Today was the last day at two of my elementary schools for this rotation.
Today’s school lunch: chicken katsu with beef curry and rice, and pickled cabbage.
I wanna talk about two things today: stickers and my stamp sheet system.
One thing unique to English class is that we give out stickers and other incentives to try to motivate the students. I don’t think the other subjects use stickers to the extent that we do.
I would hand out stickers to students who answered correctly or did well. Depending on the mood of the class and teacher. For example, some teachers don’t have class participation during their lessons or no one volunteers, so there’s no way for me to give rewards. I would give out stickers more often in elementary schools than in junior high schools, since elementary students are less self-conscious. But I would usually reward students who were correct or won. I was also stingy with my stickers since I wanted to make them last.
Because of that, I’ve ended up accumulating unused stickers. I started thinking about what I have been doing, and realized my mistakes. What’s the point of me saving up these stickers. I’m not gonna use them for myself. They’re useless to me. Also, I realized that I only rewarded correct answers, rather than rewarding effort and participation. What’s important is that the student wanted to try. They should be commended for volunteering. By not giving them stickers for trying, I was implying that only correct answers mattered. That they should only answer when you know the right answer. Which is a HUGE problem with Japanese student mentality. Students only answer when they know that they’re 110% sure it’s the correct answer. Even then, they still won’t answer. I really didn’t to encourage that, especially at the elementary school level. I wanted to get them used to trying at a young age.
So now I buy tons of stickers and give them out to the students if they tried, regardless if they were right or wrong. Sometimes I would give out stickers for all the students if we do an activity that involves the whole class.
Here’s some advice about stickers.
Another thing I want to talk about is my stamp sheet reward system. This isn’t so much advice, as just ranting. I would give students stamps if they would talk with me in English. Personally, I don’t know if this system is good or bad. I really don’t have an answer for it. On one hand, in principle, it rewards and encourages students to speak English with me. But on the other hand, it seems to scare off students who want to speak with me otherwise. They think that they can only speak to me if they use perfect English.
At my first school, it was successful. Students came up and talked with me and got a lot of stamps. But it has more to do with their personalities, I think. But after that school, I haven’t had much success with my stamp system. at the other schools. Despite wanting the prizes, they would not speak with me or they would quickly lose interest, despite my numerous reminders and coaxing.
Part of the reason too, it seems, is me. I don’t look like Brad Pitt. I look scary. I would tell the following ALT who rotates into my previous school that the students are shy and wouldn’t talk with me. When I check up on them later on, I would hear from them how the students love talking with them and aren’t shy at all like I said. WTF?! What has changed? Same school; same students; different ALT. So the problem is me. I’m not popular because I’m not beautiful like ALT #1 or handsome like ALT #2. It’s so discouraging. I can’t change any of that.
Next month, I will rotate to my last school before the end of my tenure in the JET Programme. I don’t know if I should continue doing my stamp system.
Today’s school lunch: rice, simmered mackerel, pickled cabbage with sesame, and egg drop soup.
The mackerel was yummy but fishy!
Today’s school lunch: bread bun, hamburger patty, pickled cabbage, and vegetable and pork soup.
Stuffed the party in the bun with the cabbage and made a hamburger.
Love this school’s bread day. I will change schools again soon. I’m scared to return to the regular nasty stew and bread days at other schools.
Today’s Doll’s Festival school lunch: chirashizushi, burdock and tofu soup, and hina’arare (sweet rice crackers for Doll’s Festival).
Japanese lesson: Chirashi means “scattering”. Chirashi + sushi = chirashizushi; sushi rice with various toppings scattered on top. Leaflets are also called chirashi, because you scatter them all over the place (that’s my assumption).
Today’s school lunch: rice, chapchae, and egg drop soup.
Even though the chapchae looked pale and bland, it was still yummy. I loves yous, Chapchae.
Today’s school lunch: rice, grilled salted salmon, daikon miso soup, and okara (tofu lees).
If y’all wondering what tofu lees are and what they taste like, let me try to explain it. They’re the leftover solid bits from making tofu. Like tofu, they don’t have any taste. Their flavor comes from whatever they’re cooked with. As for texture… they’re kinda like soggy breadcrumbs. They’re stuck in limbo — between grainy and powdery, between wet and dry.
Today’s school lunch: bread, pork stew, and spaghetti salad.
This school never gives you a damn spoon when there’s stews.
Finals this week, so no school lunch. Met up with a few teachers from a precious JHS and had lunch with them.
Sweet and sour chicken, fried fish, with soup and rice for ¥700.