Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Could be worse

Classes start tomorrow. Today I've been running around and trying to get ready. Six weeks of procrastinating to catch up on! But it's useless. It's still too hot to think. It's 9pm and still 30˚C in here. The air conditioner needs replacing, I think.

I know what I'm doing in my classes tomorrow, but next week's are still a mystery to me. I'll be working all weekend getting things ready. I hope it cools down a bit. The weather is being very unfair, this year. We've usually had a few days of cool by now. Or at least a few days below 30˚C. But the humidity is still right up there, and it hasn't become cooler at all.

Tomorrow's forecast is for 33˚C, with 90% humidity. The students won't feel like studying any more than I feel like teaching, and I don't blame them. Language games it is! (Plus the usual information about what is required to pass the class - but these are mostly returning students from the first semester so they know all this already, particularly the ones who failed last semester.)

I know that tomorrow I will walk into my first class and love my students, and hate myself for not being better prepared for them. Some famous person in second language acquisition once said something like, "Some teachers have twenty years experience. Others have one year of experience twenty times."

Right now I feel like that second, useless teacher. At the end of last semester I had a whole bunch of new ideas I wanted to think about over the summer, to try this semester. I haven't thought about them at all. I hope the weather cools down over the weekend so I can get some preparation done for the other first-day classes I have next week. Fortunately for me there are two public holidays next week, so I'll have a bit more time. But after that it's 5 day weeks.

It's back to work time.

Yesterday I vowed to myself that I would never, ever spend another summer in Japan if it was at all avoidable. After six weeks off I should be going back to work feeling refreshed and rested. Instead I feel drained and tired, and I'm not ready for this at all.

You can expect my blogging to decrease dramatically, at least until I get back into the swing of things. Working again is going to be a big shock. It always is.

Today I had lots of plans. I went to the supermarket to buy ingredients for my lunch tomorrow, so I'd be prepared. I'd planned to go to the bank, too, and to do another couple of urgent chores. But when I got to the supermarket I noticed my front tyre was flat, and discovered I had a puncture - a thumbtack was embedded in the front tyre. So I did my shopping, pushed/lifted the bicycle to the bicycle repair shop, and had to wait while two other people got their bicycles fixed. I was there for about forty minutes, sweating and thinking desperately about all the preparation I hadn't done, constructing lesson plans in my head and getting more and more worried. After the bicycle was fixed, I came home and got straight into class preparations, forgetting the other chores. They didn't get done. Now I'm feeling all disorganized.

But while I was sitting there waiting for my bicycle to be fixed, I heard manic barking. The barking boy! I thought, and peered outside.

But it was a different barking boy. He was younger and thinner than the original one, and he was with his father, who was gripping his backpack and trotting to keep up as the boy strode along, barking loudly and straining forward.

We have two barking boys in the neighbourhood! And this one barks more, and longer, and louder! How weird is that?

It was an inexplicably cheering discovery.