The title of this post may worry some readers. Don’t worry though because it’s only a reference to having to teach…all alone.
My JTE this week was home sick for three days with influenza. Here in Japan the flu is equivalent to the plague and everyone is overly cautious. My kyoto-sensei (vice principle) and school nurse were talking right next to me just the other day and I could tell who the subject was: me. It’s funny when that happens because I know they’re talking about it me but the topic is usually a mystery. Turns out they were worried that I might have the flu because I sit next to my JTE in the staff room. I didn’t know the Japanese for “the flu is contagious and because I sit next to my JTE I must have the flu” and they didn’t know the English. The message was sent by my kyoto-sensei coughing and pretending to be sick and then waving his hands and fingers while bringing them closer to me. The follow up was by the nurse who asked me if I felt ok or had a fever. Fortunately I felt fine and did not get the flu.
The bad news was that with my JTE out I was responsible for teaching. Let me take that back. It wasn’t “bad news” per say but it was bad when I showed up to school having no idea she would be absent. I was told that morning that I would have to teach 2-2 and 2-1 (pronounced Ni noIch(i) and Ni no Ni), our two eighth grade classes. I had some time to prepare a lesson but I was all alone. Everything ended up working out well but the students are always hesitant when it is just me. I think it is easy for the students to be intimidated and become shy when it’s only me in the classroom. There were some awkward pauses during the classes when the students didn’t understand the instruction, but overall both classes went well.
When I had to teach solo on Friday as well I knew what needed to be done and was able to have a more successful lesson.