October 10th, 2007


The N doesn't stand for "Nice".

I haven't complained that much about work lately, except for having fucked up weekends due to sports festivals. The reason for this is that, on the whole, being a second year is WAY better than being a first year ALT. Everyone knows you, and is more relaxed around you. They don't talk about you in front of you thinking you won't understand (as much, anyway). Even the kids at the middle schools seem a little more receptive to me than they were last year (even if it's just a tinsy bit). I've also got a great co-worker, which makes my life better all around.

But the thing that drives me the worst (as we say) is this one teacher, we'll call him Mr. N. I've had it up to about here (indicating a high level) with this guy. Mr. N may speak decent English, but he should NOT be an English teacher. He talks through most of the class in Japanese, often going on long tangents about things not even marginally related to English or the topic at hand. His pronunciation is terrible, and he insists on reading all the new vocab words himself, as well as all the dialogs, so even when I'm there, the kids don't hear natural English pronunciation, just katakana-ed crap. He loves Jeopardy and always wants to play it...unfortunately, his students hate it, and playing it is like pulling teeth. He doesn't give a shit if they like it or not, of course. He treats the other English teacher, who is a woman and a much better teacher, like she's some sort of servant in his classroom. It's the same for me, if he decides to let me do anything at all. Last I checked, that wasn't the definition of "assistant", but I guess it's an English word so he doesn't really get it.

Today though, was the worst. I thought it was insulting when he insists on reading the new vocab first. It's even MORE insulting, however, when I'm standing in the classroom and he decides to USE THE TAPE RECORDED VERSION of the new words. That's right, went across the room, plugged it in, set it up and played it twice while I was standing there with the book in hand open to the correct page. I was livid. At least have the decency to let me be the dreaded "human tape recorder", if nothing else. I fumed pretty heavily until he asked to read the dialog, but my god, how hard is it to ask me to read something? What a fucker.

Later on, it turns out he had a demonstration class other teachers were attending. I'm starting to think these demo classes are really for evaluating the teacher rather than giving tips to others, but each school I've been at so far has asked me to come help with their demos. One school even asked me to come in specially for it. Did Mr. N ask for my help though? Of course not. I sat in the staff room and worked on materials for the next day, so my time wasn't totally wasted, but he probably would have looked a lot better doing some team teaching. But then again, he's got no clue how that works, that much is all too obvious.

Aya has had the same problems with him. We're crossing our fingers he gets transfered next April.