Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday classes

I don't have much time to post today.  I tried a few new things with my Saturday classes.  Today was the first sunny Saturday in months, so I brought the first graders outside to do sightword hopscotch.

And the elementary school third graders wrote letters to their moms for Mother's Day. Next week is a holiday, so I will post them a few days before Mother's Day.  My star student:
But even the ones who struggle a bit did pretty well.  I hope the moms like them.  Thanks for the terrific idea, Vicky!

Friday, April 27, 2012


So, I've been meaning to change from a gardening blog to a gaijin mommy (with some gardening/teaching stuff) blog for ages now, but have never been properly inspired.  What inspired me, you ask?  Well, I was almost inspired by yesterday's yochien trip to Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya.  This is a parent/child trip, and they've been going to the same place every year for the past 40 years, rain or shine.  According to K-sensei, the rather scary head teacher, who has been to the zoo 40 times, 38 of those times were shiny, or at least, not very rainy. Yesterday was one of the other 2 times.  Yes, according to the spin, we were among the favored few who got to experience the zoo in the rain!  Our children were provided with the unique experience of seeing how zoo animals behave in the rain!  They behaved in a very sad, wet, folornful way, doing their best not to get wet and failing.  Just like us.

Did I mention it was the only rainy day this week?  Today is bright, sunshiny and beautiful!  Perfect weather for a parent observation lesson at the elementary school, followed by a new, extra long, extra boring, big PTA meeting in the gym, followed by the class PTA meeting, followed by a mad rush to get to the yochien before our younger kids turn into pumpkins.

M is in second grade this year.  She lucked out with her teacher, again.  There are four classes of 35 kids each in her year.  Her teacher is a efficient, no-nonsense, but kindly and caring grandmotherly type.  I really like her.  Whew.  Class 3 has a newbie teacher and their class is on the verge of chaos.  They had a Japanese lesson today.  At the end they were supposed to be writing a diary of what they did at school and the moms were supposed to be helping.  But as M's Japanese is better than mine, I wasn't very helpful.  11 month old K desperately wanted to help!  She wanted to write on the paper, she wanted the eraser, she wanted to write on the other kids' papers, she wanted their erasers and pencils and pencil cases.  She wanted it all!  And it was denied her, so she got pretty cranky and was escorted from the room.  At the end the kids all had to say "thank you" to their moms for helping and M smiled, looked at me, and kept her lips zipped shut (:

 Then we had the big (new this year!) meeting in the gym.  You have to attend this meeting to get the password for the emergency text messages, you know, the ones that tell you your kid will be sent home early because of the flu and not allowed to come back for the next week.  They're kind of important.  Important enough that sometimes my husband will actually call me to tell me what they say.  Anyway, we sat at the back on the floor with the slacker moms and little siblings.  K had a ball.  Some of the 2 and 3 year olds were exceedingly naughty and one got trapped between a gym mat and the climbing bars on the wall.  Fun stuff.  But then the principal (I think, the guy who was talking anyway) yelled at everyone to be quiet.  And proceeded to talk and talk and talk.  Greetings, a talk about how the kids should do more greetings, better greetings, introduction of the staff, more know, typical.  And then something about how they are thinking of revising their policy of sending kids home early from school smack dab in the middle of typhoons (like they did last year), to keeping them at the school until the typhoon has passed.  Hooray.  Quite a bit about earthquakes which I didn't catch.  Something about how the kids will go to school early on the day of the eclipse (full solar at 7:30am) so that they won't be walking in the dark, so they will need to be at school by 7:00 (M will leave at 6:15?) .  The teacher near me seemed pretty surprised to hear about this.  But they will be able to watch the eclipse at school.  PTA finances, blah blah blah.  Afterwards I asked 3 different (Japanese) moms if anything important was said and if I got it right about the typhoons and eclipse and they all said "I don't know, I wasn't listening."  Of course, they won't need to rely on their husbands to read the papers about these things when the time comes.

So after that we went to the classroom to pick PTA reps.  Everyone has to do one year per kid.  Mandatory.  Everyone wants to get it over with, because if you wait until 5th or 6th grade you get put in one of the really onerous positions, so lots of people want it in second grade.  This year there is a new system where we vote for reps.  Of course, my husband refused to explain it to me, so I missed out.  Anyway, the five moms with the most votes gets to do it, but the one with the most votes is the head class rep (with the most work) and the fifth most gets the easiest job.  So everyone is aiming to be the fifth most votes.  It was a tie for fifth, but the child of one of the fifth vote moms was out with a fever.  So one of her friends had to call her, and do janken (rock scissors paper) by phone!  Omg!  What is it with this country and the rock scissors paper obsession???

That all took forever, so the teacher had to give a super speedy 5 min talk, which was a shame, because she actually had useful and interesting stuff to say.  Sigh.  Then I raced down to get M from the library, ran to the car (which thankfully had not fallen into the rice field next to which it was very precariously and illegally parked,) and got to the kindy before L turned into a pumpkin.