Summer vacation

It’s summertime! And everyday is going to be incredibly slow because there are 0 classes! But students are still around, so it’s basically summer school for them. Most students are here, so it almost feels like they all failed something. In actuality, the 3rd years have college exams coming up, so they’re basically using this time to cram.

Anyway, what am I going to do!

1. Review the columns about Japanese culture from the JET language course. JET offers Japanese learning materials for ALTs so that we can use it in the office and whatnot, but it was more of a pain in the ass just to get the assignments done by the due date every month. I would do them at the last minute, so I never got a chance to read the columns, but now that I’ve got plenty of time, the info is really helpful in understanding Japanese everyday culture, social structures, and history. And I’m learning a ton of new kanji to boot.

2. Plan out debate exercises for the 2nd years. The JTEs got me to teach debate to the 2nd years, and we managed to fit in a couple debates. The first was easy, one that didn’t require research and could easily use evidence from their own experience. The 2nd was harder, as I gave them evidence from newspapers and the Internet (in English) that they could use to research for evidence in their arguments. While the topics of the second debate were pretty simple (students should take more selfies, students should wear uniforms), they certainly needed more time to read and process the English research material. At first, I thought perhaps it’s better for them to research in Japanese, and then re-interpret their findings in English, but the JTE believed that it wasn’t the material that was difficult, it was that the topic was too hard (I worked with this JTE on the selfie topic). I reconsidered that perhaps it’s probably better for kids to process information in English, rather than translating from Japanese. In any case, students needed more time with the rebuttals than they did with the opening statements (that’s what research time is for, kids!).

So during this period, I’ll be writing robust and thorough opening statements that I hope can be good examples for students, and ones that would challenge them to think critically in order to understand how to perform rebuttals effectively. It’s all very Phoenix Wright, really.

3. READ. At the moment, I stopped halfway through “You’re Not So Smart”, got tired of the psychology stuff, and decided to start reading Uncle Tom’s cabin because I get confused when someone is called an Uncle Tom. Is that a sell-out, or a snitch? After that, I need to finish the Hunger Games trilogy, and get started on Harry Potter. And at some point, “Guns, Germs, and Steel.”

4. Research fixie/track bike parts. I want to get some lighter, colored wheels, for one, and maybe a better seat. But I don’t know how to pick and choose any of that stuff at all! HALP!

5. Blog! Time to reflect, write down memories so I can prune some brain cells and make room for new ones.


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