When I left, it was chilly and rainy, my desk was by the coffepot window, the cherry blossoms were in bud, and I had just lost two JTEs (Kermit, Awesome), a principal (Epic-sensei), cutie-sensei, and the school nurse.
I went to Okinawa which was awesome even though it rained most every day.
When I came back, my desk was in the middle of the room, I had two new female JTEs (nicknames pending, but one is 22 and one is like 50ish), my principal looked like a Japanese Michael Scott, it was 17 degrees and the cherry blossoms were in full explosion, I mean bloom.
We had special bento complete with squidlets* (to celebrate?).
I actually had to come in and set my stuff on my desk in stunned silence as people circulated through the room. Six newbies. Spring having this effect like I been here a year now. I know enough to get by, I realize, but not really enough to help the new English teachers much.
My new desk (same desk, new spot?) now comes with my own set of drawers. So my desktop is wider! But now I’m in the middle of the room, instead of at the outer edge. I can no longer look up and just see the whole room from my little corner. And when people walk by they will SEE what I am DOING, which isn’t a huge problem, only I’m on gchat all the time these days.. or doing things like writing blog entries.
It’s bad enough that teachers don’t get to go on vacation because they are too busy, or even if they aren’t, they have to look busy/be at the office alllll the time, so it’s extra not-nice of me to rub their faces in the fact that I have more freedom by sitting here paging through photos of Kyoto/Tokyo/Okinawa like I want to right now… (those posts, totally coming soon!)
There used to be three desk clusters of six desks each, and I was tacked on at the end of one along with the tea lady to make a cluster of 8. NOW there are only six in each cluster. We eliminated two desks..! I guess that is because we needed more support staff last year, and our special-est needs kid has graduated.
And of my two new JTEs, one is fresh out of college, and younger than me, as my VP kept pointing out. She keeps looking to me for pointers and I’m totally still half in Okinawa/recovering from that (catching back up on email, etc.).. the other was a counselor at Heke’s school. Both are fine at English when speaking to me so far… although the sum total English classroom teaching experience amongst the three JTEs and me is the same as the total of just me and Mikan-sensei. The two newbies have none.
But it was nice to watch the brand new students walk by in their ceremony, or check their helmets and shiny new bike stickers before they rode away in their new pressed uniforms and blinding white shoes, and see that their faces aren’t new to me, I have some idea of their personalities already.. and I have their names all written down on cards with their photos. I have some grasp of shit this time around, which is a nice thought.
I’m still not in overdrive yet.. I just put up something on the bulletin board, but mostly I’m just drifting.
Just as an FYI: Now that my 2nd years have become 3rd years and my 6th graders are 1st years, etc, I’m going to go back and assign them all animal names. The graduates were the 犬組 or dogs group.. the third years now are cats, below them rabbits/mice, and the new first years are frogs.
*tiny whole squid, served chilled, with some kind of yellow sauce.