tell me your story

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Sometimes I think that when we’re teaching English we get so caught up in the “this student can’t speak well/should say this better/says this unnaturally/forgets this particle/speaks too slowly/has horrible pronunciation/never remembers this word/etc.” that we forget to just. fucking. listen.

Teaching in Tokyo was okay, but young salary men can be boring. They want a girlfriend/went drinking/never sleep/hate their boss. Cafe teaching in Tokyo is sketchy (and I am so glad to be done with it). But I am enjoying my new students. Most of them are older than my parents, have lived through countless moments of history, and have stories to tell. And when it comes down to it, they don’t care about getting a good TOEIC/TOEFL/EIKEN score or getting a promotion in the company or a position overseas. They just want to tell their damn story.

I’m learning to let the “English Teacher” check out when I need to. If the 70 year old lady with the blue eye shadow -that can rivals my OWN grandma’s favorite shade of blue- wants to show me her drawings and talk about that one time after WWII when an American solider came to her small town by the ocean and took her picture then I’m going to let her, to hell with proper particles and “alternative phrases”. I’ll save that for the next salary man that needs to pass his test.

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2 thoughts on “tell me your story

  1. zoomingjapan

    With most of my adult students I just make sure that we have a fun conversation.
    And ususally that’s all they want to do.

    With younger students it’s a different story, of course.

    Reply

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