Thursday, 27 October 2011


I've had lots of things to blog about, but while I've been keeping notes I haven't actually done anything with them, as you might have noticed.

Here is one. Others will follow, eventually.

The other day I had to sign a form. This is not unusual, in itself. I often have to sign forms. But this one had an addendum at the bottom, kindly translated into English. It said something like:

I hope K___ University will not use my personal information except when necessary for work-related matters.

I did not actually have a choice about whether or not to sign it, at least not if I wanted to keep my job. But I didn't mind. In fact I giggled as I signed it, making several Japanese teachers in the teachers' room look at me, startled. I did not try to explain. That sort of thing is hard to explain.

But it was true! I really DO hope they do not use my email address for nefarious purposes, and was happy to sign something saying so, even though I wasn't quite sure why I needed to put my official signature to a 'hope.'

Besides, it is not often that a form makes me laugh.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


41 Gossip

The accepted idea is that conversation is a means to communicate ideas, practical information and intentions, for a useful purpose, with some gossip and self-serving showoff here and there to enliven it. Yet most conversation is gossip and self-serving showoff, with ideas, practical information and intentions here and there to justify them.

I do not understand everything, or even very much, of what is written at Opacity, but I love this one.

It is TRUE.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Fully charged

It's that time of year again. You can tell summer is over, because I am, once again, fully charged. I noticed it yesterday after screaming and tossing chalk in the air, and today, again, my students were enormously entertained by my occasional sudden eruptions of fright as I went to write on the board and got shocked. And when I say shocked, I mean SHOCKED.

They all learned the words static electricity. After that, the idea was that they'd know what it was all about and take it in their stride. Instead, I became, apparently, 'cute.' Every time I screamed and threw chalk in the air the students thought it was funny. "Kawaii!" I heard them saying. This is my third week with them and apparently I am keeping them interested,

But I am NOT kawaii. I am SHOCKED.

The (only) good thing about this problem is that it keeps the students focused. When they're all chatting happily and not paying attention to me or staying on task, at the very least my screams serve to jolt them into consciousness that there is a teacher in the room, who is expecting something of them, and who is writing something on the board that they should be paying attention to. They stop talking when I scream, and look at me. Then they see the board. And, sometimes, they continue to pay attention to what i am writing, which is quite frequently the instructions for what they are supposed to be doing.

I have to think of this as a good thing. Getting shocked on a regular basis is not pleasant, but at least it is pedagogically sound.