Friday, October 21, 2005

culture shocked

(my apartment building)

two months down and culture shock officially hit. it seems to have peaked last week when I ended up barely sleeping for days and then breaking down in tears at work (last Thur). but I talked to my friend and now boss "bossman-M" for a while and that helped. Saturday I went out with coworkers and had a long talk with Yoshi, who was very supportive. and quite protective, saying that my coworkers at my other school should be nicer ect.

this week the new contracts start, which was one of the things that was causing me stress. the new contract say that I can't work more than 29.5 hours a week, but I still want to give good classes, right? So I was worried about my private flex students getting screwed (which they are). ect. but I'm kind of excited actually.

I feel immensely justified for being so stressed now that I know that I'm working more than either teacher at Shnnme and one at KM. Kevin and I are working about the same amount. but they all have their classes prepared because they taught them before. so I have more classes and I spend every day inventing the wheel. Marco has promised me that things will get better.

It also looks like there is a possibility that I could teach full time at KM because they need another teacher and don't have another classroom. also Shnnme wants to give me more classes but can't, so they need a different teacher too. this would be really good for me, so I'm pushing little by little. I'm telling my students to call head office and complain. This is war to me.

I signed up to be a good teacher and I think its bullshit for them to tell me that I can't spend more than 10 min prepping class (that's the allowed time). In actuality, I spend more like 20-30 min prepping class. I have 15-17 different classes a week. Total 30-32 classes a week.

what do my students call me?
one 3 year old yells "Senseeeeeeeeei! Senseeeeei!" until I pay attention
one 7 year old calls out "korikorikorikorikorikorikorikori" until I come over
some of my other 7-9 year olds call me "teacher"
the mothers call me "kori sensei"

the adults generally don't call me anything because
1) you usually omit the subject in a japanese sentence, especially if it is a name, so they do the same in English
2) they aren't really comfortable calling me "kori." they'd probably prefer "kori-san," "ms kori," or "miss kori" but I don't encourage any of that nonsense.
but when it comes down to it, they'll just call me Kori

I call some of them by there first name and some by Mr. blahblah. I followed the model of the previous teacher. I'd rather call them all by their first name but it just feels weird at this point. if they are much older it's generally Mr.... but same ish age or younger is just their first name.

(my neighborhood)

so, as I struggled through all this busyness and culture shock, I've really appreciated all of you who have made your presence known. thank you for commenting on my blog or sending me something separately. knowing that I'm still connected to my friends and family really helped my feelings of being so far away and homeless (as in no real ground base to call home). So THANK YOU!!! I love you all.


mum said...

good for you to let your anger out and express it. congratulations!!! it's war. i like that. express yourself. we need to get mad and stand up for ourselves no matter where we are in the world. and as dear marge rings in my head "never never underestimate yourself."
it sounds as if they weren't lying when GEOS said there was supportive staff. use them. they are your allies. and yes, first year teachers are in a whole different league that ones who teach the same lessons a second year. that could be you one day.
snow in the mountains, and maple leaves the size of turkey platters. a near neighbor fries sardines or something horrible for breakfast. the aromas (fumes?) are enough to make me cough. what are the smells of cooking in your apt building?
stand firm.
love, mum

Dajii said...

Great you are adjusting a little bit. like Dannny says, "we adapt". The pics look like somthing out of the movie Brazil. Is it always dark there? I am sad to hear of your tears and innsominia. Drink your warm milk before bed (if they have any there). Talk to us. Talk to them. Drink less. Life still drama here. Boats coming along well. Gay client has the hots for my kid laborer. Stay well. kickass as you always do. love you to the bone, dajii

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