Thursday, September 20, 2007

Patrick- "Road Race"

So today I had written on my schedule for the afternoon "road race." Not being thoughtful, I decided to bring my video camera and tripod to school to tape this vehicle-based competition.

But of course, it's a junior high school, and there are no vehicles. Instead, "road race" means "run down the street and back" for 3 km if you're a girl and 4 km if you're a boy. So instead of taping I ended up running with the students.

It was actually a race, too. All students (of the same sex) started at the same time and then were all timed and ranked upon their return, from 1 to very last in the school. So on the recommendation of one of my English teachers, I ran with the girls, because he was concerned some of the boys who weren't such good runners would kill themselves trying to keep up with me, and also he didn't think I could make it with the boys anyway.

Well, having run around the track with fourth graders the week before, I forgot how much faster kids get when they're in junior high (also junior high goes up to the ninth grade, which adds to the pain if you're trying to keep up with them). So I ran down the not-quite-so-flooded river with the girls and finished after about a quarter of them. But, as it turns out many of the first year/seventh grade girls had the same "problem" as the boys and worked a bit harder than maybe they should have to beat me.

When I returned to the school, all was good, but there was no water anywhere for any of the students. I said, "Hey, where's the water?" and they said, "Oh, we don't have any. Maybe we should have some." But at least we had a good breeze.

Anyway, I was still feeling ok, and I have to admit it was a little awkward running with the girls but not the boys. So, when the boys were about to start I ran with them too (at the time, I thought they were going the same 3km, not 4km, so that last kilometer was a bad surprise and I had to walk part of that off). But, I finished with the last quarter of them, and I got in a good exercise on this very hot day.

So, instead of getting to sit around and tape something interesting I ran 7km in pants with a button-up shirt. I realize now I should've asked the day before, and then I could have had the wonderful relief of being able to use the appropriate clothes, but I'm glad I got to do it. Because we have a rule that I only use English with my students, it's hard to have a relationship with the ones that really hate English, which is maybe about 1/3 of each class. So every day like today I think is a great chance to meet them on more level ground.

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