Thursday, March 13, 2008

Where was I and how did I get here?

Do you ever find yourself, surfing the Internet...cruising through the sites and all of a find yourself on a site that has you wondering, "How did I get here?"
Or...on YouTube...same kind of idea...go looking for a video of your favorite TV show and before you know it, they're asking you to "verify your birth date".

As an English Language Consultant English conversation teacher, I have found myself in a variety of situations and wondered just the same, "How did I get here?"

If you don't mind, I'd like to share two of those situations with you...and then you can have a better idea as to what my life is like, pretty much on a daily basis.

#1) On Wednesday, I have one of my most favorite classes. It is a group that started as a class at a community center and after the scheduled classes were finished, they decided to continue as their own class....that was 4 years ago. Of the original students, I think that there are, maybe, 15 still in the class. They will tell you that they don't think they have improved, but I can guarantee that their listening skills, vocabulary and their confidence have improved a lot!!! And then....I have things like this happen.....

We are reviewing different skills...and for the last couple of classes we have been going over giving directions to places. From the very beginning, when we practice conversations, more often than not, I have given them A/B practice sheets....."A" will have information that "B" doesn't, so "B" must ask "A" to get the information and then they switch and "A" will ask "B" for his/her missing information.

We do this particular kind of activity a lot....really, we do.
So....on Wednesday....after they had been practicing on their own....I gave them a map and told them that they were ALL "A".....I would be "B". "Now....take a few minutes and with your partner, look over the map....the places...the roads."
After a few minutes of them doing that....I said that I would then give them directions to some places....places that I had on my map, but they did not.

Okay...."Number 1.....JAL (Japan Air Lines) office....okay....go up this street...", I began.
"Wait...Debbie...we don't have JAL on our maps." says one pair in the front of the class.
I stop and quickly explain to the two that I would now tell them where it was....I had it on my map. Okay...let's try again..."Okay, listen, the JAL office...go up this....". And...again...mumblings were heard " But...but..I can't find the JAL office" from two or three more groups. ....
At this point....I just stopped. I sat down on the desk and started laughing. I couldn't even continue through this...I had tears in my eyes and my stomach was starting to hurt.
Finally....after me explaining it yet again...even in Japanese...and those who got it the first time checking to make sure everyone got it...really got it....we could continue.
The really funny thing is....the next time we do this kind of activity...yep, more than likely it'll be the same thing...but, I will just say to them, "This is just like the map we did...remember?" If anything, they will remember how damn funny it was and why......yeah...and monkeys will fly out my butt, too!!! :-D

#2) On Thursday evenings, I have a class of ladies that is basically a free talk/discussion class. Our topics range from movies to fashion, from arts & crafts to politics. Like many classes such as this, sometimes the topics move very quickly...and tonight was no is a run-down of 20 minutes of tonight's class:

*What do you think about NY Governor's press conference?
*Why was his wife standing with him? Wasn't she angry? How could she stay with him?
*How much did he pay the hooker? Are you sure? How much for one night?!?!
*"Debbie you and I could do that and make a lot of money." (WHAT?!?!)
*Peaks of sexual drives of men vs. women
*Do many Japanese men take Viagra? How much is Viagra? (about $33 a pill here!)
*Is there a pill that women can take? (the word "horny" was brought up)
*Japanese men usually take Viagra for "erectile dysfunction", not for fun.
*Discussion on the reason why the correct pronunciation of the word "election" is very important (remember the R and L sound the same here in Japan!!). Makes the question "'s the election going?" have a completely different meaning...and will make foreigners laugh.......really, really, hard. (teehee)

When people ask me what it is that I do here....sometimes it's really hard to explain. Sure, I can say, "I'm an English teacher." But, really.....that is only a fraction of what I do.....
Maybe I should put on my business card that I am an

"English Language Consultant and Cultural Advisor"
(and part-time stand-up comedienne)


Mrs. G. said...

This is so funny. I don't know how you keep a straight face-maybe you don't!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Maybe in the word election the l/r thing doesn't make a big difference--especially among certain male politicians!

dkuroiwa said...

Mrs. G....I don't even know what a "straight face" is anymore!!! :-D

Jenn...sadly, that's a good point!

mrs. blogoway said...

The second class you mentioned sounds so much like my book club when we get together. We spend about 10 minutes discussing the book and 3 and a half more hours talking about the same subjects you mentioned. I guess it's a small world after all:-)

Ginaagain said...

The funny/scary thing is that I have had conversations like the first one with people who speak my language! On a more positive note, I find it deeply satisfying to know that women all over the world have the same conversations about politics/men/sex.. I hope there was lots of giggling and at least a little chocolate.

Cheri said...

This is really funny. But, oh my, the Google search terms this post will pick up make me shudder. ;-)

Tootsie Farklepants said...

LOL! I laughed right out loud at "hows the election going?" hahaha!