Partially immersed

日本語が話せますか?

If the characters above got rendered properly in your browser you should see Japanese writing.  The proper response for me would be, say what?  Of course, if I knew what that said the real response should be:

いいえ、私は日本語を話さない。
Sorry, I guess you probably don’t know Japanese either.  The first question was, “Do you speak Japanese?”  The response was, “No, I do not speak Japanese.”  When encountering a Spanish-speaking classroom, I always start with, “No hablo español, solamente inglés.” (I don’t speak Spanish, only English).  It’s fun to see the kids’ reaction, especially if I add a little bit more from my severely limited Spanish vocabulary.  With Japanese, I can’t even begin.  Three times in the space of two weeks I found myself in dual language classrooms- twice for Japanese, once for Spanish.  What kind of class is this you may ask?  I will answer.  Once upon a time the way to teach kids a foreign language was to offer it as an elective in high school.  Then, someone learned that the best time to learn new languages was as a young child, so they added the classes to the junior high curriculum (in some cases making kids take five different ones in sixth grade!).  This trickled down to intermediate grades with one language twice a week like gym.  Still not happy, the powers-that-be started dual-language classes allowing children as young as six to start learning a different language, and that is where we are today.  In such a class, the younger grades slowly learn the language, and then they start instructing in that language as they get older for a sort of immersion experience.  In the Japanese class, this means that for the entire afternoon teachers and students use only Japanese.  The teaching assistant took over this duty of course since I would be unable to converse in or even understand Japanese.  It was an experience not unlike working in a deaf classroom as I have done before, but knowing that I could converse with the students in English when necessary.  This was sixth grade, so they were on their sixth year of this.  They seemed pretty proficient to me- having read Japanese books for starters and giving a book report in Japanese.  When it came time for me to instruct, however, we all went back to English.
The Spanish class was 4th grade, so they weren’t as proficient in their second language as 6th grade was in theirs.  There were no book reports or the like in Spanish, though of course it could have just been the day.  When trying to read the Spanish social studies book, it became clear many did not understand very well.  Unfortunately I did not have a Spanish-speaking assistant at this time as I did for Japanese.  When math time rolled around, the Spanish-speaking assistant finally arrived and I expected she might take over for a bit, but she didn’t so we did the subject in English as I could do little more than the numbers and operations in Spanish.  As it turned out it was probably a good thing we did it in English as they had a difficult enough time with the topic in their primary language.
So what’s next, dual language French? Italian? I guess I may find out.  It’s odd that this is the first year I have been in this sort of classroom in all my years of subbing.  Bilingual and regular foreign language classes yes, but not dual-language.  This may mean then that the chances of doing it again are somewhat remote, so we’ll see.

Rain, rain, go away

Winter I’m told is the hardest part about this car job, but after this last month I’m really starting to wonder.  Was there this much rain last year?  I man, day after day for the last five weeks with only a few days rest from it.  I can only hope that this gets the precipitation over with so I don’t have to brush off cars so much this winter, but I know that’s just a pipe dream.  Some more days like yesterday would be nice, but unfortunately the forecast for the next few days calls for more of you-know-what.  Sigh.  Fortunately by evening the chance currently shows about 30% so just maybe our haunted house hopping event won’t be too soggy.

Today just really got me down.  First was the slow trip east toward the city to a dealer where I had a whole two cars for my 40-min. trip.  Took me two hours too due to having to drive the cars to the warehouse- something only this dealer requires, along with the garage where some of the lights don’t work so I have to take more pictures just to get good ones.  Additionally I had to wipe down the wet cars before I could take pictures of them.  $7 an hour- isn’t that below minimum wage?  Next stop, two cars again but at least it went much quicker.  As I approached my final destination, the rain decided to fall without a break until after dark so I ended up taking pictures with an umbrella in the other hand (this place doesn’t mind the cars being wet in the photos).  I only got to three of the cars before I had to quit.  Actually, I did the other half of the job with entering the car data and making stickers for all seven I had to do while waiting in vain for a break in the rain, but since I didn’t do the photos yet I couldn’t charge them yet.  I may be able to get to them Monday when I’m there next, but only if they don’t sell them.

Oh yes, to top it all off, I forgot to return a key to one of the other dealers so I had to stop back there on the way home.  At least it was the closer one, not the further heavy-traffic one.  I don’t think I would generally use this outdated phrase, but it’s starting to look like this job is all wet, pun intended.

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Theorizing about Fun

I’ve been waiting to post until I catch up on reading my friends’ blogs, but I am realizing that if I do that I will never post.  Sorry Taylhis, Jamiahsh, JustJ, Whatever, and even MareMare whose blog I haven’t read in over a month!  Sigh… Where does the time go?  I have a couple of normal things I want to blog about, but that will have to wait as geek.com has just now posted on a third video from the maker of the car from the past we know as Herbie the Love Bug, Volkswagen.  They have decided to take up the cause of environmentalism and try to change people’s attitudes through what they call the Fun Theory.  A couple of weeks ago they started with trying to get people to burn their own energy by using the stairs instead of the escalator.  I remember my days of visiting malls and seeing the stairs used only infrequently when they were next to an escalator.  Often though, I would use the stairs simply because they were faster than waiting behind someone on the escalator.  Of course, if there was no one on the escalator I would climb up or down them like stairs to be even faster since the stairs were moving.  Anyway, see what they did in this video:

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Next, they added something to a trash can to get more people to throw their litter away:

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Just today I learned about their newest video.  This one involves a bottle collector, something I have yet to see around here.  For that matter, I don’t know of any sort of effort to collect recycling outdoors.  Many places like schools have some sort of indoor recycling of course, but that’s far from a large-scale municipal effort.  Is it just my area?  Surely we’re doing it somewhere in the US?  Of course, being a European company Volkswagen made these videos on the other side of the pond we know as the Atlantic Ocean, so it may well just be a European thing.  Meet the video game bottle collector:

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The videos are actually larger than the small window we get here on Tangents, so you will probably want to click on them to open them up on their Youtube pages.

Not much really…

It has been a few weeks now with nary a post from me.  You’d think in all that time I would actually have something to say, but sad to say I don’t.  Not much at least.  This new job so far is keeping me a little poorer than subbing alone.  Finding half-days for subbing to go along with this job is not easy and I have gone a few days without.  Also, I just learned my commission is based monthly so the couple of weeks I was ahead did not make up for the weeks I was behind.  Base only again.  Sigh.  Soon…  This season has been none too friendly for this job either.  About 70% rain in the last couple of weeks.  In fact, I had to completely take off Friday and go to one of the dealers Saturday instead.  I wanted to go to the other one tomorrow since it’s Columbo day (or something like that… 😉 ) and therefore no chance of subbing, but it looks like the rain will likely make a return.  Looks like I’ll have to take half a day off of subbing Tuesday instead.  I already took a half-day sub job, and have jobs for Thursday and Friday as well, so aside from Wednesday I’m pretty set for this week.

Speaking (writing?) of subbing, no interesting subbing stories I’m afraid.  Mostly upper grades (4th+) and once with a student teacher whose observing professor came in to watch her teach.  I am now two days toward the five I need in order to get paid for the annual sub-training in Hometown district- both middle school days.  The last one was science.  I essentially led a small chemistry project for 8th grade.  I hope their teacher gave them more time the next day as no one finished.

Then there’s church, something I haven’t written about much lately.  I have been able to give four of my five cabin kids their DVDs I made.  Unfortunately the fifth hasn’t been to church in awhile due to multiple surgeries- yes, the one with the dwarfism condition (is there an official name?  I suppose if I had ever watched Little People, Big World I would know).  They are just trying to fix his body, but even with a lack of an emergency which would normally lead to invasive surgery, I’m sure it is still trying for him and his parents- and undoubtedly painful.  I pray he recovers well.

Well, sorry there isn’t much here.  Hopefully I’ll have at least one more post before all of you come out this way.  I’ll try to be less lazy about posting interesting news and links as well.  I think there were a couple, but I can’t recall at the moment.