I was woken up at 05:25 this morning by a storm of biblical proportions. Very high winds were whipping sheets of rain around, and the combination of the wailing gale and drumming rain on the roof just above my head woke me up more effectively than any alarm clock ever could. I even opened my window and looked out to see the water cascading across the road, like a perpendicular waterfall in mid-air.

I imagined that it must be a typhoon. Indeed, I almost hoped that it would be a typhoon, so that school would be cancelled and I could enjoy another day off.

However, within a quarter of an hour, the storm abated, and all was silent. I caught a few minutes of sleep before I had to wake up again.

I checked the weather forecast, and under the “warnings” section, there was indeed a note about gales predicted for 05:30. It was a very impressive piece of forecasting, although not much use to me as I read it after the event. It was also clear that the brief storm was a one-off event. No typhoon, and no day off for me!

Still, school went reasonably well. I only had three classes for the day, which duty I discharged in the first three periods of the morning.

The first class was something of a nightmare. At this school, I was presented with some lesson plans developed by a previous teacher, and strongly encouraged (interpret that as you will) to follow them. I wrote up the plans in more detail last week, indicated the parts that I would say, and the parts for the class teacher to explain.

Team teaching sounds fine in principle, and indeed does work if you have competent people to work with and time to plan the lesson.

That is precisely why it doesn’t work at elementary school. The teachers can’t speak English and I have to work with a different teacher for each class. Add to that the fact that most of them seem to have sievelike memories that can’t even carry a simple series of instructions from one day to the next even when supplemented by written notes, and, like cheese before bedtime, a nightmare is inevitable.

I didn’t have the opportunity to meet with today’s teachers before the class, as they had no time to do so last week. It was also clear that the first teacher of the day had not even bothered to read the instructions I had prepared for them. I upbraided her for this after the class, which I quite enjoyed, to be perfectly honest! As a result, I threw the nonsensical “thou shalt not speak Japanese in front of the children” rule out the window for the next two classes, conducted them myself, and it all went fairly smoothly after that.

As ever, if you want a job done properly, do it yourself.