But… but… but…
Certain matters have been resolved. First, I tracked down the CDs which go with the official TOEFL book.1 It then turned out that the NorthStar TOEFL book was over in the library being processed. The CD for Listen to Learn was never ordered. My theory is that because the CD was listed after the title of the book, the person ordering the books never read as far as “audio CD”, and thought that the title had been doubled up. We’re going to switch back to the second edition until the CDs for the third edition arrive – if they ever do. Mind you, I still don’t have Listen to Learn 1.
The AS classes have been quite mixed together. AS3 contains some students from PAL 3, and a lot of apparently new students. AS4 has a lot of PAL 3 and some PAL 1s and 2s. I quizzed last year’s little darlings as a means of introducing myself to the new students in the class.
I had PAL 2 this afternoon. I think the word “shell-shocked” would describe them quite well, but I fear that with the advent of the IB programme, we’re now back to being vegetable gardeners. I’ll have a word with them tomorrow about getting used to listening to the other teachers, and that it’ll take them a little time to get used to the range of accents they’re hearing. I’ll see PAL 1 tomorrow.
The Australians have found the remains of Ned Kelly who, I thought, was a notorious bushranger who liked dressing up in armour. But now it turns out he was some Irish freedom fighter. The BBC, trying to be impartial, says in its article, “Ned Kelly was seen by many as a cold-blooded killer and others as a folk hero of Irish-Australian resistance.” Irish-Australian resistance? Huh? I’m getting images of German soldiers guarding top secret radar installations and signposts with French place names.
1. To further my rant from the other day, anyone doing TOEFL or IELTS knows that the books can be horrifically expensive. If you just learnt English and read a summary of what happens in the TOEFL exam, you could save a lot of money. The publishers of those big fat American books are banking on you mistaking the obesity of their material proportional to your success in the exam. The book is enormously overweight, you think. How can I not succeed?
The fall of the coins?
Have things changed in Pyjama Province? When I last lived in this part of the Empire, I noted a fondness for ¥1 coins, and when I came back, there was still that fondness for them. In all the time I’ve been here, I’ve barely seen a note, and have to go to places like Chengdu to get them as change. But in the past week, I’ve suddenly been getting more than the occasional note. Perhaps the imperial government is going to ship them to the States so that the Americans will have some money to spend. (“Shiny metal things? Them’s used fer buyin’ stuff.” Grandma, you’s bullshittin’ us. Everyone knows we ain’t got no… no… “Money. Leastwise I think that’s what they call it. Ain’t seen none since 1984.”)
Got my timetable for school today. No major changes. All right, none at all really. I have both PAL classes, and AS3 and AS4. I assume the former are last year’s PAL 3 class, and AS4 are the new arrivals. The pre-IB classes are also doing the IGCSE ESL exam, though just this year.
There wasn’t much point in hanging around at school today. No textbooks yet, but I know what I’ll do on Thursday and Friday. Yes, it starts again on Thursday. It’s not a matter of what I’m going to do for two days, but rather why bother?
When I got back to school, the money plant appeared to have had it. They’re meant to be robust, and I didn’t hold out much hope for mine, but watered it anyway, and found that there was some life in it yet. A few of the leaves have perked up, but may have survived because, in my ignorance, I overwatered the plant last term. I note that the money plants which were in the loo over the holiday have flourished without the slightest amount of watering.
But though this is brief, I’m unlikely to be witty.
Our start-of-term conference has been vacuuming up my time one way or another over the past three days. It hasn’t been completely pointless, but the extra day the English teachers had served no real purpose other than to overload us with information starting with SATs, which we won’t have to worry about until the second term. Yesterday, the excess continued with a 90-minute lecture which overran by about half an hour, which truncated lunch, and which was then followed by a (much briefer) Q&A session.
We had dinner at the Kempinski last night, which is where the out-of-towners have been staying. Won’t be rushing back because although it’s nice, a pint of beer was ¥58 (not including additional gratuitous charges) and a glass of Pinot Noir was ¥88, which I would rather not pay for a whole bottle of wine, let alone one glass.
But the weather has been foul, especially yesterday as we waited outside the school for a taxi to go to the hotel. Once again I ask, “Drainage, where is thy sting?”
I had thought we’d only have two English teachers, and a librarian (for the IB programme), but there are actually three of us just teaching English. We’ve been wondering how that’s going to work, but we won’t really know till Monday. My theory is that Mark and I will probably deal with the standard part of the programme, while Fred may be doing some business, and English-related matters.
And once we’re done, I have to go shopping. Bollocks!