Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bad Day

spicy Prozac

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


Roy said...

Hey Cheer up!!

These things are neither good nor bad. We just decide them to be one or the other and then let them trash our emotions. Detach.

No need to feel bad about what the student said about your class since your motivation was for what you thought was best for her. She might now realize that now but perhaps later she will.

And greasy chicken is good isn't it? I think I'll go get some right now too!

Leo said...

Sorry to that you're depressed. Hope you're feeling better. I've been known to hoover through a carton of Ben & Jerry's or Dreyer's when I've been in that mood. and at other times, I just decided to not let it get to me.

And mmmmmmm, greasy chicken, tasty.

Shari said...

Roy: Thanks for your encouraging words. :-) I know that I should detach from these situations emotionally and am better at it than I once was but it's always a bit difficult for me as an HSP (highly sensitive person) and a woman. Men seem much better at it.

I figured you'd be far more likely to go for the habanero chips than the chicken but power to the grease!

Leo: Thank you as well for your kind words. We don't have Ben & Jerry's or Dreyer's here though I must say that I was hankering for ice cream last night as well. I just pushed aside that urge but it was pretty tough!

Tokyo Rosa said...

gotta love those habanero chips. (just don't look at the nutritional information because--yikes!)

i think you did the right thing with the student. if she's not meant to be your student, then she's not meant to be your student. no shame in that. besides, she's an adult and can choose a new teacher--just as you can choose to advise her to choose a new teacher.

be tough, sensei!