Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fatigue of English Teacher

I used to point out the confusion when my students said, "Yes," when I said, "Who's she?" When this happened, I gave a lecture on an open-ended question and a closed-ended question.

Years later today, I no longer give a lecture on grammar but will let my students know that they are making an error. Instead of giving a lecture, I will ask, "Who's she?" again and repeat it until my students notice their errors.

This week, one of my students said, "Yes," to my question of, "Who's she?" I did not accept her "yes," and said, "Who's she?" When I repeated the question three times, weariness began to settle in me.

Maybe I have taught English too long.

Friday, March 31, 2017

End of English Training Course

The English training course I had come to an end yesterday. In the final class, my students and I talked about the continuation of the course. They thanked me first for the class and said they wanted to continue it. Then I arranged some homework for them to do till the new term.

The next day, I received a notice from the client that it decided to continue the course with another instructor who was a native speaker of English. I am not. My mother tongue is Japanese.

Yesterday, my students and I talked about the challenge of understanding the Japanese when they smile “at you” while they “disagree with you,” during which, my students enthusiastically agreed with me, hinting negative experiences they had had with their Japanese clients.

Are my students consummate liars or am I naive to believe in them?

Saturday, March 25, 2017



Monday, February 13, 2017

Eye Contact

When the husband said, "The Japanese do not make eye contact," the wife said, "Young people make eye contact when they are talking to each other."

In reality she did not intend to disagree with him but the way she spoke gave the impression that she did, which upset the husband.

Communication confusions between the Japanese people and English-speaking people will occur when the former refer to peripheral developments only, which gives the false impression that the underlining fact is no longer valid. 

If the wife spoke English she would say, "I know what you mean but I have seen young Japanese making eye contact when they talk to each other," which not only will report on her observation but also support her position that she beilves that eye contact is important.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A nice surprice

I have recently began teaching at a company with a worry: a nagging worry that my students would reject me because I am Japanese. To my nice surprise, it was the worry that I did not need. Yes, I faced questions like, "Where are you from?" in the class and I honestly said I was from Japan. Indeed, some students seemed to have been shocked to see a Japanese instructor in front of them, and even then they became comfortable with me when they realized I am capable of teaching the language. In fact, they all seem to have accepted me as a role model.
This experience has taught me that many students do not make a distinction between native and non-native speakers as long as the instructor is capable of teaching English. It is perhaps other segments that draw the line when they are more concerned about business success over anything else.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Job Interview

Interviewer:   So, you're teaching English for a long time.
Interviewee:  Yes. Since 1980's.
Interviewer:  That's longer than any of our teachers here.
Interviewee:  That's possible.
Interviewer:  Since, you have so much experience, maybe you could shed light on
                   the situations we have in our university.
Interviewee:  Oh, OK.
Interviewer:  You see, we have a situation that ...
Interviewee:  I understand the situation. If I were you I would ...
Interviewer:  That's right. We could try that here, too. One more thing...You
                   see, we have students who are...
Interviewee: If I were you, I would...
Interviewer: Wow! That will work, too. Thank you very much.
Interviewee: You're welcome.

In a few days later, the interviewee received a letter that says: Dear Mr. Sekino. Thank you very much for coming to our interview. Your teaching career and expertise are certainly impressive, but unfortunately the position has been given to someone else.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Gatekeeper:          Next, please!
Man:                     Err…I can’t speak English.
Gatekeeper:          Don’t worry about it. We all speak one language here.
Man:                     This is strange. He is a foreigner and I understand him.                                          Maybe my English skills are improved.
Gatekeeper:          What are you mumbling about? I said we all speak one                                         language here. In fact, you do not speak a language, but                                       you will feel it. You’ll see it. I’ll take it that you used to be                                      Japanese?
Man:                     Used to be?
Gatekeeper:          You were Japanese?
Man:                     Yes, I am.
Gatekeeper:          Your name was Koji Takarazuka?
Man:                     Was?
Gatekeeper:          Never mind. You were Koji Takarazuka?
Man:                     Yes, I am.
Gatekeeper:          Wait a minute. I think I have met you before. Oh, I                                                 remember you were the one who interviewed me and                             rejected me because I was Japanese.
Man:                     Yeah, you were the Japanese man who pretended to be a                                     native speaker of English.
Gatekeeper:          Now, your entry to the land has just been denied based on                                   the fact that you used to be Japanese.
Man:                     Wait a minute! That’s racial discrimination!
Gatekeeper:          Next, please!