Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nyuzen City Hall Year End Craziness

Kirsten and John invited me to the Nyuzen City Hall Year End party this year. They are elementary and jr. high teachers and therefore work for the municipal gov't, not the prefectural board of Ed., like me. Kirsten had told me last years party was crazy, so I couldn't pass up the chance to join in the fun this year. The food and drink were the usual fair. Bento sushi, sashimi, yakisoba, cold pizza, mystery fish products and of course, beer and sake. Even though the food is never stellar at these events I still manage to stuff myself every time.

ANYWAY, on to the highlights...

Tradition, so I've been told, is that the new employees (young'ns) have to provide the entertainment for the night. They are to come up with something totally outrageous for the crowd of about 200- the more humiliating, the better. I'll leave it to the photos to tell the stories.

The big suprise of the night came when Kirsten won the top door prize!! A night for 2 at a fancy schmancy onsen resort hotel in the mountains. Looks like I've got some sucking up to do!!

It was a good idea at the time.....

High school, college, university, and now work -even in Japan, early December stress exists. This is the time of year when everything seems to come to a head for me. It used to be the stress of writing final papers and exams, now it's the stress of preparing and marking them. It's the end of the third semester in the Japanese school system. Final exams started last week and wrapped up yesterday. I teach 400 students every week, which means I have 400 students to test and grade. I spent yesterday marking the first year (grade 10) exams - 200 down, 200 to go.

I wish it was that simple...

You see, my JTE (Japanese teacher of English) and I came up with a brilliant plan for our second year (grade 11) students. Instead of a written exam we decided the students should do an oral exam - it's an OC (oral communication) class, so this made much more sense to us. It was nice to have a JTE share my belief (and training) that a test should be valid (test what one has learned). So we devised a job interview lesson. The students spent 3 classes preparing a resume - they could choose any job they wanted, they could choose their education, work experience, hobbies, awards, skills, etc. They also had to prepare a statement about why they wanted the job and provide to references from others in the class.

Now, once the students have their resume prepared they are to come to me for the job interview. I am the 'boss' of whatever job or company they are applying to. I ask questions based on their resume to test their comprehension of not only the questions, but what they have written. The one on one interaction/speaking with my students seems to be much more productive since most students are not comfortable speaking English in front of their peers


Like every other student who has gone before them (save for 2 or 3 exceptionally bright and motivated stars) my genki (energetic) 16 and 17 year old have ALL left their interviews until the LAST MINUTE -surprise surprise. Which means that today and tomorrow I'm going to have 197 students (because my 3 stars have already finished) coming to my desk to do their interview with me!!!

Let's make a quick calculation -and then you can all laugh at me.

197 students x 5 minutes/interview = 985 minutes <16.41>

Add 2 more minutes to each interview for evaluation purposes and you've got a total of 22.96 hours.

In a nutshell - I'm in trouble.