Armed with the lethal weapon of English

Monday, February 5, 2007

Recently in one of my classes at Odochi, I've started to realize that one of my favorite teachers doesn't really do well in the discipline area. So I've become a little bolder in the classroom and I've taken it upon myself to actually get up the gumption to tell the students to sit down and write their vocabulary out because if they don't, they won't be able to study for the interview test I'm going to give them next week.

However, there is one student in particular who seems to think that English is the complete bane of his existence and it personally insults him when I try to teach it to him. I've never seen a student try so hard not to learn.

At the same time, I'm getting a decent response from the students and I'm also surprising myself in a good way. Today, for example, I told the students to take out their worksheets from last week. The worksheet was to be about a three day assignment where they slowly filled in the blanks as I taught it to them and then they would practice on their own. We would take it nice and slow. The stuff they're doing now would take any of my Tosayamada students about 30 minutes to do. I'm not saying that my Odochi students are stupid, it's just that their English ability is lower than that of the Tosayamada students. At the same time though, I always say that effort is important and goes a lot in my book but....well when I see these students give me any effort it's to avoid English at all costs. That's not exactly what I was looking for.

So anyway, I told the students to get out their worksheets. Last week when we had filled in a little more than half of it in one class, it was like pulling teeth and I knew that the students weren't used to trying this hard to listen to English or write down just about anything so I could understand that they were caught off guard but I figured it was something they definitely needed. Unfortunately, today more than half the students didn't have their papers. Of 7 students, two remembered it, two had been absent so had never gotten it, and three had lost it.

SO, I decided to take the two girls that had their worksheets and they stood up in the front of the class and helped me teach the lesson all over again. I was hoping it would teach them a lesson about saving their worksheets (and not throwing it away like I think at least one of the students did) but I don't think it taught them anything. It wasn't so difficult this time around but at the same time, two of the three students that didn't have their worksheet didn't fill in the new one either. Eh, we'll see how well they do on the exam. I doubt it'll keep them from moving up a grade and it probably won't teach them to study either. They've been doing this for 10 years now. They should know how it works!

But that's not even fair for me to say. I remember I wasn't exactly the best student either and if I knew I could breeze through a class then I would. But I never made such an effort to refuse what the teacher asked me! Especially if I didn't even need to do anything for homework!

I'm going to give the two girls who helped me something nice on Wednesday. They're good people ;)

Also, after this month I won't be teaching them anymore so I should enjoy what little of it I can while it still lasts. I hear the next bunch are going to be worse, at least in English ability. (though rumor has it they're worse in attitude too and I don't know if I can handle that) Oh, I don't know if I mentioned it but Odochi will be closing eventually. Not in my lifetime, but not too long after it. This is the last year that they will be taking new students. After that, they will slowly graduate every student until there aren't any left and then they're closing it down. Odochi isn't the only school either. I don't blame them. The school only has 58 students!

Also, I asked a teacher at Odochi what she thought of my pen pal fiasco. She told me that it was normal for people to open mail at school. If it's personal, why have it sent to school anyway?! Regardless, my name wasn't even on it in the first place! So I'm not mad about that. She then told me that she had no idea about my neighbor and her thieving ways. She said that if we were good friends then it would have been ok but it's not exactly a normal thing to do with the Japanese culture. This is entirely on a single personality level. I think if my neighbor were American, I'd like her even less because I'd be able to see everything that I don't like and not just the stuff that gets translated.

Lastly, I was talking to Kae last night and she said something really cool. I told her that some of my friends wanted to check out the Anpanman museum and she wanted to know why since it was for children. I told her that it was Japanese culture and it was also super weird!!! She laughed and then we got into a conversation about weird Japanese things. I told her that there was a myth about used panties in a vending machine. She couldn't believe it but Ikuo chimed in and said that supposedly it's true though not in the Kochi area. Thought that was hilarious.

So then I started trying to think about all the weird things about American culture but I couldn't come up with anything that rivaled the panties or the head feeding super hero. In all honesty, I know America has some really weird things in it but to me, it's just the norm so I couldn't come up with anything.

Kae then said that she was sure that America had weird things just like Japan but they both even themselves out. Both cultures have really cool and really weird things about it.

That might not sound very profound, but most Japanese people won't admit openly that they think something about their culture is weird or even bad, especially not to a gaijin which I can respect...kinda. Most of them will admit that some things are better than others and they won't hesitate to say how their culture is better than someone else's but for Kae to admit that there were some bad things just like every other culture in the world was very big of her. I love her (^-^)

4 shared their love:

jessica said...

Note: You should never give students power over a paper that has mulitiple class sessions on it...Why?? You never see it again... A journal might be more useful in the future, larger, harder to get rid of, and it can fit more than a few days lessons ;)

jessica said...

love the new layout too btw...

Kathy said...

I love the new layout!! So cute! I'm still lovin' reading about your adventures in Japan too! Good luck with those students! I hope next year, I'll be teaching in Japan too....my JET interview is coming up! =O

Nina said...

Yeah I know, my bad for trusting those kids. For all I beat up on them, you'd think I'd have seen that coming? Just goes to show I trust these kids as people not as students like I should.

Glad you guys like the new layout! I've been wanting a change but nothing sparked my fancy. I stole this of course. I'm not talented enough to make my own but I have inspiration! Just no talent....

 
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