This was taken just before we were about to walk up the Brooklyn Bridge. H E L L O Brooklyn!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

I'm an English Teacher

Hey Friends,

Been a while since I’ve uploading things online and that’s because I’ve stopped treating the Japan experience as a holiday and decided just to live it. I’ve quickly adapted myself to the new lifestyle and it only hit me yesterday that I was a teacher. Although my professional role is an assistant English teacher, I feel more towards the teacher’s role. Having to plan lessons, prepare materials, coordinate the lesson with some assistance from the home room teacher gives me that extra dominance and edge. Plus, I’m really enjoying it.

Things are already speeding up and I sense that the job will get even more interesting. I’ve finally been to all three schools and I’ve measured them pretty well. I know which schools have a closer relationship with me, which schools are keen on implementing the English program (i.e. Me,) into their schedule, and which schools have the naughtier kids. However, naughty or not, Japanese kids are in no way a nuisance compared to kids back home. For one thing, Japanese primary schools are lenient in that the teachers won’t scold them. For example, if a kid misbehaves by shouting in the room, tries to distract other kids, or pays little attention to the teacher, the teacher will just call out their name and give them a one liner such as, ‘be quiet!,’ or ‘stop doing that!’ and immediately resume the lesson where the naughty kid, usually, continues to create more distraction.

I know that I shouldn’t be saying such positive things or having such high expectations of my schools right now, since I’ve only been teaching for a month now, but I have to admit that I’m really enjoying my job. Despite how tiring it is, it’s actually fun! I can wake up in the morning feeling typically annoyed that I have to get out of bed at 7am to arrive at work at 8.30 but by the time I arrive, I’m in the midst of cuddly children who are excited to see me and that makes my day. Some of them run up to me in the hallway just to say ‘Hello!’ or to ask me stupid questions in Japanese. The girls are very touchy. They like to hold my hand or generally touch me all over, which is cute. I’ve been called ‘Baby!’ by three 9 year old girls before, which got me perplexed, but I think it’s because of my ‘cute’ face. Yet, despite how nice it is to be liked by students, I worry that the kids may find it harder to take me seriously, yet it’s not like they are a problem to teach. It’s the typical scenario whereby they are either too shy to speak in another language or find it difficult to say specific words for example, ‘where?’ I’ve realised now that the Japanese tongue is a relaxed tongue compared to the British tongue that resides in the Southern parts of England. With so much emphasising we make, we totally take for granted how much work our facial muscles are doing, particularly our mouth muscles. Yet, there is a minor scenario that comes up here and there, but there is only a 1 in 10 chance it happens. I’ve had kids shake their head when I’ve tried to speak to them in English, yet I persist until they eventually give in. However, this 1 in 10 case is usually when a kid looks at me with a blank face and says ‘wakanai,’ which means ‘I don’t understand’ and decides not to participate. I’ve had one 11 year old who not only said that but walked out of the room straight after. I was peeved because I felt that since he didn’t want to get involved in what I had planned, he was not only making a judgment about learning English, but also making a judgement about me - not worth paying attention to, therefore, he probably had no respect for me : ( Although, that was a one off in the 30 days that I’ve been teaching so I’m not letting it get to me.

So there's my teaching account out of the way. I thought that with my limited experience with kids I'd be lost, but children are children. They are curious and at the same time fun, fun, fun!

1 comment:

Chi said...

Love the photos of you in "teacher mode"! very professional-looking ;-) Glad to hear the kids over there are better behaved. My parents are always complaining about how badly behaved the kids are in their class...

I've moved to NY

I've moved to NY
I have certainly moved to New York City