Sunday, November 26, 2006

Next year in Japan

At the start of my first entry in this blog I mentioned that I'll probably be going back to Japan next August. If it works out I'll be taking classes at a Japanese high school. But because I'll have graduated American high school already there won't be any required classes for me to take. After speaking with a person at CIEE, the organization I'm going with, it seems that I'll probably be helping teach English at school as a teacher's aid. Now I remember when she mentioned this. I thought to myself, since when do I have any credentials to help teach? I'm very knowledgeable in history, politics, geography, but I would not say explaining grammar has ever been a strength of mine. In fact it's always been something I've hated at school, even though I love to write. My realization of my inability to explain the complexities of English grammar came last summer at school in England. I was sitting at my desk in my dorm room one evening with my 3 other roommates, Mahmud (Kuwait), Hiro (Japan), and Konstantin (Bulgaria). We were all doing our homework, but then Konstantin spoke up and asked if I could explain something to him. He showed me a work book for English which had a number of exorcises. I read it over. He then asked if I understood it. That was when I nervously said no... He then asked me why I couldn't explain it to him. That was the moment where I just wanted to say, "give me a break, I wasn't the sick minded person who made this mess." Instead I gave some unwitty and probably bad but honest excuse as to why I couldn't help. That was when Mahmud came over and gave the right answer... making me feel pretty stupid. Arabic was his first language...
Now in defense I have to say that not since 7th grade have any of my English teachers ever tried to teach grammar. But this year my speech writing teacher has given a whole workshop on English grammar and nuances. So at least I think I have a better grasp of all the rhymes and reasons than ever before.
So Japan... Well teaching will be interesting. I will only have just been out of high school, and now I might potentially be teaching in front of students who are my age or just a year or two younger. Thank God I'll only be an assistant in this possible scenario. If this does occur, and if I ever become a JET, this should serve as a good learning experience... But I've a hard time imagining how I'd get any respect if I were in the classroom by myself.

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