"ne" sensei

copied from my IRL notepad journal:
This week, the weather has changed again. After a shaky start of intermittent and misleading warm days, it seems that spring has finally come to stay. Yesterday I was commuting to my weekly Japanese class downtown, and I was actually uncomfortably hot on the train, which was a nice change of pace. It means that the weather will be beautiful for about 2 weeks followed by hordes of giant mutant insects and what one of my friends likes to call "the death heat."

It's an emotional time of flux at work as well; yesterday marked the last day of classes and teacher transfers were announced, which is to say the Board of Education released the information about which teachers will transfer to a new school in the Spring and which will stay put. This process occurs entirely without input from the teachers concerned and they are informed of the decision with about 2 week's notice.

One by one throughout the afternoon, the principal called the teachers in question to his office for individual meetings. I was speaking with my supervisor at the end of the day when the vice principal excused himself for interrupting, and beckoned her to follow him into the hallway. She came back five minutes later--visibly shaken--and told me she will be transferring to a school near the city. That means in two weeks we will receive a new English teacher and I'll be assigned a different supervisor (most likely a teacher who is already here). My feelings on that topic are mixed and multifaceted, and a touch too delicate for the public domain, so if you're interested in the specifics, may I suggest that you contact me by email?

Today, after an Oo-soji (extended cleaning period) in which the floors were waxed, we have filed into the gymnasium, where the school closing ceremony is being delivered as I scribble this on sheets of B5 paper on a blue clipboard. Closing ceremonies consists of speeches, the singing of the school song, and the bestowment of award certificates. Are you noticing a pattern yet? There is one teacher who always gives speeches during these events and every other word out of his mouth is "ne" or "desune," which is sort of akin to the overuse of "like" during English speeches. I started noticing it a while back and now I just laugh every time he starts going. He doesn't say it when he speaks normally or to small groups. Only when addressing the whole school. desune?

One homeroom group of boys consipred to be really cool by wearing their summer uniforms instead of the winter ones that everyone else is still wearing. The students have their free choice as to which uniform to wear--between the short-sleeved light cotton summer uniforms or the woolen dark blue and black winter fare. One group of boys tends to deviate as a posse and show off by wearing the out-of-season uniform for formal events. It's a Japanese thing about the association between being cold and toughness.

I am so excited for next year and all of the changes! From this week, I will be reorganizing my desk and outlining a curriculum for the year. If that sounds boring to you, keep in mind that I joined this school mid-year. inheriting a job, desk and materials from various predecessors, and largely had to plan my class week by week on the fly because of being thrown into a poorly organized deep-end. The notion of having the chance to take ownership of my classes for the first time, organize my own accumulating teaching materials, and implement my own teaching policies is very, very exciting.


Kinoko Times said...

Your kids have already started wearing their summer uniform?! My kids can't yet (my school is crazy strict on the uniform).

And I hear ya' about the planning thing and organizing the desk. Coming in half way through the year and into a messy desk is not great. ><"

It was your kouchou-sensei that called the teachers?! It was my kyoto-sensei. And every time he stood up and walked, everyone would get deathly quiet!

Mike said...

hahaha, well at our school they can decide independently when to switch from summer to winter uniforms. If a kid wants to wear the summer clothes in the middle of winter, it's left to his/her discretion. So at closing ceremony just one homeroom of boys decided to wear the summer outfits together. to show how badass they are or something.

I think Kyoto actually called the teachers out but they met in the principals office. I didn't really notice it was happening until he grabbed my supa'