In America, cell phones typically are shunned in junior high schools and the students are not allowed to use them. Ok, so the same is true in Japan, however, on Wednesday my cell phone was used in the classroom. In fact, it was quintessential to the success of the lesson! Each student was to go to the pay phone outside of the staff room and–with their own money–call my cell phone. I eagerly awaited each of the thirty-nine students to call while I sat in the classroom. The majority of the students spoke very clearly and had exceptional pronunciation. Even though by the last student I had memorized the conversation, the students were able to have a real conversation with me over the phone.
This week I have been busy answering students’ phone calls and presenting my jiko-shoukai (self-introduction) numerous times. I have enjoyed the fact that even though my introduction is planned out every presentation is different. The students may be uniformed and group oriented but there is still individuality among them and plenty of “class clown” types.
My week has not been absent of “chortible” moments where I can’t laugh but also can’t help to grin. For example, when the JTE and I enter a class (because the students stay in the same classroom all day while the teachers change each period) we have the students stand up to greet us. After saying “Good morning/afternoon everyone!” we typically ask “How are you this morning/afternoon?” The typical answer is “o.k.” or “tired” but occasionally you get “sleepy.” When asked how I was doing my response was “sleepy.” One of the students who had responded sleepy got excited and shouted: “Ah, we should sleep together!” Innocent as it may have been, I laughed inside my head and decided not to explain the connotation behind such a statement–at least not in front of the whole class.
All in all the last few days have been exiting and fun. I have tried my best to get involved outside of the classroom and constantly roam the halls between periods and pick a different class to each lunch with everyday. Some of the best opportunities to practice English occur outside of the classroom. In the same regard, it also is a great way to practice/learn Japanese.
Oh, lastly, in regards to the Undokai I’m not sure when or if it is going to be held. After all the preparations the event was canceled Saturday and then Sunday because of rain. If it takes place–and I hope it does–I will write about it and post some pictures.