Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Totally Different Teaching Situations

I really do think I hate ICPNA. To say they charge the students an arm and a leg and spend a packet on advertising, it is shocking how unprofessional and disorganised the company really is. Recently, I've felt like they are really taking the piss - what with classes taught for free, cancellations, upping the minimum class sizes, and naturally no pay or credit for preparation time, etc. It's a business, plain and simple, and the aim is to make money, of course. I think back on my time in Japan working for state schools... Sure, it was great to get paid rather well for whole days spent studying Japanese, planning my next holiday to Thailand and writing letters, in some ways. Yet, there were always so many random extra obligations, great expectations, formality and pressure to perform. Also, as a 'one-shot' teacher I constantly felt sad about never being able to lose my celeb status and make some real progress with the kids. At least here I can just do my job: go in, teach, leave. I can just be myself. I get attention for being a foreigner, but I'm not expected to act like a superstar. Seriously Reduced B.S. Re-reading this entry I made in 2002 makes me realise how totally different my situation is in Peru from what it was in Japan!

Tales from Fukiage Junior High School...
The speech contest is finally over, and I now have some spare time to write my journal... Yippee! No more coaxing reluctant spotty youths to enunciate and gesticulate! I was really quite busy around speech contest time because I was coaching 6 kids from 2 different Junior High Schools. They were so cute, but unfortunately only 1 of them won a prize (ahem, no reflection on the coach whatsoever I'll have you know). Well, it's 'good experience', isn't it? I told the kids that winning isn't important, but they still feel terrible when they don't win anything - and after all that bloody practising in front of the mirror with a hairbrush they must do it's not surprising. Today I got the following letter from the most lovely 2nd grader (about 13 years old):

Dear VanessaHello Vanessa. My name is Eri. Thank you for English speech. It's diffecult to me. But you teach me so kind. Thank you very much. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Thank you.

She thrust it in my palm after English class saying "I'm sorry, Banessa-sensai, I'm sorry!" with true heartful sincerity. I felt like a total slave driver and tears welled up in our eyes... man, I sometimes I just want to eat those kids up. I've been exchanging a shedload of letters with Junior High School students recently, it's my pet project to try to communicate with the kids more. They are shy at that age (12-15) and my superstar image doesn't enhance relations beyond shouting 'I am Japanese boy!' at me in the bikeshed. I told them if they write to me in English or Japanese I will answer their letter in English and give them a 'purikura' (a small photograph sticker) of me. I got about 50 letters in 7 days during my last visit to JHS, it kept me busy answering them. Most of the letters are about volleyball, Harry Potter, or David Beckham but others are surprisingly difficult to reply to...

Dear Vanessa,Hi Vanessa! How are you? I'm fine!! I like English. How about you? I hope that you like English. Do you like Japanese history? I'm not like Japanese history. Because Japan is killed Korean people the old days. How about you?

No, Fumio, I have never killed a Korean person (to my knowledge).

Dear Vanessa,Hello. My name Yuko . How are you? I'm fine. You are sexy body. I want you are sexy body. You are cute and pretty. I love you forever. See you.

Thank you, Yuko, here's a sticker.

You are a bitter woman. Stop bitching about our country and get the hell out of here. We do not need people like you, let alone your bitterness.
Responding to the first comment. I truly believe that vanessa is a nice Lady she's only explaining the situation she feels. When I read the comment what I immediately thought was. This has to be written by someone who wants to cover the sun with one finger. The term bitter woman is not appliable in this situation, more over there's nothing in her statements that deserve it.
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