Once More The Wall

Even with a modest amount of exams to mark, I always find myself hitting a wall where I find I just can’t be bothered to finish. I feel as if I’ve been working hard but I don’t seem to be making much progress. Sometimes this is the fault of the exam, but mostly, I suspect, it’s my fault.

It’s a bit like those moment when you’re reading and you suddenly find you’ve been rereading the same passage for twenty minutes and still don’t have a damned clue about what it was you just read. You then spend 20 more minutes rereading and never get a damned clue.

In the case of exams, it’s mostly a lack of focus caused by constantly reading bad English through questionable handwriting. I’m convinced that constant exposure to bad English from students has a permanent effect on a teacher’s ability to use English correctly.

Eventually, I push through, and my standards either get tougher or easier. Don’t have a damned clue which it will be, though.

Partial Goodbyes at the Partial End of Business

Today I said “see you later” to groups of students I probably won’t actually see again or won’t see for a couple years except in the hallways at the school where I work. None of us were actually moved. Pretty soon I’ll remember names but won’t be able to match them to faces.

The end of the term brings a certain good-riddance feeling to even good classes. We’ve spent the better part of the year facing each other and it’s time to be done.

Complicating things is the problem that even though we are finishing some classes we are only partially done. We turned in JHS 3 marks (9th grade) today and high school marks are due Wednesday. After that we have another week of marking to do before we finish with the JHS first and second year students.

In my case, my worst classes are all either first or second year meaning I still have to deal with bad students. The dread of dealing with them one more time (and, knowing my luck, next year as well) has me more glum than I should be at the end of the year. This is especially true as there’s only a few weeks between “see-you-later” and “later”.

That Which is Important to Them is Not You

This week all the classes I taught were review classes. One student refused to review my class. Others understood a pun that almost got them bonus points.

Depending on the class, I’ll let the students study any subject for the last 20 or 25 minutes of the lesson. I usually give them material to work on for the first part of the class and in case they neglected to bring anything else to study.

One student, though, refused to even take out a pencil when he had the material for my class. He kept complaining that he wanted free study and I kept saying no. I also postponed the free study time for an extra five minutes.

Eventually I let the students study whatever they wanted an the the student who didn’t study started to study.

In my worst class, when it was free study time, four students just stood in the center of the room chatting and playing air sports. When I asked them what they were studying they said “Social studies”.

I said “I see. So you’re talking and being social.” They seemed to get that and then sat down and didn’t do any work.

Because they at least seemed to get the joke I almost gave them bonus points. Except that they didn’t actually do anything so I couldn’t.

Back in Being Almost Finished With Business

Two studied. A few pretended to study. The rest weren’t even aware they were supposed to be doing something. I didn’t care either way.

This is a strange week and it makes it hard for me to care very much.

A few classes still have class. A few classes have been moved and have class at a different time. A few others are not having class at all. At the same time I’m marking final exams but the constant on-again/off-again nature of the week, and the small number of exams currently in hand, makes it easy to put off dealing with them.

At the same time, if I have one or two classes in a day, I don’t really care what happens as long as blood or protruding bones aren’t involved. (i.e. As long as I don’t end up having to do any paperwork and/or interviews). If the students don’t want to study for their final exams, it’s not actually my problem. In fact, anything that increases the chances of them passing in a blank exam is good as that makes my job easier.

Eventually, I’ll be passing back completed exams on the same day I’m collecting exams for the classes I’m still teaching. At least then I’ll have large blocks of time available and will be able to get into a marking rhythm.

I still wont’ care, but at least I’ll get through things faster.

 

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 End of All That Edition

The Olympics ended with a few pleasant surprises and no small amount of Canadian tears.

USA winning gold medal in Men’s Curling: A

Number of Americans who care: >100

Number of Canadians who care: Many Many Many

Number of depressed Canadians: Many Many Many

Odds that Canadian Prime Minister Socksy Dancer will have to resign: Strong

Canadian losing to Germany in Men’s Hockey: F (For Canadians); Who cares? (For everyone else.)

Canada winning bronze: D- (for Canadians); Who cares? (For everyone else.)

Canadian team questioning goal and calling for video replay: F

Canadian announcer questioning Canadian teams questioning of goal: push

Video replay in hockey: F for WTF?

Odds of Canadian Government investigation into team selection process: High

Odds Canadian Prime Minister Socksy Dancer will be beheaded: push

Japan’s women making Curling final four: A

Japan winning bronze: A

Great Britain going for win only to lose: push

Yoshida Chinami: A

Takagi Nana’s gold in speed skating: A

Japan getting 13 medals (which is more than Nagano total): A

 

Closing Ceremony
Score: Automatic F

US uniforms: B+

Japan’s uniforms: B (the blue and gray hats and scarves were odd but looked good with red coat).

Thirteen year old guitar player: A-

Electric bungee TRON boys: F for WTF?

Drone formations: B+

Drone swarms: C

Forgetting lessons of the The Terminator: F

The Terminator: A

Every Terminator movie after The Terminator: F

Linda Hamilton in The Terminator: A

Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgement Day: A-

K-Pop: B

Endless K-Pop in closing ceremony: F

Image Mapping: A

On shadow dancers: A

Dancing in the shadows: A

“Shadow Dancing”: C

All this and nothing more: F

’70s references: F

Of songs you didn’t even like: F

Confusing “Shadow Dancing” with “Slow Dancing”: F

Johnny Rivers: B

Andy Gibb: B-

Dying young: F

Speeches: Automatic F.

That’s all for now. The next Olympics, in 2020, will be in Tokyo which will add a level of intensity to the proceedings.

Until then, take care and have fun.

 

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Scandalous Edition

The short hiatus is over and that means it’s time to deal with a few Olympic Scandals.

Katie Couric’s comments on people in the Netherlands skating to work: F

Katie Couric opening mouth to speak: F

Japan winning gold medal in Pursuit: A

Japan exceeding Nagano medal tally: A

South Korean pursuit skaters bullying teammate during and after race: F

South Korean’s bullying Canadian skater: F

Bullying Canadians: D-

Canadian Bullies: N/A (Except when they are talking about USA or to someone from USA, then D for Don’t care because it’s Canadians.)

Canada’s Ski-Cross lumberjack uniforms: A- (A+ if they’d been worn during opening ceremony.)

Being a lumberjack and being okay: A

Cliches: F

US Speed Skating’s scandalous and offensive naughty bits uniforms: D- (would love to hear the designers explain that design)

USA women defeating Canadian women for hockey gold: A

The match ending with a shootout: C+

Winning the shootout: A

Canadian Depression level after loss: C+

Canadian goalie ripping off silver medal: F

Drinking Canadian tears: B+

Odds that a big chunk of US team was actually from Canada: push

US men being eliminated from medal contention in hockey: D (for Don’t care because USA isn’t playing so sport is irrelevant.)

US men defeating Canadian men in Curling: A

USA being guaranteed highest finish ever in Curling: A

Canadian men missing out on chance at even a bronze medal: F (in Canada) D for Don’t Care (rest of world).

Odds that Canadian men’s team will be forced to settle outside of Canada: high

Odds of a national investigation into loss: high

The fact your humble editor actually watched hockey: push

 

 

Once More Into the Time of Confusion and Dread

A short interlude from the Olympics has been necessitated by the necessities related to an actual job.

This is the time of year at the school where I work when we all go slightly mad.

Classes for different grades end at different times and we find ourselves finishing exams for one grade whilst we have several days left to teach in other grades.

By next week we’ll be marking exams at the same time we’re planning and teaching other classes. During that time we may have one class on Wednesday afternoon and one class Thursday morning.

This seems awesome, but it requires we keep careful track of time and days lest we miss one of those classes. (Note: this happens more than it should.)

Eventually we’ll be passing back exams the same day we are getting others.

At some point we’ll stop caring, but today is not that day. Close. But not yet.

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Day Eleven-or-so Edition

Japanese television and online streaming have been dominated by Yuzuru Hanyu’s gold medal. Luckily, there are a few other things happening, although the Japanese press doesn’t seem to care.

Yuzuru Hanyu: A-

Shoma Uno: A-

Yuzuru Hanyu’s performance: A

Seeing Yuzuru Hanyu’s performance 24 hours straight: F

Simulcast failing in final 30 seconds of Hanyu’s actual performance: F

Men’s Free Skate: B

Winnie the Pooh: A

Eeyore: A+

Flinging Pooh: A

Flinging poo: F

Going there: D-

Hitting the easy ones: F

Totally Not Russian Russian team’s frown at their scores: A for not pretending.

Jin Boyang’s genuine joy: A

Genuine joy: A+

Possibility of genuine joy: C-

Japan finishing 1 and 2: A

Brian Orsor finishing 1 and 3: A

Brian Orsor’s income the next few years: A+

Javier Fernandez: A

Running real-time Technical Score: B

Potential for butt-hurt: F

Potential for controversy in a corrupt competition: F

Canada versus Sweden in Curling: A

Sport with the best sounds: Curling.

Samples:
Whatter ya’ tryin’ fer?
Never touch it. Never touch it.
Never. Never. Never.
It’s straight. It’s straight.
HARD! HARD! HARD!

Isabel Atkin: A

Great Britain’s first skiing medal: A

Fact that it come from an American: A+

Fact that it’s bronze: C

Delayed Medal Ceremony: D- for I just won a gold medal; let me get drunk NOW.

US Slopestyle ski suits: Maroon and Gray: B-. Maroon and Blue: A

Worst team uniforms: Norway’s curling trousers: F for wearing ugly Christmas sweater as trousers.

Watching three sports streams at once: E for Elvis.

Bobsled superimposing other sled to show actual victory distance: A for Really? Two-hundredths of a second is THAT far?

NBC screwing up Woman’s Super-G call: F

Ester Ledecka: A

Her Super-G run: A+

NBC: D-

All NBC announcers: F

US media in general: F

That’s all for now. More as it is discovered/created.

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Middle-ish Day Edition

As we approach the halfway point of the 2018 Winter Olympics we are now dealing with an odd new controversy.

For reasons your humble editor doesn’t fully understand, Great Britain is a leader in Skeleton, or high-speed head-first ice tube sledding. It turns out this may have something to do with their ability to bend the rules on helmet and suit design.

Cheating: F

Bending the rules: B

Skeleton: A as it is the only ice tube sliding event your humble considers to be an actual sport.

Hurtling head first down an ice tube on an unsteerable bit of tubing and plastic: B

Great Britain: A-

Mikaela Shiffrin: A+

Collapsing in the snow: A for Adorable.

Giant Slalom: A

Slalom: B-

Super Giant Slalom: A-

Czech Republic’s migraine aura ski suits: F

Mexico’s Day of the Dead ski suits: A+

The fact that whenever a movie visits Mexico, or any place in Central or South America it is always during the Festival of the Dead: C- for cliche.

USA vs Slovenia in hockey: C for choke.

USA Vs Slovakia: A

Event that sounds dirty if you mispronounce it: Women’s Aerials

Women’s Aerials: B

Aerials in general: B

Yuzuru Hanyu: A-

Figure Skating: B-

Ski Jumping: B

Japan’s current performance in a sport it used to dominate: D-

Snowboard Cross: B-

Snowboarding: push still have never tried it.

That’s all for now. More as your humble editors learns it/makes it up.

Crazy Japan Times Mere Blather Invasion: Winter Olympics 2018 Gold Medal Edition

On this day in the Olympics, whatever day it is, politics continues to influence events, but more on that in a bit.

 

Not realizing this is the 20th anniversary of this bit of nonsense: D

Realizing it’s the 20th anniversary: F+

Competition your humble editor should hate but can’t stop watching: Curling

OAR vs Norway Curling Mixed Doubles bronze medal match : A-

Your team being called OAR: F

Winning to get bronze: C

Losing to get silver: F

Canada vs Switzerland Curling Mixed Doubles gold medal match: A

Calling the match when you’re way behind: A-

Keeping hope alive: A, except when it prolongs an ass-whoopin’, then F

Killing hope dead: F, except when it shortens an ass-whoopin’, then A

Gettin’ your ass whooped: F

Abandonin’ “G” in your writin’ as a mere affectation: F

Favorite Curling announcer exchange:
Announcer 1 (with English accent): “Beautifully played again.”
Announcer 2 (with Irish accent): “Delightful really.”

Accidentally watching NBC’s Olympics coverage: F

NBC’s Coverage: NA for lack of actual sports coverage.

Coming out bigly against your country’s leaders on the world stage in a country that discriminates in the exact way you’re complaining about: F

Backtracking even more bigly: F

 

Wanted attention: B-

Unwanted attention: F

Dragging politics into the Olympics: F

Believing the Olympics isn’t political: F

Basically repeating same comment as before: F, for lazy.

Slopestyle vs Halfpipe: Slopestyle by far.

Shaun White: A

Ayumu Hirano: A-

Shaun White with short hair: push

Chloe Kim: A

Jamie Anderson: A

Seventeen-year-old competitors claiming two medals: A

The Olympic medal designs: A.  Your humble editor likes that design and the detail on the edges