today's craziness requires telling a little of yesterday's events. my co-worker kelly told the board of education and the elementary school teachers that she was going to be coming back from america before school started, and her plane would be arriving on the evening of the 29th. she told them this a month ago, and again on the day she departed america (which was the 28th). somehow, the message didn't get through, and they expected her at the teacher's meeting for elementary school english on the afternoon of the 29th. i went, and tried also to convey this to them. this was still not enough to appease them. secondly, kelly and i thought that we had to do one lesson per month for the elementary schools (we're supposed to spend the majority of our time at the jr. high's, which have formal english classes...the elementary ones are really just for introducing the idea of english as something fun they'll be learning more of as they go on...there's no text book or anything like that for the elem. kids, it's mostly games and activities). they apparently wanted us to do 3 lessons for each month for the different grades. kelly just got back and i had to tell her all the stuff from the meeting, and the idea of 3 lessons stressed her out. one lesson a month was hard enough, and she said if she'd known they'd wanted 3 a month, she would not have recontracted. we'd made a lesson plan before she left to address all the grades, but teaching the same topic. this, for them, was no good. the meeting yesterday ended because kelly wasn't there (even though she explained she wouldn't be there), and they decided to meet agian today to discuss the lesson planning. they also told me they wanted three lesson plans done that night for the meeting tomorrow. kelly only got home at 11pm, and the poor girl was not only jetlagged, but she's got what i the non-doctor would guess is bronchitis. we decided to try to hold our own, and ask for one lesson a month. we email the main teacher of the group, and hold our breath.
the meeting today was scheduled for 2:30. I get a call from my board of ed supervisor at about 10:30am saying the main teacher (Shiroi Mika), called him, and wants to have a meeting with kelly and i at 1:00 first. kelly and i feel like this is a meeting where we're about to get yelled at, so we brace ourselves for the worst. still, if we get the group leader on our side, the rest of the teachers will accept her decision, so it's vital we convince her of our point. i have confidence that we can work it out, kelly is a bit more stressed. we get there and sit down with shiroi-sensei, and i found out she's really a very reasonable person compared to some of the ladies in that group. she says she has to hold to the decision to have three lessons for the different grades, it is the new curriculum decided by the schools. we counter, saying because i'm a new teacher, and i don't have much experience and i haven't met any of the students yet, for at least this first month, we'd like to do just one lesson tempered for the different grade levels. after that, we will take on three lessons a month, if the lesson vocab/grammar schedule is somewhat flexible (the teachers had worked out a schedule of what each grade should be learning, but the arrangement was somewhat arbitrary in our native english speaking opinions). shiroi-sensei agrees, and while the concepts to be taught are fixed, the order in which they are taught can be changed if we think something is more reasonable. knowing we'd gotten shiroi-sensei on board for the change to the sept. schedule, we could now go to the meeting assured of victory.
the second meeting went very well, with only one teacher getting huffy (but i am told, and i can already tell, she is the one person you can't please no matter what...kelly simply shrugged her off, and i have a feeling i'll be doing the same soon). shiroi-sensei explained our stance on the issue, and as long as we began doing more lessons after sept, everyone was happy. after that, it was time for conversation with the new sensei, aka ME, and that went over very well. it's nice to know that my japanese is definately on strong footing, and i'll get better with tutoring for sure. while it's normal for people to say "nihongo wa zyoozu desu ne!" ("you're japanese is so good!"), even if you can only utter an "arigatou gozaimasu", they seem fairly genuine when they tell me that my japanese is the best they've heard from a new JET. while it may just be flattery, it does feel good. i'm having fewer days where i don't understand anything. things i'd forgotten are starting to come back to me. it's encouraging.
finally, kelly and i got to leave the meeting scene and come back to relax...or so i thought. kelly needed her rest, so i said i'd see her later and went up to my apartment to do the same. i remembered though that my friend barbara from a couple towns over wanted to come to fukusaki today to do a little shopping, and i'd told her i'd call her when i got out of my meetings. i called her, hoping to ask if we could perhaps reschedule, only to reach her on her cell phone, already aboard the train, arriving in fukusaki station any minute. well, so much for cancelling! still, we had a nice time doing a little shopping, getting some well deserved play clothes, as well as the shoes she needed. while finishing up our shopping run, we ran into katie, and made plans to go for dinner. i had to give a movie back to vinh, so i called him and told him if he wanted to get the movie, he could also go out for dinner. so we ended up with a group for dinner (kelly was already eating her dinner when i knocked on her door to see if she wanted to come). without any vegetarians in the group for once, we hit up the kaiten sushi bar (aka sushi-go-round), and ate our fill for about 1200 yen each. i then ventured out into the boonies to bring barbara home, and my efforts were rewarded with the most delicious dr. pepper i've ever tasted (you actually have to go to a foreign foods store for that sort of thing).
got home and wrote up this post, which is probably WAY too long and boring for all you folks, but too bad! mwahahaha. while doing so, i've also begun to work out the details of xoexohexox's visit at the end of the year (i also got the schedule for the rest of the year today, about time!). school starts this friday, so tomorrow i'll be spending the day getting ready for my introduction speech. i hope i can end today the way i started it though...with a good dream. g'night!