Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Job Update

Now that nearing two weeks into the new job, I thought I’d post some follow up reflections.

Again, despite the bad reputation and high employee turn over of my company, I’m still having a pretty good time. There are times I can’t believe I’m getting paid for what I do. And there are times when I don’t think I’m getting paid enough. I’ll start with the good part.

I’m still enjoying the one on one and the small group interaction. With low-level students it’s a bit more of a struggle, but when it goes well its very rewarding. When a lesson doesn’t go well it tends to be a lot more painful, but ups and downs are just part of education.

Part of my work schedule involves conducting a free-conversation room, in which I’m literary paid just to go in and speak my native language and conduct a conversation with the students. Occasionally, especially with low-level students, it can be like pulling teeth to get the conversation going, but most of the time I enjoy the conversation, and sometimes I learn so many interesting things from the students I feel like I should be paying them.

In terms of hours physically at the job site, I’ve actually got a lot nicer schedule than I did on JET. I work 5 days a week, but 2 of those are only 4-hour days, and the rest are just under 8 hours. But the difference is that I’m actually working hard during those hours I’m there. We have 10 minutes in between lessons in which we must mark down the students scores, find the files for our new students, prepare a new lesson in the remaining 5 minutes, and then rush off to the new class. This gives the feeling of rushing all day long.

While I was working at the supermarket this summer, I wrote that the mind numbing boredom of stocking shelves would get to me after a while. Now I have the opposite problem. Because I’m trying to teach and talk to students the whole day, I have to keep my mind focused on the conversation the whole time, and I feel mentally exhausted by the end of the day. Which makes me very thankful for those two half days I have to break up my weekly schedule.

I'm enjoying teaching adults, but I'll start doing kids classes as well from next week. After my time in the Japanese elementary schools, I know that, contrary to common belief, Japanese children can be quite a handful. One of my coworkers came out of a kids lesson nearly in tears the other day. Still, at least there won't be 40 of them at once.

I work Saturday and Sunday, and have days off during the week instead, which I thought would mess with my social life, but since my co-workers are all doing the same thing, it works itself out. (Because of the high ex-patriot turn over here, most of the old gang from my JET days are gone, and new my co-workers are now my social group.)
Plus it’s nice having days off during the week because I don’t have to fight crowds in the stores, and I can actually get some banking and such done.

Which brings me to another, non-job related, point. Since I left Japan in May, I’m having to start all over again with Alien registration cards, cell phone accounts, et cetera. (Fortunately I still have my bank account open, although that was more just from laziness in not closing it out). Anyway, it’s a bit of a pain in the ass. I had naively thought that maybe I wouldn’t need a cell phone this time around. Since I was living with Shoko, it’s not like I was going to be trying to get girl's numbers in the bar, right? And I could do most of my socializing the old fashioned way, by making plans ahead of time and sticking to them.

Wrong, all wrong it turns out. Nobody makes plans ahead of time anymore. So, I’ve been trying to sort out a new cell phone. I’ve been to the shop 6 times so far, only to be told at the last time that I needed to wait until my alien registration paperwork and card comes through before they can give me a new account. Hopefully that will all get sorted out this coming week.

Useless Wikipedia Fact
The book, "The Grapes of Wrath" is frequently banned in schools across the United States, and in 1986, in Graves County, Kentucky, an adult was arrested for possession of a copy.

Link of the Day
Reprieve for Officer Who Denounced "Immoral War"

1 comment:

halfwaytohungary said...

hey joel
let me know when you get your phone, would be good to catch up