August 15th, 2010

b/g - in the library

Middlebury Part II (the bad?)

So the bad stuff?

Believe it or not there was actually bad stuff. The first was the fact that it was enough of a stressful situation that I cried in a couple of my classes because I felt hopeless and tired and as if I was never going to be able to understand Japanese. And while there is a rationale for crying in class (hello stressful situation, fish out of water, in ability to express oneself when one is quite used to having a mastery of the language), it was still embarrassing both during and afterwards. Some teachers handled it better than others, or at least made one feel less like a git for doing it, and it made me appreciate the job they took on all the more. Because honestly I don't think any of my teachers really wanted to make me cry.

I guess I should mention how classes worked: our individual level had four teachers and a TA. Every morning we would gather together in our full group of 22 students for a lecture/reading discussion class where we went over the passages that we'd read the night before and take a vocabulary quiz. After that we split into groups and had a listening comprehension class, a speaking/dialect class, and a grammar/kanji class for an hour. Most days we had a quiz in each class, except for Fridays when we prepared for the presentation we did every Monday (along with a Monday chapter test). I think I probably loved the sensei who taught us dialects the most, even though there were days where I avoided him completely. He had seemingly a ton of patience, and was often absolutely hilarious, but he didn't let us make many mistakes without commenting on them either. I think that was part of the reason why I liked him – I knew I wasn't going to be let off the hook but I also knew that he could smile and laugh and be goofy too, so it made me unafraid to try even when I was getting it terribly wrong.

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But looking back on it now, if these were the worst and the hardest things to struggle with? Could have been far far worse. And the feeling inferior and unintelligent? Probably really good for me to get over that hump and get to the point where I was willing to * try * and hold a conversation instead of too embarrassed to say anything.

Next up, photo post, with happy memories, promise!