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Moving to Japan...

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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby keatonatron » Fri 08.04.2006 4:58 am

billy-jay wrote:
keatonatron wrote:
(I actually know my 形's better than my tense's :D)


...and your rules for pluralization.


I know those fairly well too. The choice between tenses and tense's is up to the writer, as there is no definate rule about it. I was, of course, using the word "tense" as an abstract object comparable with 形, and not as a normal English word.

Symbols and abbreviations whose plural would be ambiguous if only an s were added are pluralized by adding 's.

"mind your p's and q's"

Usage is divided on whether to extend this use of the apostrophe to non-ambiguous cases, such as the plurals of numbers (1990's) and words used as terms (his writing contains a lot of but's). Some writers use this form in a desire for consistency, whereas others say it confuses the plural with the possessive -'s.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby billy-jay » Fri 08.04.2006 5:51 am

Whoa. Score one for keatonatron.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby adam » Fri 08.04.2006 8:47 am

Justin, I definitely agree with what you said. There are a lot of scumbag english teachers here. But for the people who want to go to japan and have a great experience, i believe it's a viable option. It is a shame that a bad name is being given to english teachers.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 08.04.2006 8:54 am

I have to back up what Adam says 100%.

Although there are a lot of English Teachers (especially JETs, in my opinion) that make the whole profession look bad, teaching English (ESPECIALLY for any length of time) is not an easy thing to do. Although the speaking english part is not a learned skill (as compared to say, shaving a goat or making cheese), being in a classroom 7 hours a day with a ton of screaming kids (elem), kids that could care less (jr high) and kids who are trying to kill you (sr. high), takes a lot of patience and somethign that I would consider skill. The fact is that most people come here, work for a year, and find they can't cut it. Those are the people who go home.

I would go off more about this, but I'm drunk, and I still have stuff to do before I sleep. Perhaps I will rant more later.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby keatonatron » Fri 08.04.2006 9:13 am

Harisen's position is a bit different. Working with Japanese youth is definately challenging! I'm talking about the people who teach at a conversation school for a living. They don't have to prepare any lessons or do any research, they just wander in, chat about what they did last weekend, then go home.

I guess if all those people weren't in Japan, there'd be no 英会話 schools :o But still, I don't like it.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 08.04.2006 10:41 am

keatonatron wrote:
Harisen's position is a bit different. Working with Japanese youth is definately challenging! I'm talking about the people who teach at a conversation school for a living. They don't have to prepare any lessons or do any research, they just wander in, chat about what they did last weekend, then go home.

I guess if all those people weren't in Japan, there'd be no 英会話 schools :o But still, I don't like it.


In this case is the eikaiwa teacher really a teacher? I say no. I say that person is merely providing English conversation and not teaching at all. And to compare that to a real/professional teacher is like comparing a melon to basketball. The only real attribute they share is their shape.

And these are the types of teachers/conversationlists are the ones that creat more problems than they fix. blech..
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby adam » Fri 08.04.2006 10:56 am

That's a bunch of bull. I work at an eikaiwa and teach about 25 children's classes a week. From baby classes, elementary, jr high, sr high. As Harisen said it's quite a challenge. It's hard to judge from the outside. It may look simple but it's not. Keatonatron is judging from the stereotypes and from working part time teaching a few hours a week which is completely different.

And the few adult classes I do teach is more than just converation. In addition to grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, culture, etc, you are teaching people "How" to have a conversation. Sounds simple but give it a try teaching. You sit in front of a bunch of shy, depressed, sleepy jr high kids and see how easy it is to get them to talk. Try teaching english to 3 year olds who barely can understand their own language. Try teaching english to adults who couldn't hold up a conversation if their life depended on it. Try teaching elementary school kids who scream at the top of their lungs and all they want to do is run and jump around the classroom. Now try solving all these problems having to use only english when most of the people won't understand what you're saying.

Yes some people take the job because they think it's just conversation, but those people usually leave rather quickly, usually way before their one year contract finishes, and are the ones that cause the bad sterotype. It's a real teaching job, that probably takes more effort and energy than one back in your home country.

People need to stop bashing stuff they don't know. Your comments are ridiculous two_heads_talking.
Last edited by adam on Fri 08.04.2006 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby paul_b » Fri 08.04.2006 11:10 am

I think everybody's had their say and I think it's about time to let things cool off in this thread, if you know what I mean.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby keatonatron » Fri 08.04.2006 12:00 pm

I really hope Adam was replying to Talking and not me, because I already said teaching kids is different. I can totally respect that kind of work, because I've done it before and it's not easy. The people I was talking about are the ones who can only teach adults who are already advanced speakers.

Most of my students fit in the "can't hold a conversation to save their life" category, and so I have to explain all the basics in Japanese.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 08.04.2006 12:13 pm

adam wrote:


People need to stop bashing stuff they don't know. Your comments are ridiculous two_heads_talking.


actually i was speaking generally and not specifically to you.. and i do speak from experience and i do know.. let's see, i spent 15 years in japan, had numerous friends of which some had degrees and some did not.. some came to japan to play, some came to teach and some came to become ninja warriors.. i was in a missionary, in the USArmy, a civilian, a guest and quite a few other things while living and visiting Japan.

I am sorry you take offense to my comments.. I still stand by what I said.. generally speaking eikaiwa teachers are just asobimonos that have no other skill than "hey i can speak english" and they find people that want to speak english and it works.. anyways, you are welcome to disagree with me if you like.. no need to be mad though.. I can agree to disagree, as I have with at least a few people here. I really don't mind, as my opinion and yours are just a colorful blanket spread over the world for people to enjoy or not.. Some like it hot, some like cold. Some like it in the pot nine days old..


"added as an after thought" i too taugh english conversation.. part of our missionary work was to hold 3 classes a week. would i consider myself a good teacher? probably not, but then again i received no pay for what i did. we actually did create a work plan for those days to converse with new words, grammar principles and taught ages 6-98.. I think that gentleman was 98. if not he was old as wood. anyways, my examples are my experience and i know that my exp and yours will be different.. but please, as you told me.. don;t bash what you don't know.. i might live right next door.. now that would be ironic no?
Last edited by two_heads_talking on Fri 08.04.2006 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 08.04.2006 6:56 pm

I'm not going to bash anyone, or contradict what anyone says. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Believe me, when I worked as an English teacher, I saw some teachers that made my hair curl.

But in the defense of Eikaiwa teachers:

While there are those people who go in, and are speaking partners for Japanese people who can alrady speak Japanese, these are the minority. My friend recently started working for Shimon Juku after a long stint with JET and Interact working in Junior High Schools, and he says that it's the hardest job he's had in Japan. He also said he would punch any JET that complained about their workload.

This is his situation, so it may be different for other people/schools, but:

He has to make all his own work plans, over a month in advance for classes that range from 3 year olds to 16 year olds. Sometimes he has classes of one student, and sometimes classes of up to 12. If only one student shows up that day, he has to re-arrange his entire plan to fit that student. This may not seem hard, but keep in mind that for very young students, you can go through 10-20 games in a one hour period. If the students lose interest, you have to go on to the next one right away.

When he works, he is not allowed to use Japanese. Shimon Juku is very strict about all English. The downside to this is getting the smaller children to do what you want without a) using a language they understand b) losing their interest and c) killing them. ;)

Lastly, because it's a Juku, his work schedule is based around when students are available. That means 12am to 8 at night. And usually that's straight classes, with only a 5-10 minute break in between.


Anyhow, he's been complaining about how busy hs is lately, so I thought I'd just share his experiences. ;) I don't think that they're representative of the English teaching profession as a whole, but I think there are alot of people who work very hard as English teachers, even if they're often surrounded by one-year drivel.

Which is why I say "Hate the person, not the occupation." ;)
Last edited by Harisenbon on Fri 08.04.2006 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 08.07.2006 9:46 am

actually i would think not the person nor the occupation but the situation..
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby battousai » Tue 08.08.2006 9:17 am

I was wondering what type of backgrounds everyone was coming from when making these comments. I'm not looking for a biography, but are most of you JETs, NOVA type ESL teachers, sister-city programs, freelance? I've been apart of the English/Japanese teaching community for a while now and pretty much realized a person's opinion on eikaiwa teaching depends on their background.

I have many friends in JET and they reenforce what's somewhat clearly explained from the beginning - JET is mainly about culture exchange not language teaching. I have a lot of contacts in NOVA/GEOS as well and the general view from there is the job is more of a first step into Japan (integrating while having an income) and people branch out from there. I guess my opinion is that no matter what, being an eikaiwa teacher isn't really a "career" with any of these options and no one usually ever sees it that way. 99% don't go on JET or any other company to fulfill their love of teaching English, they go because it is a great opportunity to live in Japan and figure things out from there. If your lifelong dream really was to teach English in Japan(a la universities)you'd have been studying and doing a lot more than just applying to be an eikaiwa teacher.

I fully support eikaiwa teachers for whatever reason they're there(good-natured reasons that is). Saying they aren't really teachers doesn't make sense, as all you have to do is teach someone how to play a card game to be a "teacher". If your opinion of a teacher is "someone with a degree, studies the science of their craft, and has teaching experience" then what do you call your parents who do not have a degree in "raising children".
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 08.08.2006 9:36 am

battousai wrote:
Saying they aren't really teachers doesn't make sense, as all you have to do is teach someone how to play a card game to be a "teacher". If your opinion of a teacher is "someone with a degree, studies the science of their craft, and has teaching experience" then what do you call your parents who do not have a degree in "raising children".


you call your parents (mom and dad, mother and father, and parents.. ) equating parents to eikaiwa teachers is fine.. equating them to degree'd teachers isn't.. there are few courses to take in the school of hard knocks as most parents are apt to tell you.. they learn from failure and experience.. they didn't get a pretty peice of paper that said, you are now a doctorate in parenting.. doh..
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RE: Moving to Japan...

Postby keatonatron » Tue 08.08.2006 10:28 am

battousai wrote:
I was wondering what type of backgrounds everyone was coming from when making these comments.


I work at a school that doesn't offer visas. That means all the teachers are in Japan for other reasons (military, school, married...). All the other teachers are kinda shady :@ None of them speak more than a few words of Japanese, and a lot of them have been living in Japan and working this job for quite a few years now.

The other day we had a work party where the students and teachers could all get together and mingle. It was at a large restaraunt, and we were all sitting at one table. One of the teachers had some friends who came as well. They were teachers for one of the visa-providing schools (like Geos). They didn't feel comfortable sitting at the table with us since they weren't affiliated with our school, so they sat at another table nearby and their friend from our school said he would go back and forth between the two tables. Well, he ended up staying at their table the entire time. Eventually, many of the other teachers from my school, who hadn't been talking to any of the Japanese students anyway, all migrated over to the other table. So it ended up being one table with 15 students and two English teachers (one of them being me), and one table of 8 English teachers and one Japanese person (someone's girlfriend I think). It was obvious that the teachers had no interest in talking to the Japanese people, and it made me feel bad, because the students came to practice their English and meet more teachers. It's stuff like this that makes me think, why are these people even in Japan? If they'd rather talk to other foreigners than Japanese people, and don't even learn any Japanese to begin with, why did they come here in the first place? I understand that some of them are US military and aren't here by choice, but a lot of them are British and Australians who are here by choice.

I have also met a lot of foreigners while doing modeling and acting stuff. Many of them have no Japanese friends and only know other foreigners, and of course don't speak any Japanese. A lot of them teach English for a living and go party in Shibuya every night.

Even on this forum I get a bad feeling from the way people talk about teaching English. I have heard so many people say their plan is to "go to Japan and teach English". Most of them don't speak Japanese and don't particularly seem to be trying, and none of them say it's just a transition job while they learn Japanese or get adjusted to the culture. I think for many people it sounds like "the easy way to live in Japan with minimal effort".

If those are the kind of people that are actually doing eikaiwa, then you can imagine why those schools have a bad image.

And it's not just amongst other foreigners. Anyone on this forum who has spent considerable time in Japan has heard Japanese people talk about how eikaiwa teachers never speak any Japanese and only party all the time.
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