Saw this video and it took me right back to my ALT days. If you’re not an ALT and want to know what Japanese students are like, well, this is will give you a pretty good idea.
One thing that’s frustrating about being a new ALT is no one seems to tell you what you’re going to be doing once you reach Japan. I used to think this was a JET thing, but talking to ALTs in other companies, it seems to be and anywhere thing. It is ESID and all that, but at the very least it’s good to see what other ALTs are doing. So as a service to you new JETs and other ALTs, here is a day in the life (specifically April 25) of me, a typical junior high school ALT. Continue reading
I feel incredibly fortunate to have the JTEs I have, they are all nice and I get along with everyone. That said, there is one teacher I somewhat dread teaching with who I shall refer to as Clueless-sensei. He’s a very nice guy, but I’m almost positive he never intended to be an English teacher. The theory I work with is he applied to teach some other subject, and the school said, “Well, we don’t need anyone in that department, but can you teach English?” Most of the time, he seems to be about a lesson ahead of the kids in his English ability, and this year he’s teaching 9th graders. He can also kind of flaky and often forgets to make the handouts he needs, in addition to forgetting he has class with me and leaving me in the teacher’s room least half a dozen times now.
At best, his classes are an exercise in patience. But yesterday, he had an activity that provided me with enough entertainment that I didn’t look at the clock every 3 minutes and wonder when it was going to end.
The 9th graders are learning passive voice (“The chair was made by Jim” instead of “Jim made the chair”) and the activity was to make a silly sentence. The first student in the row would write a person or thing on a piece of paper, fold over the top, and hand it to the 2nd student who wrote a passive-verb and folded it, then the 3rd student wrote the agent (by so-and-so), 4th student wrote the location, 5th wrote when it happened, and bam, ridiculous sentence. One of the phrases in the “Location” word box was “in bed” so I knew I was in for a treat.
Here’s what we ended up with:
A bird was eaten by monkeys at home after school.
Son Goku was made by Mr. Hayakawa at school last Friday.
Okay, nothing too exciting yet, but wait!
Takahiro was lost by the police on the sun last week.
Mr. Ito was made by the girls on the moon 10 years ago.
The kids are really interested in the cosmos.
Now, it finally goes to the gutter:
Clueless-sensei was bought by the girls in bed last year.
Mr. Terata was loved by space out people in bed yesterday.
I initially thought they meant “spaced out people” in which case, I was quite impressed the student knew that phrase. But it turned out he meant “alien”. It’s always only a matter of time until someone gets probed.
Our teacher was taken by Megumi at home yesterday.
This ended up making me break down and giggle like a Japanese school girl. Clueless-sensei didn’t understand the connotation of “being taken” and was a bit confused as to why I was laughing. Sometimes I’m grateful for his limited English ability.
Last time, I covered the first unspoken rule of paper in Japan (never throw any piece of paper you get in Japan away). This second rule is also unspoken and is possibly more important that the first
2. If it’s an ALTs word against a piece of paper, paper trumps ALT, always.
It really doesn’t matter how unofficial the piece of paper is. It could be something drunkenly scrawled on a napkin, but if the ALT says something that contradicts what’s written on a piece of paper, by God, that piece of paper will win. This isn’t a hard tested theory yet, but I am constantly collecting proof that ALT < piece of paper.