Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On Blogging and Teaching

Teaching Tuesdays have been few and far between, not to mention short and anything but sweet. It's not for lack of topics but for lack of time. Well, not just that. It's more like one of my friends was saying about the announcers in the final minutes of the Bills' heartbreaking loss to Dallas: "Just shut up! Stop saying it's over! Don't jinx us!" It's not like I've been pitching no-hitters in all my classes, but somehow it feels like to blog about any aspect of them or to begin to reflect on the effects of the Fulbright experience on my teaching in the States or on similarities and differences between my Fukuoka and my Fredonia students would be to jeopardize a streak of some sort. But I think it would be all right to suggest that my blogging here at CitizenSE while I was in Japan was a way for me to process all the reading and research I was doing to prepare for my all-new preps there, whereas this semester I've basically been teaching modified versions of familiar courses that incorporate a lot of the ideas I processed in Japan. So I don't need to blog as much here on teaching-related matters because I did so much of that during the past winter, spring, and summer.

But I do have an onechan-related teaching story for y'all. With the tsuma taking courses twice a week and working at UB three times a week this semester, I'm now dropping the girls off at and picking them up from day care, as well as getting dinner started. When the girls get tired of entertaining each other and begin to bug me while I'm trying to get organized to begin doing something resembling "cooking," I give them a snack or a drink. But only certain kinds of things--nothing sweet, for instance. The tsuma and I have been trying to drill into onechan's head that you can only have dessert after you've eaten enough real food--stuff with protein so you grow big and strong, or things with vitamins so your hair grows long long long. (Yes, those things motivate her, even if she can't pronounce vitamins exactly right yet.) But onechan has a real sweet tooth (thanks to me, I guess), so despite our efforts she's always asking if she can have some forbidden item before dinner, and we're always saying no. For some reason, this evening when I was in the middle of getting ready to cook, she asked if she could have a Peco-chan candy right then, and I told her, "sure, but if you have it now you can't have one for dessert." I guess I was curious to see what kind of choice she'd make. Well, she got the funniest look on her face--kind of shocked and horrified and suspicious and tempted all at once--paused for awhile, and finally replied in a kind of scandalized tone of voice, "Daddy, I'm going to wait. You should eat real food first." Then she went off on this long soliloquy about how ashita (tomorrow) she was going to have Peco-chan candy for dessert, too. I think she couldn't believe I had forgotten the house rule and wanted to make sure I would give her credit for correcting me. Anyway, it was one of those moments when you feel completely ratified as a teacher--"she gets it! she actually gets it!" Nice.

I should note that in fact she motored through three servings of dinner--macaroni and cheese, yellow rice, and steamed fresh green beans (hey, I never said I was agood cook!)--just so she could get to dessert, but when the time finally came she decided to have a lollipop instead of the Peco-chan candy. Then she topped it off with some apple sauce, because "it's good for you, daddy." Probably she's right, as this was home-made stuff she and imoto made at imoto's day care out of the fresh apples they were too sick to pick on Columbus Day.


Anonymous said...
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The Constructivist said...

ah, the smell of deleted Chinese comment spam in the morning....