Sunday, January 31, 2010

I am a teacher. Oh, and a huge nerd.

I have been type type typing up this blog for nearly four months now, and just realized I haven't written so much as a lick about what occupies nearly eight of my hours a day, five days a week. My job! I'm a teacher. At a school. Weird.

It's very odd to suddenly have a new profession. Especially to suddenly have a new profession that I didn't go to school for, am not technically qualified for and never really had much of an interest in. I just woke up in Japan one morning, put on a suit, and Poof! I was a teacher! I have my own classroom (which fulfills my childhood fantasy of unlimited white board access) and students actually throw down the big Yen to sit and listen to me teach them things I learned in a 5-day training seminar while under the influence of extreme jet lag. At times, I completely forget that I'm a teacher. Recently a friend told me that teachers can get into a local museum for free. I automatically thought "Fuckin' teachers! I wanna get in for free!" Oh. I totally can. I'm a teacher now.

I teach adults, mostly university students and young professionals, with a scattering of high school students, senior citizens, salarymen and housewives. This job could never ever prepare someone to be an actual school teacher in the United States. In general, my students are the most polite, subdued, soft spoken, pleasant people alive, often to a fault. Last week when I dropped my pencil, a student nervously apologized and dove to the floor to pick it up for me.

Despite it being an English conversation school, some of my students seem to have a phobia of conversation. When faced with a simple question, such as How are you?, they stare at me silently and expressionless for what feels like centuries, like zombies in knee high socks with Prada purses. Sometimes I just want to slap slappity slap them back to life, and ask why they're paying up to $100 an hour to torture me with their silence. The money might be better spent on mime school. Of course, it must be noted that many of my students are absolutely lovely people to teach: they participate in class, laugh at my idiotic jokes and a few, perhaps tired of hearing me lament about my lack of oven, have surprised me with home baked treats.

A couple of weeks ago, I came home from work irritated by a particularly tedious class. I longed to install a hidden video camera in my classroom so I could document the little nuggets of ridiculousness and pass them  on to you people. Instead I opted for the next best thing: my oil pastels and a video camera. This is where my nerdiness comes in: I made a video. This is pretty much exactly what went down in my classroom that night.