Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My first Japanese Class

So. I rocked up to my first Japanese class. Found the Hunloke Community Centre. Was a nice ten minute or so drive from home. Found my way in. Found the classroom. There were a few amiable oldies waiting patiently and a couple of younger people who obviously knew each other.

The teacher turned up.

Then – a whole gaggle of younger (ie, in their 20s or so) people frolicked in, chattering gaily amongst themselves. They greeted the two other younger people and the teacher and all sat down.

The teacher looked very worried.

“There seem to be 18 people,” she said. “We have a maximum class limit of 15”.

I thought this was a bit odd. Evening Class teachers don’t usually worry about this sort of thing. The more the merrier, within reason, usually.

Then she started telling us about what we would be doing.

Now, I was expecting a nice gentle evening class. Amiable Oldies learning how to chat a little in Japanese. I was not expecting to find myself in what was a mid-point extension class for a bunch of students doing the equivalent of an A-level or VCE subject. The younger ones had been doing intensive classes for the previous 15 weeks with lots of assessment and stuff. I was emphatically not expecting to find myself thinking about Learning Outcomes and Formative Assessment. They had done the speaking and listening stuff, were poised to take up the reading and writing elements in September and were having a ten week run to consolidate and prepare. So not so much evening classes as Adult Education!

The teacher went away to sort out the numbers.

She came back, with the administrator. They were clearly worried. We had three more students than we were allowed to have (this made more sense in the context of council run adult education provision!)

I don’t know how they resolved the matter. I decided that it was clearly not fair to deprive one of the continuing students of their place given that I didn’t want to do an A Level equivalent in Japanese, didn’t especially want to learn to read it and wouldn’t be going on to the rest of the formal course in September. I went away and went home to continue my evening studies in wine consumption!

There is a place in Sheffield where I can do gentle Japanese with amiable oldies. I did Italian there for years. I’ll follow it up for the new academic year in September. But it’s a pity – I was hoping to find something closer to home where I could meet a few of the locals!

Taffa has a new job! She’s going to be a staff trainer for the Cambridge branch of Sainsbury’s. She’s very excited. All the bits of staff management that she really enjoys without any of the yucky bits. She's also a bit surprised. She was told by email yesterday morning that she hadn't got it - only about half an hour after the interview. So she was mightily confused when they rang her with congratulations this morning!

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