Working on the Weekend

One of the reasons I don’t mind teaching the kinds of classes I taught today on what’s supposed to be a day off are that it’s fun to teach students who actually want to learn English.

The students are part of a program that is preparing them to study in the USA, the UK or Australia. Rather than participate in the full time version of the course, they’ve taken on extra homework–in theory anyway, if not always in practice–and opted to give up their Sundays while they stay in their regular high schools.

Every now and then university students join the program, but that’s less common. This is good because the age difference often leads to creepy situations where a guy is flirting with a woman and talking about how his plans are to go to graduate school and she’s like “Grandpa, can I like graduate high school first? I’m like 17 or something.” (I saw this happen and then encouraged the heartbroken guy to 1) be more aware of his surroundings; 2) lead with the age check; and 3) recognize that going to graduate school isn’t sexy.)

The school itself has an English Only rule that applies to the entire floor, even during breaks. The Japanese staff also conduct business in English. If Japanese is required, they take the student to a different room.

The students try to sneak in some Japanese yet don’t realize how loud their sudden silence sounds. They also use the Japanese skill of communicating without talking, a skill that involves expressions, frowns, lip reading and possible proof of ESP. I’ve seen Japanese have five minute conversations like that. The problem is, I was the only one who can’t understand it; everyone else in the room could making it less secret than it could have been.

I’ll teach the class at least one more time, possible two, and then try to lobby for a few more. I may lose a Sunday but it’s easy work and pays well. It’s also fun to chat with students in English.



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