Yes, I know it's been awhile. Once again, sorry for the gap.

So Saturday was Parents Day / Observation Day. Since so many parents work during the week, the school holds classes on Saturday and has a holiday the following Monday to make up for it.

What this means for me is I have a 6 day work week, ending with a bunch of people watching me embarrass myself.

I actually wasn't that worried about it in the beginning. A few parents would come watch, and I would do the same lesson I'd done the day before with a different 2nd grade class. It was an easy small group activity, so most of the pressure was on the Japanese teacher.

However, I get moved to work with a first grade class instead. And I'm going to be the main teacher for the majority of the lesson. Surprise!

First period, I have a class (unobserved - people don't come until about 4th period) with the first grade JT, and he models the lesson for me, using almost all English so that I'll be able to do the same thing (I'm not really supposed to use Japanese with my classes, except for vocab). I take a few notes, and the lesson isn't a hard one because it's all things the class is used to doing normally, so I'm not really that nervous.

Then I learn that 15 English teachers from different schools and different parts of the prefecture were coming, too.

Then, just before the observation period, I saw the never-ending stream of parents and siblings enter the school.

Then I got nervous.

I should maybe clarify here that my role in classes is usually very much the assistant teacher. The only time I'm leading an activity is for vocab flashcards, and reading practice. The rest of the time, the JT does his thing, occasionally asking me to pronounce something, or answer a question to demonstrate the grammar. Very minimal thinking on my part.

But when there are visitors, the school wants to show off. So class becomes just that much more difficult.

I had about twenty people watching my class at any given time. Parents could move from class to class if they wanted (and did, because watching a kid take notes is boring, no matter if it's your kid or not). Our rooms are a little bit different from normal classrooms, because there's a work area to the side with lots of open space, and the whole room is open to the hallway, which is open to the class next door, and so on. So people just stood pretty much wherever they wanted on the whole left side, with a few people against the back wall. Mostly the English teacher visitors.

The class starts well with our warm-ups. The kids know what to do, they've been well-trained. I'm fairly optimistic. And most of the rest of the class actually does go well, minus the part where a gust of wind from the open window blows paper all over. And the guy in the back of the room with a video camera at hip level. But, like I said, I end up being the main teacher for almost the entire class. The only thing my JT officially does is the grammar point and note-taking for the last ten minutes or so. He even commented afterward that I did all the work, and apologized many times for not giving me more notice and for pretty much everything in general, because he's Japanese and he's polite, haha.

After class is over, we go back to the teacher's room for a bit of a breather before the final class of the day (which is back to normal), and parents and everyone are supposed to leave then, though a lot of people just sort of hang around in the main hall. We got our new school building in January, so a lot of parents wanted to look around it (it's a really nice building). On the way to class, the other ALT and I were greeted by a handful of the English teaching visitors, one of which bowed really low, which was embarrassing, but hopefully a good sign. They were all very nice.

After school, the teachers will meet with the visitors and parents in a meeting at another building to discuss various things. And then there's a drinking party, where the parents drink enough to really let the teachers know what they thought. The second grade JT always tells me how much she doesn't want to go, but she wants to improve her teaching (and it's mandatory) so she goes. The ALTs aren't invited. Instead, I went home and took a nap. :)

And that was my Saturday.

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