the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why am I here again? What am I doing?

When I was a same child I made one defining choice about my future: I would NEVER be a teacher. Ironic isn't? I decided I would never be a teacher because I saw how hard my father worked everyday with absolutely no compensation. Underpaid, and over worked with a growing list of government requirements. That was the joke about education majors in college, right?: "The most underpaid and unappreciated people in America."

What's ironic is that I came to Japan thinking that school would be free of that, and of course it's not. But I've got to admit that working with kids is great - although it does have it's bad days. And the pay isn't so bad when you're single. ...I don't know how anybody with a full-time job has the time or money to raise a family.

Which brings us to point #2. Although I'm still not a great teacher (and probably never will be) I find myself wanting to do things like:

  1. build a library of magazine pictures for props
  2. read up on teaching pronunciation
  3. making a library of cards with pictures and vocab stressing beginning middle and ending syllable pronunciation
  4. read up on practical teaching methods and applications
  5. get an ESL certificate

...from the beginning I've been feeling I don't have enough training to be in this for the long haul. Is it true you can get an ESL masters after only one (very hard) year if you have a BA? Wanting to better yourself is almost as good as being the best, right?

I don't really have too many strong likes or dislikes, so I generally look at my previous experience to tell me what to do next. But I found I do like teaching (but not school budgets and politics) and speaking a second language. After this job is over, I'll be ok at speaking Japanese, and have two years of EFL teaching under my belt. So it looks like I should get some more training and teach in Japan again.

But, I can't get too serious about having this particular job become a career. It's only temporary. Most English jobs in Japan are temporary, even some college professors are only on a one year contract. They could easily be kicked out of the country anytime. And even if I did, there's no way I could become a citizen in Japan - without marrying a Japanese woman. And even then, we'd have to pay extra taxes on our mixed children. Whoa, that's too much thinking.

But then again, one of my good friends just told me, "NB, everyone is serious about their relationships at our age." But what if I'm not? I'm working a temporary job and living in a country where I could never become a citizen. How can I be serious?

So yeah, it looks like finding a job at the front desk of a hotel in Guam or Hawaii is still the best idea. :)

Maybe I could just go somewhere and start all over with a third language. I hear people in Malaysia speak Mandarin, Hindi, and English. That'd be cool.

Thanks for reading my blather.

Random Comment

I just wrote a fairly long comment on IR from SF, SD's blog. It just
came kind of suddenly. Mostly both posts are about communication.

See here:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Smoking in the Boys Room

A few weeks ago the student disciplinary department found cigarette
butts under the window of the freshmen boy's bathroom. All the boy's
bathrooms are above each other (on the first, second and third floors),
so we don't know which bathroom they came from.

So, this week all the first year teachers are periodically checking the
boy's bathrooms. After that we check the nurse's office, because that's
a great excuse to skip class and take a detour to the bathroom.

Today was the first time I got to check the bathrooms. It was rather
uneventful. But when I checked the nurse's office, a first year boy was
in there faking sick. Since I'm a male too, she asked me to help get him
off the bed and take him to class.

The whole time I was walking him to class he said, "Ok.. Bye. Bye.
Sensei". He tried to stop at the bathroom, and lockers that weren't his
on the way back to class. The nurse said he always comes in and fakes
sick. I wouldn't be surprised if he's the culprit. He always sleeps in
my class. What a piece of work.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The School Festival

This Friday and Saturday was the school festival. Friday was a performance day at the Civic Center. Saturday was a carnival type event at the school.

Here's me at the 1B exhibit. They made giant statues of cartoon characters with balloons. This is Anpanman. I was a little sad, one of my best students from 1B was manning the stand, but she wouldn't take a picture with me.

This is 3F. They did a dance to Alice and Wonderland. It was really well coordinated.

More dancing.

I've never taught these boys - they're basic track third year students - but they always talk to me. They were practicing in the parking lot on Thursday night.

Here are my second year junior high students.

And my second year elective students. Here they are trying to get people to come to the third floor and buy their floats. Root beer floats aren't cool in Japan, but they do have Cola floats, iced coffee floats, melon floats, etc. These guys are great, I just wish they spoke up a little more.

All in all the school festival was a lot of fun.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Typhoon News

Here's the typhoon that's coming:

But, as you can see. It won't even be a category one storm by the time
it reaches us. ii desu ne?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

In the News

This is near where I live! I've been there!