters” and I settled in to do nothing. Sometime during doing nothing I got my migraine spot which led to medicine and a nap.
The nap led to, well, nothing.
This week went surprisingly quickly, but maybe because I wasn’t actually teaching.
This week, since I have mostly junior high school classes, I spent most of my time chasing down and listening to speeches. Because of this, I didn’t have much to prepare.
This usually leads to a boring week, but this week went quickly.
Perhaps it’s because the weather, despite a coming typhoon and lots of humidity, is getting cooler. Or perhaps it’s because I’m not yet in the phase of teaching where I have to care about what I’m doing.
Eventually I’ll have to start caring and the weeks will get longer. Until then, It’s kind of fun not having much to do because I don’t care what gets done.
I am perhaps less sympathetic than I should be, but sometimes I just don’t care.
If I really sit down with an idea, I can knock out a 1,000 word essay in an hour or so, and still have time for at least one revision. Because I can do this, I sometimes forget that others can’t. I do remember that days when writing 1,000 words was difficult and that sometimes makes my heart grows one size those days.
However, when it comes to students at the school where I work, I’m much less sympathetic. My heart gets fairly small.
For example, today one of my 9th grade students passed me the text of his speech contest speech. He’s had since July 14th to work on it, but he had written fewer than 50 words of a speech that’s supposed to last 90 seconds to two minutes long.
This means that if he’d only written one word each day since he’d received the assignment his speech would be longer than what he presented me today. I told him to make it longer and he genuinely didn’t seem to understand what was wrong, even after I underlined the pertinent section in the Japanese language instructions.
He didn’t even seem savvy enough to copy the included example and simply change a few words as most of his fellow students did.
Luckily for both of us he listened to my advice and made it long enough that I didn’t require him to come in at lunch.
I still have a few students to chase down though. They might ruin my lunch, which makes me very unsympathetic.