Thursday, November 30, 2006
This hasn't been the worst day ever by a long shot but a few things have happened which have got me down. The main problem came with a telephone call I got this morning from the referral agency that sets me up with students. They called to say that my 3:00 pm lesson was cancelling because her son was sick. This is actually "good news" because I get paid for late cancellations but, unfortunately, that wasn't all there was to it.
One thing that people who don't live in Japan don't know (probably) is that the Japanese rarely complain about anything. When someone makes the vaguest suggestion to you, it's likely that there is actually a complaint behind it. They told me that Magic English Pill woman had said she was anxious because her vocabulary was so limited that there may be misunderstandings. She also said that she "just wanted to talk about western culture and cooking." While I'd love to talk about these things with this particular student, I can't because her level is just too low to have anything resembling a conversation about anything.
I thought I'd found a workable lesson structure with her by mixing up some attempts at chatting with some repetition and structure but it seems that she is not necessarily satisfied with that or she wouldn't have said anything to the referral agency. They did say that she is "otherwise satisfied with my lessons" but I know that a lot more lurks behind suggestions than the student lets on. I was so unhappy about this development that I wrote the referral agency a relatively longish letter explaining my conundrum and asking for their input on how I should structure lessons to satisfy her.
The main problem with this is that the agency doesn't know and probably doesn't care how her lessons are done as long as the student is happy and spends money. Most companies who sell lessons have no clue about either education or even the entertainment value of a lesson. They can't tell you how to make someone happy. They can only tell you when they're not happy.
The truth is that I'm not happy either. I was only gradually starting to cease dreading her lessons as time went by and now I'm pretty much back to square one on the "dread" scale. Since I don't need the money that desperately, I'm about as close as I can be to telling the agency to find her another teacher and let her deal with any feelings of rejection by her teacher (this was the main reason I didn't send her packing much earlier on).
On top of that, my bicycle pedal broke in an unusual way just as I was leaving on an errand. The bar connecting the two pedals seems to have come dislodged from the socket it sits in so that it dangles out of the left side. It's not actually busted but I have no idea how to get it back in so that it can move the chain properly. The odd thing is that it's the left side that fell out when I always "push off" on the right and balance when stopped by putting my left foot on the ground (so the left pedal rarely has disproportionate or unusual force placed on it). You'd think if it were to get pulled out, it'd be on the side that had the greatest force on it most frequently.
That means I'm either without a bike until next Monday when it can be taken to a shop for fixing or my husband leaves his and he's without one. Well, I can walk but with my chronic back problems, this is a bit of a hardship.
I was so depressed that, instead of putting together a nice healthy lunch, I went to a convenience store and bought a piece of greasy fried chicken (which was actually pretty good) and a bag of the new habanero chips for lunch. Pairing these with a fresh tomato probably wasn't anywhere near bringing it up to a "nutritious lunch". I very rarely do things like this but there's something about being down and buying junk food that goes hand in hand. :-p