Further Anecdotal Evidence that Working Conditions for ELTs in Japan are in an Inescapable Death Spiral

Recent job postings paint a gloomy picture for the future of our industry in Japan and possibly elsewhere in East Asia.

The Greatest, the BEST Twitter Hashtag in the ELT Community this Election Season

This past week I came across some tweets that made me shoot milk out my nose, no joke. #TrumpELT is remarkable for both its ingenuity and the fact that it is still relatively underdeveloped. If you’re on Twitter, and you’re feeling creative, check it out and get busy while there is still time left. I always try to keep out of politics on this blog, but what the hell – it’s funny stuff.

Analytical Grammar – English Nerds Who Know How to Tell a Good Joke

This comic strip had me chuckling this morning as I got ready for work (well, as I thought about getting ready for work, to be exact). Gems like this show up everyday in my Facebook feed courtesy of Analytical Grammar, basically the George Takei of grammar nerds.

Have a nice weekend folks.

Having a Bad Monday? Never Fear! English Teacher Humour is Here!

When you’re having one of those days when you shudder at the sight of your students singing horribly off key, and are utterly despairing over what you’re doing with your life, just know that there is hope! Check out a new site called English Teacher Humour. It’s pretty much The Onion, but for people in our profession.

The piece below really hit home…

Jul 26 Class Of 4-Year-Olds Mock Teacher’s Drawing Skills

BARCELONA, SPAIN – A group of very young learners were left confused and repeatedly face-palming as their teacher failed miserably to depict a number of animals due to be tested in the following week’s English class.

“I bet he wished the ground would have swallowed him up,” comments Antoni. “He started with a big circle and them some fins and six legs. We all looked at each other wondering what the heck this guy was on. Apparently, it was an octopus. An octopus? Are you having a laugh or what?”

You can finish reading this piece here.

The Adverse Effects of the Italian Temper on ELT in East Asia

One of my eight-year-old students here in South Korea has a bit of a temper. Most days he comes to class upset about something or another. 

“Teacher, I’m angry at my friend. He teased me.”

“Teacher, I’m angry at my mom. She yelled at me for hitting my brother. ”

“Teacher, I’m angry at you. You said there’s a spelling test today.”

“Teacher, I’m angry at my shoes. They’re uncomfortable.”

“Teacher, I’m angry at the sky. It made me wet.”

And so on. 

He even admits it himself. Why just the other day, without the slightest prompting, he turned to me and declared:

“Teacher, do you know why I am always so angry? It’s probably because I was born in Italy.”

I had to admit to myself that it made a certain amount of sense.

And it is true that he was born in Italy – his Korean parents were living there at the time, and not a day has gone by since becoming my student that he hasn’t reminded me of that fact.  

Like the first time we met: “Nice to meet you Teacher. Did you know that I was born in Italy?”

Like when he meets new children: “Hi, where were you born? I was born in Italy.”

Like when he needs something: “Teacher, I forgot my pencil and did you know I was born in Italy?”

Like when he feels aggrieved about something in the way that children often do: “It’s not fair! I was born in Italy!”

So when he explained his reason for being so hot tempered he was in all likelihood just trying to find a creative way to tell me that he was special, a snowflake like no other. Or maybe he really believed it. Or maybe that’s just what his mom told him when she was feeling worn out from him. Who knows?

There’s never a boring day in this racket. 

A White Lie Comes Back to Bite Me

Some years ago I was teaching the phrase “use chopsticks” from the coursebook Let’s Go 2 to a class of primary students in South Korea. During our discussion I casually mentioned that my grandfather couldn’t use chopsticks. The children were visibly shocked by this statement (probably just as much as young American children might be if they heard someone didn’t know how to use a fork). 

“Is it because he can’t see well?” 

“No, it’s because my grandfather is old and a long time ago there were no chopsticks in Canada so he never learned to use them well.” 

I was of course exaggerating a little for the purpose of generating discussion.

“However, young people like me can all use chopsticks now.” 

Most of the students just listened and nodded but one girl looked at me with a straight face and said, “But Teacher, you’re not young!”

헐, as the young in Korea might say.