the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My First Christmas Cake and the Shy Student

First a note: the last few weeks have been crappy, and I don't know why.
I just felt tired and sad for no reason. But I spent the better part of
last week trying to figure out why I was sad and lonely, and I couldn't
come up with any reason. Things here are going just as well as ever. If
anything I'm just a little better in touch with the reality of school here.

But Monday went much better.

The Christmas Cake

In Japan "Christmas Cake" refers to a loosely defined set of seasonal
cakes people buy for each other at Christmas. My elective classes are
having a party and Christmas cake this week, so I went out to buy some.

I asked one of my classes where I should buy Christmas cake, and as it
turns out, one of my students works at a cake shop not far from school.
So tonight I went there to buy a Christmas cake.

When she got out the selection of Christmas cakes, they were really
expensive - but amazingly delicious. And I almost bought a couple real
Christmas cakes until I realized that two would cost me almost 8000 yen
(about $80). And my student had a look on her face like this would be
embarrassing to have at school, and my wallet was hurting.

So we switched and bought a few cheap - let large and delicious - roll
cakes that are not "Christmas cakes". But they are cakes bought to be
consumed at Christmas time.

The Shy Student

While I was there I had a decent conversation with my student. She's
really shy in class and I have to ask a few questions to get a good
sentence out of her, but she can do it. But while I was at the cake shop
I realized she can speak well. It just takes her about 15 minutes to get
over being shy, and even then, the conversation is still slow and she
speaks quietly.

But this is the deal, my student can hold a conversation well. She's
just slow, and quiet. So basically she's getting a bad grade in my class
because she is shy and quiet. And realistically, I don't have time in my
45 minute class to wait 15 minutes for her to wake up. So she can do
everything I want her to do in class, but she can't do it well in my class.


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