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If I didn't already know that my visit school likes me, then I certainly do now!

2 weeks ago my VP came over to my desk with his notebook and told me that we were switching two of my days around.  Instead of teaching at my base school on January 24 I will be teaching at my visit school and the day will be switched with the 26th.  Ok.  Then he tells me that this is because the someone from the BOE (Board of Education) will be coming to watch me teach that day.  Great. So now I have over a month notice that I will be teaching in front of people who will be deciding if I will stay in Iwaki next year.  Then he tells me that I will be teaching grade 5 that particular day and that I will teach with A sensei.  Cool! Thank you for the heads up!

So last week, A Sensei comes over to my desk with a print out of the lesson we will be doing on January 24th.  Now the school schedule for next semester hasn't come out yet, so I have no idea what I'm teaching when and probably won't until the week before I am supposed to teach.  So this is really unexpected.  So we went over the lesson and decided that we are short on some of the needed materials. I decided I would make some of the cards that we will need.  I told her I would do this over Christmas break. She was surprised at the offer because she knows I'm going to Tokyo to visit my host family and my friend for Christmas. I told her that my friend will be a teacher starting in April and she needs practice making school materials! lol  She laughed with me over that.  I plan on getting Aya to help me make these school cards. I think it will be fun.  So my school wants me to have a good class when the BOE comes and are going out of their way to help me prepare. That makes me so incredibly happy!

On saturday I went shopping in Taira with Chelsea.  We went to Moss Burger and I decided I really like their onion rings! Then we went to the third floor of Saty and spent the next 2 or 3 hours wandering around. I bought a small Christmas tree complete with decorations for 20 bucks. :)  Just before leaving the store we found desks. I want one so bad.  I found a nice one that would work perfectly in my place and I could put my Butsudan on the top of the bookshelf/headboard part of it.  It would be perfect. It's about 350 bucks and it comes with a chair and light and everything.  It's awesome!  So I think I might just have to get it.  Chelsea ended up buying one of the desk chairs.  It took a little time because we had to wait for the store clerks to run around and pull boxes out of storage to see if they had any in the colour that Chelsea wanted.  She had just decided to order one when the store clerk found one the right colour. So we took turns carrying the box with the chair in it back to the train station :)

This morning I sent in a paper declaring to the JET programme that if for some reason next year I cannot stay in Iwaki, due to lack or available space, that I am willing to move to another city in the prefecture.  I requested Koriyama or Fukushima city. I also clearly stated that I would prefer to stay in Iwaki and that moving should be a last resort.  I quite like it here in Iwaki.  If I move I will end up further from Tokyo and I don't really want that either.  Also, I love my schools, the kids and my friends, not to mention my apartment. I really want to stay here. So I'm going to focus on that.

Today at lunch time we had a rather larger earhquake. it was a 6.9.   Thankfully it wasn't centered in Iwaki. It actually happened in Chiba which is next to Tokyo about 3 hours away from here. Half the country felt this one.  This was definitely the strongest one since I got here. It was also the first one I've had while out of the apartment.  Usually I'm in bed or sitting at my computer when an earthquake hits. Today I was at school.  We turned on the tv to get info on it and it took a few minutes for the report to have all the info. It started with just telling us how far it was felt, then after a few minutes more info came in.  Then the tv was turned off and everything went back to normal.

I made a one my kids cry today.  She cried for a whole 10 minutes.  We were playing a game (hot potato) and she couldn't get the answer so burried her face in her hands and cried.  Then sat down again and cried for the rest of the game, refusing to play.  Fun.  Grade 6. The teacher then told me that last year she used to do that a lot, but this was the first time this year....nice.  I feel special. lol  I'm not going to let it bother me.  It wasn't a hard question and it was review. I gave her a sticker in the end, even though I had to sick it on her because she still had her head burried and wouldn't look at me.

Bought strawberry short cake (2 pieces) on the way home from school today. Going to eat a piece tomorrow.
I'm tired. I'm going to bed now.

Good night everyone! (or good morning, depending where you are :) )
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After we left the Cat cafe on Sunday we went shopping for a bit.  I bought a bunch of materials to make Christmas cards and I will talk to my schools next week about supplies for the kids to make their own cards.

Then we went to lunch.  We found a restaurant called Shakey's that is supposedly an American Style pizza place.  Well, they did have pepperoni pizza and hawaiian pizza, so I guess it is sort of American style... but  really that was about all that was American about it.  Lunch is apparently an all you can eat buffet.  Pizza, pasta and fried potatos.  It was really good!  I got a large drink, (the medium is what is served at most restaurants in Canada) and had pepperoni and double cheese pizza and some pasta and potatos.  I also had a few pieces of one of the dessert pizzas. I had banana, custard and chocolate pizza. Chelsea had some sort of custard pizza with a giant marshmallow on it lol.  It looked like a blob of melting vanilla ice cream, but it was a marshmallow.
 
And there was the "Big Parfait" that you could order from the menu.  It was $18, and absolutely huge! There was no way we would have been able to eat it, even between the four of us!  What do you think?
They serve it in a beer pitcher!!! Unbelieveable!

After lunch we headed back to Ueno to walk around the park a bit then we caught the train back to Iwaki.  Chelsea and I were seated one behind the other on the train, and the gentleman beside me offered to trade seats with Chelsea so we could sit beside each other :)  We talked for the first 40 minutes of the ride home, then slept off and on the rest of the way. It was an awesome weekend.

Today we had a meeting with the BOE.  We had an interview/Discussion today to determine for sure if we want to stay next year, and if we are not able to stay in Iwaki, would we be willing to move to another area?  As of right now, 4 people are going home for sure, and 7 people will be cut from the program. But it looks like they may be able to move those 7 people to other cities. It may mean changing from Elementary school teachers to Junior High school teachers, but we would still be in Japan. Just not in Iwaki.   I told them if it's not possible to stay in Iwaki then I would be willing to move, but I would prefer to stay here.


Here are some pictures to go with my last update.
This is Chelsea, me and Susan outside the entrance to the Ghibli Museum.  This is the autumn leaves in the park.  So pretty!
    

This is at the cat café          and me standing on the roof of the Ghibli museum next to a giant robot from Laputa.
    

BOE

Oct. 12th, 2010 04:33 pm
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The BOE came to watch me teach today. Both Takahama Sensei and Kodama came. They were all dressed up in suits and had their clip boards and took notes on what I was doing.  I taught grade 3's today and we did "What's this? and What's that?"  We played What's this? Bingo and What's That Shouting game.  The kids had a good time and used the target sentences quite a bit.  Kodama Sensei told me later that I did very well and that she was impressed with how I taught the class.  So that makes me very happy!!

I came to school sick this morning because I knew that the BOE was coming to watch today.  Kondo sensei told me before school started that I could go home after the BOE came.  He reminded me twice that it was ok to go home. lol  Then at lunch time he said I looked terrible and should go home. But I still had two classes to teach and I didn't want to go home without teaching them because then I would be behind with 2 classes.  That would suck for lesson planning.  So I asked if I could combine the last two classes and teach them both 5th periode. He checked and told me that was fine.  

So after teaching the last class, which ended at 2:15, I filled out the paper work to go home sick.  I got home just before 3 today.  I hope things go better.

So today I'm going to take it easy. I have company coming tonight in about 3 hours and I need to straighten up my living room a bit, but otherwise I'm not doing anything today. I'm also going to be in bed by 9 tonight.  I'm tired :(

The other thing that sucks about being sick is that in Japan when you are sick you have to wear a mask in order to keep your germs to yourself.  So...I wore a mask all day to cover my mouth (not my nose or I coudln't see 'cause my glasses would fog up) and I coughed a lot and had to blow my nose a lot...and those little masks get wet...and ewwwww.  

I really hope I won't need on tomorrow.  Tomorrow I'm teaching 6th grade.  We will be doing daily routines.  Get up, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, go to school, do homework, play with friends, eat dinner, go to bed....  Should be interesting.

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