Sweat, sweat, and more sweat

Today is day two of my summer school week.  I reluctantly agreed to teach a weeks lessons to primary school children at a community centre in Takasaki.  This is only from 10a.m. – 12.10p.m. for five days, so in theory, it’s not all that much.  In practice however, it’s proving to be a tough week, and I’m not even halfway through it yet.  Monday, I arrived at the community centre with my huge Mary Poppins bag of tricks.  Mostly huge because it contains a c.d. player and a big ball, but there’s other stuff in there too.  The manager of the centre greeted me at the door, took me into his office and served me a much-needed glass of cold tea.  Then he asked me if I needed anything, to which I replied that I didn’t, so then he took me up to the big hall where I would be teaching.  “There aren’t as many students in this first class as there should be,” he said apologetically.  There should have been 15, but there were just three.  One of them was a 5 year old brother of one of the official students, who I said was more than welcome to join.  After a few minutes, another two students turned up.  Twins.  The whole class was boys, all around 8 years old (apart from the 5 year old).  There was another bottle of tea sitting on my “desk”, and the manager did a short introduction speech, where he proclaimed that I was an “expert teacher, probably tons better than their primary school ALT”  PRESSURE or what?!?!?!?!

But the class went well.  Lots of space for the games I had planned and most of the students, save one of the twins (the “evil” one?) were interested and well-behaved.  The next lesson brought about 10 students, a lot of whom had come straight from swimming school and were quite obviously worn out.  It took a bit of starting and they were quite rowdy, but it was tolerable, and I hope that they learned at least something.

Then it was off to pick H and L up from temp. daycare, and then home for lunch.  Then later that afternoon, my private student Y came for her lesson.  The children sat up at the table with us and drew pictures.  L tried to interfere with my teaching props, but it went relatively well.  Thankfully, my student adores my children, so they can’t do much wrong by her.

Y got home early while we were taking a bath, so that night, I went off to the gym with my HUGE stomach and tried to get rid of some of it.

This morning (Tuesday), H and L decided to wake me up at 5:30a.m.  “go back to sleep until you can see 7 on the clock,” I mumbled.  They came back at 5:37a.m….

So I dragged myself out of bed at 7a.m., after sending the children downstairs to Y at around 6a.m.  Made bentos for me and Y, sorted out the daycare bag, then dropped two sleepy children off and made my way to the community centre again.  This time, there were about 12 children in the first class…ALL boys…all very very “happy”.  Tiredness…Second lesson went pretty well.  The children LOVED the sticky ball game with family cards and went home happy.  Ah, one out of two isn’t bad…

After that, I had a glorious hour lunch break..in my car XD  And got chatted up by an old man at the convenience store who told me he knew ALL the English teachers in Gunma, and that he was looking forward to seeing me around.  Odd.

Then off to my regular stint at the kindergarten, where my students seemed like absolute ANGELS in comparison to the mornings students.  I felt happy.  It’s a good thing.  Remember the naughty student I told you about in the first couple of weeks there?  Well he is not a bother now.  There are times when he gets tired and just wants to sit with his head on the desk and not participate, but I like to think that he is at least listening.  If I involve him, make sure he understands, he is lovely.  What’s more, he looks a lot like L, so I suppose I can’t help but have a bit of a soft spot for him.  Those classes went really well, despite another teacher telling me to put the desks back exactly as they were when I entered the room, because they would use the room for a class tomorrow…I always tidy up and put things back.  They put the desks and chairs in rows, whereas I tend to move things around to make space for games, or make a square table to be more communicative.  When I left, I put the chairs and tables back.  The back row was about 50cm further back than it was at the beginning…Er, I don’t see them organising the desks how I want them before my class.  In the end, I had to walk away for fear of blowing my top. 

I picked the children up, H was wearing her change of clothes and L was wearing an unknown outfit.  Turns out he slid down a wet slide and got a muddy bum XD  So that’s another thing I had to wash and get dried for tomorrow.  They had BOTH napped there though..yep, even H had slept for an hour!  Unbelievable.  So their mood was really good.  H has been having a bit of trouble accepting that the routine is a daily one just for this week, so I was glad to see her smiling when I went to pick them up.  We ate dinner out, and then back home, bath and in bed by 8p.m.  I lay down with L for a little while after our stories, and they were both in the drifts of sleep until H said,

“I did a wee-wee in my bed.” 

“HUH?!?” I replied. 

“It’s all right Mummy, because I’ve got a waterproof sheet.”

Apparently she had been “too sleepy to go to the toilet”

A sheets change later, while I was leaning over to kiss L goodnight, H said to me,

“Mummy, you’ve got a big fat bottom.”


I finally managed to extract myself (and my big fat bottom) from the bedroom, hung up a load of laundry, and then put the sheets in the washer.  It’s now almost 10p.m., and I have yet to plan my lessons for tomorrow and re-stock the daycare bag, but I WILL be in bed by 10:30 tonight!! 

Oh, and the sweat?  Hot weather and teaching in places without air-conditioning..hot mess XD


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