Show me an example April 2010 | Chris' English School

Monday, April 26, 2010

A beautiful day in Japan

Made my own little BBQ grill using nature and a 100yen screen to cook those steaks. They were pretty damn good!! A nice way too kick off the BBQ season :)14375!!!

One Piece "Chopper" seems to be popular with the kids right now.

One of my students has saved $500.00 of "School Money" and she will never spend any of it. She has a future in economics I think. I also have nothing nearly that expensive in the shop so it's a "win win" I guess :)

No buyers....just lookers :( Do they think I'll start selling ipods or something??

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday..Operation "Chill"

Saturday is always a smooth ending to my work week. This class is prepping for the Eiken. I think everyone is actually :) They are also working off of question sheets and getting very chatty :) It's one of my favorite classes of the week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eiken Prep. Elementary Students

She scored some school cash for translating AND answering the Q's perfectly.

She's 10..11? and she writes like an adult? He vocabulary is similar to a native speaker her age but her writing style is more mature if you get what I'm sayin'?? She only writes for me because her Elementary school's ALT is definitely NOT doing diaries so she doesn't get any other practice which is what impresses me. I was not writing phrases like that when I was 10. My teachers couldn't even read my writing :(

Tests are fun....NOT!!! SHO-GA-NAI :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear ALT's in Japan..Take the red one!! Don't sell your soul.


After 5 years of running my own School and watching some 20 or so ALT's come and go I have come to believe there are 4 kinds of ALT's

1. Those who come here with dreams of inspiring children to study English and embrace the culture. They however end up in a School where they are told how and what to teach. Their uniqueness is crushed by the machine (the local or prefectural education board). They become bitter and decide to return home before the end of their contract because they can't stand the difference between their imagination and their new reality.

2. Those who come here with dreams of inspiring children to study English and embrace the culture. They however end up in a School where they are told how and what to teach. They find ways around the machine. They convince the machine by necessary deception via surprise lesson plans that turn out greater than their Japanese teachers expected. They change their own reality and every ALT that follows in their path. They are great. They are teachers!

3.Those who come here to enjoy Japan and study Kanji or Japanese. They speak to teachers in Japanese because they want to practice even though they are supposed to be sharing their culture and their language (English). They surf the internet during school hours for reasons that have nothing to do with class planning. They start thinking about and preparing for life after Japan before they have even left. They are bad teachers and usually not even good people. The English levels in Japan are low partly because of them. Thankfully many local Schools in Hirao,Yanai etc are contracting with local foreigners so this is becoming less of a problem.

4. The 4th type are the lucky beneficiaries of the 2nd type. They come with their dreams of teaching and luckily land in a School where another ALT showed them the possibilities of the position and the unique effect a great English teacher can have on the students and the staff. The average English scores in the School rise as a direct result of the creative ALT's efforts.

I respect the 1st type because they know their own limits and they go home. They don't bother anyone except themselves if they return home quickly.

I respect the 2nd type because it was me before I opened my own School. They take the hard road because it is the right road. They are teachers and have personal pride and consider the students above all else or....they have too much pride to fail which leads to the same good result. It's not the "means" it's the "ends"
High scores> everything else.

I loathe the 3rd type because THEY are a part of the problem and ignore it because they never really wanted to be a teacher. They wanted to travel around Japan. They use their job teaching kids like it's a "meal ticket". Go home, save money, and return to Japan using your own savings and stop being a part of the problem.

The 4th type is lucky because of the ALT that came before them. They will probably never realize how lucky they are but that's O.K.! Just be a good teacher and set the table for the one who will follow you.

I took the "Red pill" long before I came to Japan. That's why I'm a great teacher. Scores are everything and my students get em'!! If you took the "blue pill".....go home, it's O.K. This wasn't meant to be your reality ;)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Japan "Tapping Out"?

I have been like "St John the Divine" with my apocalyptic comments about the monster looking over Japan's back...China, during the past few years. The reality of China's boom and Japan's many growing economic woes including; the previous and sustained drop in the birthrate, the decrease in taxpayers, the increase in pension recipients and an ideological and recent political shift away from the west. For an export based industrial country things look dim.

Surprisingly, most of my students seem to be surprised by what seems economically clear.

I WAS surprised myself though to see this...

By Blaine Harden
Sunday, April 11, 2010

TOKYO -- Takuya Otani would love an MBA from a top U.S. business school, but he won't apply. When he graduates from college in Tokyo next year, he'll pass on an American degree and attend graduate school in Japan.

"I am a grass-eater," Otani said wistfully, using an in-vogue expression for a person who avoids stress, controls risk and grazes contentedly in home pastures.

Once a voracious consumer of American higher education, Japan is becoming a nation of grass-eaters. Undergraduate enrollment in U.S. universities has fallen 52 percent since 2000; graduate enrollment has dropped 27 percent.

It is a steep, sustained and potentially harmful decline for an export-dependent nation that is losing global market share to its highly competitive Asian neighbors, whose students are stampeding into American schools.

Total enrollment from China is up 164 percent in the past decade; from India, it has jumped 190 percent. South Korea has about 76 million fewer people than Japan, but it now sends 2 1/2 times as many students to U.S. college

The full article can be found HERE

Why does it appear that Japan is pulling back? The realities of the global economy and the history between them and China paint a clear picture of the future. America will also be eventually pushed over the cliff if not be saved by it's "consumer" based economy. Japan is not being pushed. It looks like they're jumping!

A student said today that she thought the quality gap would insulate Japan. I told her that perception is reality and the Toyota mess (see MSN for today's latest story regarding Toyota or check HERE) along with a lack of bad news for China will create a new reality for kids growing up right now. They will not have any preference or bias for either country other than the image put in-front of them now.
2010 is shaping up to be the worst year I can remember for post war Japan.

("Tapping Out" is a reference to a submission move in M.M.A (Mixed Martial Arts)

Monday, April 5, 2010

TOEIC 950!!! ( トーイック) 143 in the house ;)


She got the official notification today :) She is in the top 2%

I just had a student achieve a score of 950 on her TOEIC test. For those not in the know that's an AMAZING score!!

She was not gifted in English as a schoolgirl but she became motivated to challenge speaking and grammar in her daily life and in a testing/measuring environment. I tried once before to assist with a TOEIC challenge but she made no real effort and I was very pissed off.

I push my students really hard. I am not interested in being liked by my students. The part time teachers who do short term contracts need to pay attention to attire, social etiquette, and a myriad of other things that may, but probably don't have any real effect on the teaching itself. I have the freedom to just teach. No tie, no bullshit, no teachers room dramas. Just teach my ass off and let my student's levels speak for me.


If it were possible to walk to school uphill both ways my step father would have made me. He threw a bucket of water..a bucket....on me while I was sleeping in my bed the day after my last day of school and announced I was working or on the street.
"This isn't a flop house and we don't cater to bums" was about what he said.

I said "f___ this" and headed to Hawaii. That's when all his hard ass "tough love" lessons started to make sense. I was a non-union Haole in Hawaii and I was given back breaking labor again and again. I had to do it, I didn't have any local family and I had to eat so there I Hawaii the way :) I thought this is nothing compared to S.D. He never paid me, he never said thank you, and he expected 100% all the time. There is a fish pond built by my hands in Massachusetts containing at least 10 dump truck loads of brick sized granite that I put together piece by piece. It's a testament to my refusal to quit and his refusal to stop pushing me like a slave.

Then, in Hawaii, I'm gettin' paid gettin' respect and oh yeah...I live in Hawaii :)

Well to make an Epic story short.

I own a place in Hawaii (paid cash) I own a car in Hawaii (paid cash).
I run my own school and NO ONE tells me what the F___ to do......EVER and it's all thanks to him.

I push my students because i know that life is hard and the strongest win, or recover from failure and try again. Losers quit, make excuses and give up. That's it.
You wanna be happy?? Stop looking outside because it starts from the inside.
You don't like your life? Change it.
You don't like your job? Quit and get another.
You want a good partner? Be a good partner.
You want a good score? Study hard. A test score is a DIRECT reflection of the effort you made.

My student can FULLY appreciate the amazing goal she has achieved because she knows that every point is a reflection of her effort. She wasn't lucky. She's great. She earned it. I was REALLY tough on her when she didn't do her best before. I was really tough. I knew she could do better than she did. She doubted herself for no reason. Now she has achieved something that any ESL student would love to put on their resume'. 900 is considered by a lot of companies and U.S. government agencies as being a "command" of English sufficient for employment. 950?? 950!!!....get outta here!! forget about it, thats crazy good!!

A college degree, a conversation level similar to a native speaker ( she can talk to anyone about anything because of her bright character) and now a 950 TOEIC for the grammar side of the language. She can do whatever she wants. She is a symbol of my theory that we are only limited by ourselves and our ability to control our own fears.
Fear of failure is universal, accept it. Fear sharpens all the senses. You will sometimes fail,accept that, it's called "life". Learn from it and improve yourself.
This girl did and now she has something that is hers. She did this.

I'm proud to have helped someone maximize their abilities.
She should feel really confident right now. She worked hard for that. I respect her.

**143723*** ;)

(Grammatical errors are left intentionally as a study tool for students who read the blog. They get school money for every error they find :))

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Manga as a study tool.....FTW

I don't know the name of this comic be honest i just realized that it's a regular book and not manga at all.....oh well...the title stays because it will get more hits than "book" ;)

She walked me through the story in English (she's in J.H.) and a drawing which helps A LOT with my A.D.H.D :) It is a book about 8 students who have to sacrifice 1 member to get out of each room. It's like SAW in it's way of bringing up the moral dilemma's that make us human or sometimes act otherwise. In the end are we just animals?? or are we our brothers keeper?? It's a fun class :)

The "top 10" for April 2010 (This is only for Elementary aged students and above.

This was a "gift" from someone today. This thing goes for around $100.00!! This is what a $100.00 steak looks like in Japan. I'm looking forward to grillin these soon!! 143 ;)