我慢

10 Oct

Unfortunately, I feel just as gross and disgusting today as I did yesterday, so if this post is of poor quality, I apologize in advance.  Actually, this post is mostly going to be a complaint, so if you want to skip it, please go right ahead, but in an attempt to document the major things that make my life either a better or a worse place, I’m going to go ahead with it.

Two Wednesdays ago, a man showed up unexpectedly at one of my elementary schools and said that he would be teaching English class for the next month.  Naturally, this was a little alarming to me, since usually I teach English class, and I didn’t understand what was going on.  The man claimed to be a student learning to teach Elementary school, and then proceeded to tell me that since I was the assistant and he was the teacher, for the next few classes, I would be basically doing nothing and he would be teaching the whole class mainly in Japanese.  Needless to say, I was rather floored by this announcement from someone who had never taught at this school before, or to my knowledge, ever, especially when despite the fact that it’s not supposed to be my job, I plan and mainly teach all my lessons on my own in elementary school.  Plus, teaching the lessons completely in Japanese defeats the purpose of trying to expose children in elementary schools to English and give them the impression that it’s fun and useful (children aren’t really supposed to be learning grammar or much content in elementary schools, only gaining a general knowledge of English through exposure to an English speaking ALT, games, and activities in the textbooks).  He also mentioned that he felt the point of the lesson was to learn about world countries… when in fact, it’s to learn about English.  Because you know, it’s English class, not social studies.  The chapter of the textbook about liking apples was not to teach the children about apples.

So… naturally, I shared some of my opinions with him in the politest way I knew how, but when I realized that no matter what I said, he was going to completely disregard it and be rude and patronizing to me no matter what, I decided it wasn’t worth it to argue and just shut up and nodded along.  Instead, I spoke with someone who works for the Board of Education about how I was concerned about some of the things the guy said– that he wanted to teach all in Japanese, that he didn’t want to use the (government mandated) textbook, that he didn’t think learning English was the main goal of English class.  The person I spoke with spoke with a higher-up, and it came back to me that this guy was not a student teacher at all… but someone doing research from a research institute?  Turns out he works for the Gunma Prefectural Board of Education (I work for the Kiryu City Board of Education, so I’m not sure what the hierarchy is there), and basically, I was told that I have to stick it out for a month and then he’ll be out of my hair.

“Sticking it out”/”Enduring it” or gaman in Japanese is a common concept in Japanese culture, meaning that the best thing to do in a bad situation is to endure it and simply wait out the storm.  I was determined to do my best, but last Wednesday, the guy’s class was basically torture.  True to his word, almost all of it was in Japanese, and when he did reference me… He called me completely the wrong name.  You can’t even remember my name, sir? That’s how little you respect me?!  It was basically awful, and I’m really not looking forward to having to endure for the rest of today and the next two weeks, as well.  To ice the cake, he’s taking away from me the chance to do any Halloween lesson whatsoever with the sixth years.

But at the end of the class, I got a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel: a girl in the class raised her hand and wanted me to come over to help her.  She said that she couldn’t understand the handout that the teacher had given and didn’t know what she was supposed to write.  When I was confused, she explained: she doesn’t speak or read any Japanese.  She recently moved to Kiryu from the Philippines and speaks only English and Tagalog.  I felt incredibly bad for her, and I hope that as time goes on I can at least help her and make one class enjoyable for her.  With that in mind… maybe I can gaman through the other guy’s next three classes.

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2 Responses to “我慢”

  1. suzuki October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    どんな目的で、そのような授業をするんでしょうね。もしかして自分の研究のためかもしれませんね。学生がかわいそうな気がします・・・

    風邪が早くよくなるといいですね。

    • jetsetjoshu October 24, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      コメント、ありがとうございました!

      そうですね。私は彼の目的があまり分からないけど、今日は最後何だから、嬉しいです。(笑)来週はハロウィーンのテマで楽しい授業をするつもりです!

      ありがとう!先週末、風邪がやっとよくなりました。

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