Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Your Japanese word of the week is...

"raku" 楽 which means "comfortable" or "relaxed/relieved".  And so I was, since last week was spring break.  I managed to get a bit of work done but only the work for this week.

Of course, that's not really a problem since this weekend is Easter long weekend, so that's another 4 days off.  Coupled with a short week next week, that makes these two weeks pretty simple.  After that, I have one full week and then I'm finished the school portion of my practicum!  Excited isn't really the word I'd use since, aside from the prep work, I rather enjoy my time in the classroom.

I'm by no means a "good teacher" but at least I feel somewhat comfortable in front of a class.  I'll be glad when I'm at Science World for the slightly reduced work load but it'll be weird not seeing my students daily.  Of course, I'll still be working with students (this time of all ages) as well at Science World, so that brings with it new challenges which will be fun.

But in the mean time, I'm just enjoying my relaxing days off as I make the final push towards the end of practicum.

In other news, I'll be finally breaking the camera out again this Thursday as I head for the Vancouver International Auto Show.  Cars, friends, and photography...

I could even enter for a chance to win a Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet!  Fingers crossed haha....

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Your Japanese word of the week is...

"kitsui" きつい which means "laborious; difficult".  I like to think of it as "tough".  And not to worry, although I did miss a week, the blog's not stopping anytime soon.

But back to the word...

When practicum started, it wasn't too bad.  The school schedule includes 4 classes a day and I only taught 2.  And they were separated by spares even.  More than that, it was the same lesson twice.  I didn't even have to plan that much since it was done for me.  So, for a month, everything was fine and dandy.  I just focussed on honing my classroom skills.

Since the beginning of March, I swapped one of those classes for a different class.  So now it was still two classes, but back to back, and different lessons for both.  A bit more work but at least most of the planning was done for me still.

UBC mandates that all student teachers must spend 4 weeks teaching at a "full load" which they deem as 80% of the available classes or, in my case, 3 blocks a day.  I started that last week and they're all different courses, 3 in a row, and I plan one of them entirely on my own.

Now, that's not to say I have it particularly hard, considering most others are doing 3 classes (or more if their school is linear) planning everything.  But this whole teaching business is tough.

To be honest, it's not the "teaching" part.  I actually enjoy being on the floor and working with the students.  The planning is the tought part.  So I can see how established teachers manage to get through a year's worth because once the material is all set and you're used to the delivery, it's not too bad.  Challenging, but not nearly as tough as it is now.

And, of course, you really do have to give it 100% and it is tiring.  Because, like our frog friend below shows us, giving 100% and missing the mark means that at least you haven't left anything on the table...

Monday, 8 March 2010

Your Japanese word of the week is...

"hokori" 誇り which means "pride".  I should apologize for the last post but the past two weeks have been pretty hectic at school.

But back to the word.  There are many many reason why the past two weeks have been a source of pride for any Canadian.

Vancouver, for instance, hosted what I felt was an amazing Olympic Games.  Regardless of where your opinion lies on whether the Olympics are good or bad, it's hard to argue that Vancouver did an excellent job of turning it into an EVENT for people to take part in.  The sheer amount of stuff available to do in the city meant that it got people out and about.  And the buzz that created (along with the uncharacteristic stint of amazing weather) helps solidify just how fantastic of a city Vancouver is.  It's not without its faults (as any British newspaper will tell you), but in terms of making the Olympics accessible to all, it was one of the best.

It was also a great time to be Canadian, considering we set a historical record for the number of gold medals earned by any nation in one Winter Olympic Games.

And, of course, more important than any other event- Men's Hockey.  With the goal seen across the nation, Sidney Crosby helped Canada claim top spot we've long claimed as our own.  But it wasn't just the winning, driving around the city afterwards and seeing the sheer amount of Canadiana out there further cements point #1 - Being Canadian and being in Vancouver is something I've very proud of.