Well, it’s official: I’m here for another year. Earlier this month the six of us had a meeting with our direct supervisor at the board of education where he finally asked us whether we were staying or leaving. It was a painful meeting. Our supervisor was obviously hoping that more than two of us would be choosing to stay, and he was so obviously disappointed that even the two of us staying felt bad. He was pretty good at laying on the guilt too.
It was a decision that I had see-sawed on quite often over the last six months, but the final decision ended up coming quite naturally. Despite the feeling that being here is in some sense putting my life on hold, I enjoy it here. I’m happy with my job, and I might as well stay as long as I’m enjoying being here, since it won’t be so easy to get a job as comfortable as this one again if I decide to leave and come back. So now I’m contracted until July 31st, 2013.
Winter continues to be cruel on a level never before experienced, but I’m almost getting used to not feeling my toes. Setsubun was last Friday, and supposedly marked the start of spring. This week however has been the coldest yet. Hopefully things start to warm up once we get into March.
I’m getting used to working with both of the 2nd year teachers now, and the classes go smoothly for the most part. However, my role in lesson planning and instruction has been steadily decreasing as we get closer to the end of the school year. The teachers are realizing that they’re behind in the curriculum and are cutting out ‘foreigner-fun-time’ in favour of cramming more of that textbook. That means I’m mostly modeling vocabulary pronunciation and reading dialogues. I’m using some of the extra down-time to put serious work into studying more Japanese.
At the end of January I participated in my first ever organized foot race! In Bisei I finished 10k in an incredibly mediocre 55min 57sec, of which I am incredibly proud. In a moment of foolish ambition I also registered for a half-marathon coming up in March, and despite putting in serious effort at training, I’m concerned about being able to finish it. It’ll be a major challenge at any rate.
I think I’ve been inspired to become a teacher. A real teacher. I’ve begun looking at after-degree programs in Canada for 2013. I’ve found that I really enjoy being in the classroom, and can actually see myself doing it for the long term. So now I have to put thought into where in Canada I want to live. The west coast was feeling good to me, but the constant cloud cover here recently has me wondering…