Fat Out of Fire


Today was the last day of our Kids’ Seminar, called “Let’s Enjoy English”. I made a huge mistake this year. We divided the seminar into six sections a couple of months ago. I agreed to create the lesson for the sixth portion. This may not seem like a mistake at first, but it was designated as a review of the other five sessions. Just one of the other session leaders was able to give me a list of their vocabulary or their grammar/target sentences more than a week in advance. Two lessons also got modified on the day of their presentation.

Realizing that my original plan of creating a childrens’ story book was impractical, I stayed up all night working on creating a childrens’ story which could be acted out with props. I got a few compliments on putting together a story which was entertaining and covered all the material from the three-day seminar; however, I also had to put effort into ignoring a teacher who was making snide comments about kids falling asleep. I am constantly amazed at how we are hiring such immature staff from America. On the bright side, there is no risk of Japan feeling inferior when they observe our “bright college graduates.”

The boss was happy, so regardless of other headaches, I’ll call the seminar a success.

* I got some accuracy complaints from one teacher, so the first paragraph has been edited.


10 Responses to “Fat Out of Fire”

  1. Stefanie Says:

    Good job in managing to pull it all together. I think I would have been pretty angry at the other teachers.

  2. びっくり Says:

    I definitely wasn’t happy about the unsupportive commentary. Also, the fact that most of the mothers who were present can speak English well, some of them are English teachers, so there is no telling if they understood. Granted it was sarcastic commentary, so it would be hard to catch the true meaning; although a mistaken meaning could be bad as well.

    When riding the train with some of the teachers, I sometimes catch them making very disparaging comments about Japanese people. I try to remind them that every adult on the train has studied English for six years. If one wants to be horribly rude, they should at least have the brains to do it in private. My assessment is that the desire to be rude and the doing it in front of others, both come from a lack of awareness of their surroundings.

    I am disappointed in a lot of the behavior I’ve experienced lately, mostly because it constantly puts me in a difficult spot of whether to choose immature English interaction or no English interaction: a painful choice at best.

  3. kevenker Says:

    It’s strange that they’d spend time learning a foreign language, go to said foreign country to work there and then spend time disparaging the locals.

    Why are you there, again? Or did you realize you’ve made a horrible mistake and want to take it out by insulting people who may or may not understand you?

    Very strange indeed…

  4. びっくり Says:

    At first I thought you were asking me why I’m here. 🙂 So, if you look at the post you’ll see I edited it to (attempt) to appease a teacher who complained about a technicality. However, based on the number of hits over the last couple of days, I’m guessing she also told all the other teachers to read it. Nice having someone to stir the pot even more. Nobody else has complained so I guess my content is accurate enough now. 😉

  5. James Says:

    If it’s wrong for your friends to insult people in public on a train, isn’t it also wrong for you to insult them in a public blog? Matthew 7:1

  6. びっくり Says:

    James, interesting point you make. I am constantly torn about what to write. I started the blog to tell friends and family about what I encounter in Japan, so I want to be thorough; however, I don’t want the blog to be one of those “Hey, isn’t Japan odd!” blogs, so I occasionally remind myself to focus on the great stuff. Also, if you read my posts over the years you might notice a shift in what I post.

    I’m not sure that I was insulting the problem makers, merely mentioning what happened. To state fact is different from insulting someone. My original post was written in anger and contained some very rash statements. I got some stiff response from two of the teachers and immediately edited the post to their satisfaction. (In retrospect however, I could easily have written about something less negative that day and provided more value for my readers.)

    Matthew 7:1 is an oft quoted verse from the Bible and perhaps more often by non-Christians than Christians. The next point Christ mentioned in that sermon was not to cast pearls before swine, so clearly some form of evaluating others is acceptable. We need to consider what was meant by judgment.

    Thanks again for posting. It serves as a good reminder for me to focus more on the positive.

  7. James Says:

    I have read some of your other posts. I daresay I’ve enjoyed the earlier posts more than the posts of the past year. Your earlier posts had a lot of feeling in them; your more recent posts seem depressed. Perhaps depressed is not the correct word; rather they seem devoid of emotion. Of course, one wonders if the lack of emotion isn’t related to depression. But I digress…

    I was simply pointing out the irony of you insulting the other teachers on your blog while chastising them for not having the brains to not make disparaging comments in public. Of course, as you pointed out, some judgement cannot be avoided.

  8. びっくり Says:

    James – Interesting observations. Many depressing or emotionally trying things have happened more recently. Also, sometimes I hold back from posting the truly passionate things because they would be upsetting to people who I know are reading. Perhaps I need to re-read my older posts. (Also, I have been planning to recover the posts from my original blog and post them here. I wonder how they’ll compare.)

    On the irony point, I guess I missed it because I didn’t think I was insulting the other teachers: merely pointed out what occurred. And I called their attention to it at the time and later, so it wasn’t like I thought I was being sneaky by posting it here.

  9. madkat Says:

    I think it’s a shame to see you alter your perceptions, recollections, personalities, etc. due to the desires (perceived or factual) of others. Is it really an accurate account of your life in Japan if you are forced to omit or alter the truth? It is your blog, after all; and no one is forcing anyone to read it.

    Will type more later…must go to bed now…

  10. びっくり Says:

    Well Kat, if I never re-evaluated based on the opinions of others, I think I would be a megalomaniac.

    It has been difficult not posting certain things though. There are things I would rather not have co-workers reading, for example; but, I would love to share them with family and friends. I had considered giving account access to special people and making some posts for them; however, most of my family members have enough trouble finding my blog as it is. I think passwords and creating accounts would trip them up.

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