Saturday, May 07, 2005

Guest Blogging

This feels like someone has handed over the keys to their apartment and expects me to make sure the plants and goldfish are still living when they return. I mean, it's a responsibility right? And I should probably find something witty or intelligent to say to uphold the quality of this blog and bla bla bla.


Anyone who trusts me to keep their plants and goldfish alive is just asking for a load of waffle.

So, let's waffle about teaching. Mr T is a 'real' teacher. I teach in Tokyo in a language school. Well, a 'conversation' school really. By 'teach' the job is more about entertaining. Whether I'm faced with a 2.5 year old kid (yes, Japanese parents do send their teeny tiny's to face big white foreigners) or a bored housewife I am expected to entertain. I'm also expected to know about the Japanese economy, J-Pop and pretty much everything else. I have to think on my feet. My ability to mime what I mean and my drawings - well, 6 year olds no longer laugh at how bad they are - are coming on brilliantly. Although to draw someone drowning someone else and have cries of 'cute, cute' ("kawai-iiiii, kawai-iiiiiii") shouted out are somewhat worrying. I have classes of between 1 and 5 students and some lessons can be painful.

Japanese know everything there is to know about grammar - except how to use it. They can tell you which tense is which and recite useless waffle they've learned in school - but most of them cannot use it. They can't put a proper sentence together, and ask your average Japanese student to imagine something - phew.... NO CHANCE. As one student put it once, " I cannot imagination."

The students are a mix between those forced to come and those who really want to be there. For some it's a passion, for others a hobby, and for yet others a necessity. Then you get some who the time they spend with you each week is the only time they get to themselves....

So, in short, I have great respect for 'real' teachers, in 'real' schools, with 'real' students.