Sunday, September 12, 2010

bfg on simply the best

Before I say anything else, I do an awesome Tina Turner "Simply The Best" a la karaoke.

My Lady Gaga is a close second though.

Simply the Best Worst Teaching Moment this Week


HR 11

Lesson 2 is on Canada!

I will be posting this in detail actually but in short I showed them the commercial "I am Canadian!" and went over the lyrics with them.

Talk done - now it is time for an activity! Okay.

Girl in third row has had her face covered by a towel the entire time. I really don't mind the people who sleep in my class since I would rather be doing the exact same thing but covering your face with a towel? Come on!

Smile on, I am determined to get that girl to do at least five minutes of work in my class. Tapping her shoulder lightly I sit down next to her and take the work sheet. "Lets do this together."


Okay so let us pause for a moment here. When I am in a cafe, people stare probably because of a combination that I am loud, English and oh-so-white. No problem - usually I wave at the starers and many have fast become my friend. I love Japan!

Most people in cafes are rather quiet. But every now and again the sound, whether it be from an old woman or young gal, comes out loud and clear, "EEEEhhhhEEEHhhEHEHHE!?!?!" A sound which means nothing precisely but is understood as something along the lines of "Your-fucking-with-me-no-way-I-can't-believe-it-this-is-amazing-I-need-a-sandwich!"

So when my student said this, I didn't want to slap her or punch her but bury my shoe in my face. "Yes, EEEEhhhhhEEEHHEHEHHE!??! You can do this. Just try. Come on! We can do it together." Patience is a virtue... remember Vanessa!?

Nothing. No response. She covers her face with the towel again.

"Knock, knock." I laugh. She puts the towel down and looks at me with squinting eyes and a frown.

"Come on! 'An igloo is a _______ made out of ice?' Is it a car? Or a house!?" My voice clearly indicated which was the right answer.

Again, the sound. "EEEEhhhhEEEHHEHEHEHHE??!!"

Sweet Jesus! "Okay. How about starting with something about you~! Do you like manga!?"


I was going to kill her. I smiled instead and showed off my teeth. Both rows in fact. I caved, "Manga ga sukidesu ka?" I never, ever say it in Japanese. But this time, I needed to take one step back for one step forward.

Or so I thought.

Her frown deepens. "Manga!? Manga wa nan desu ka?"

I looked at her. Said I was sorry for my Japanese. I repeated myself. Slowly, making sure I pronounced well...

"nani~!?" she says.

Imagine an English person saying they don't know the word ... oh I don't know- ENGLISH! Well, this girl was asking me what manga was. I knew she was pressing my buttons. Fuck, I was ready to press some of hers. I stood up and took her dictionary.

"Here." I wrote manga in both hiragana and in roman letters. "Look it up."

Her neighbours were shocked repeating to her "Manga! Ma-n-ga." They were surprised as I was. I just walked away. I had others to tend to in my class of 35.


Simply the Best of the Best Teaching Moments


HR 11

Lesson 2 is on Canada!

I will be posting this actually but I showed them the commercial "I am Canadian!" and went over the lyrics with them. 

To the left of me is this boy, very tall and slim. He has a wide face and is rather tanned. Right now he is probably not so popular but being older and wiser (and just a Guru when it comes to men and looks ;) it is obvious that once he fills out he will be a looker in a suit. 

The entire time I spoke, every time I introduced a new word, he said it quietly to himself practicing pronunciation. During the lesson, he got right to work, ignoring his rowdy partner. He even looked things up in the dictionary. I was amazed and I felt so guilty. The entire time I tried to make my way to him but there was someone talking here or a face towelled Manga-Unknower over there.

At the end of class I asked him to wait a moment. He was so concerned.

"I wanted to tell you," I spoke very, very slowly, "That you are a wonderful student! And that if you continue putting in this kind of effort and good work, you could be fluent."

He was shocked. HIs eyes went wide (for a Japanese person). "Oh... Thank you." It was said very low.

He turned to go. Turns back. "Thank you!"

Walks to the door than turns again. "Thank you very much."

Fuck, man I did tear up because I was so happy. Here is someone who just needed a little encouragement to feel good about himself. Sucks that it had to be from me, but there you have it folks. I know I made his day. He sure as fuck made my weekend!

I gave him a bonus hanko and above it I wrote, "Hard-working spirit!"

bfg goes to watch True Blood... expect a post on why this is the greatest show ever

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