Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Advice to My Replacement Part 1, the Nature of the Beast

My replacement arrives in less than a month. I've decided to write him some short bits of advice to smooth the transition, and just for the hell of it, I'm going to post them all here, first. I always wished I had more guidance in the first months I was teaching, so now I'm giving back what I can to the cause. None of you bastards ever comment (with a few much-appreciated exceptions), but now would be the time if you have anything relevant to say.

Part 1: The Nature of the Beast

Children are little bastards, and if you understand that early, everything else will be easier. Don't hold them to the standards you hold adults--their worldview and priorities are fantastically different. Would you let it slide if your co-worker came into work one day, jammed his fingers up your ass as a joke, drew a naked woman on the wall in marker, then demanded that you two go outside and play dodgeball instead of work (edit: Christ, that sounds like a pretty awesome work place actually)? Hell no, you'd have him fired before the end of the day. For a child, particularly a male one, these all seem like reasonable options.

They don't understand or care about social convention. They don't have the ability to manipulate you or hide their emotions. They are basically a raw mind on display. If they want something, they take it. If they think something, they say it.

Structure your class with this stuff in mind. Sure, they'll thank you for teaching them English when they score that sweet job with Honda's North American headquarters when they're 35, but in the meantime you're just some jerk-off who steals an hour from them every week when they'd rather be outside destroying something or watching crappy anime or doing whatever it is Japanese kids do for fun.

In short, you cannot treat these kids like they're just small adults. They have no idea why they're studying English after school when they'd rather be playing baseball. If you told them it's because it will really pay off in a decade when they're in high school, they'd tell you to get bent, they can't even think 2 weeks into the future.

So what's your response? Mine involved a metric assload of games, and I'll get to that in the next installment. In the meantime, anyone with any relevant input on children's nature, feel free to write a comment.


d said...

Never mind that, what about the quake?

Nate said...

It was exciting as a Lutheran orgy.

David said...

"Would you let it slide if your co-worker came into work one day, jammed his fingers up your ass as a joke, drew a naked woman on the wall in marker, then demanded that you two go outside and play dodgeball instead of work?"

--Do you work with Matt Taylor?

denwanai said...


Teaching english to Japanese kids is like babysitting hamsters while trying to perform Caberet on stage.

Don't touch your face - the kids are covered in snotslime.

Watch out for the autistic kids who are included anyway.

It'll be the best time of your retrospect.

Sorry you're leaving. Your insights are insightful

BTW -your comments on the jishin confused me.


Greg said...

yeah as kids age they go from being little bastards by accident, to little bastards on purpose.

Personally, I think they're at their worst circa age 8 or 9. Their faculties for bastardry are much more developed, but they still have no understanding of or interest in consequences.

Nate said...

David-- Matt would have loved life as a Japanese boy. His "gatorade bottle" incident would have been celebrated for its innovation. Here in Japan, cramming things in your classmates' asses is considered a normal and healthy part of growing up.

Nate said...

Jenny-- Thanks, that's great advice. In fact, I think my current cold is from violating the face-touching rules. I'm not sure when Japanese people switch from snot-smearing, vomiting, sneezy disease bags to spotless adults with ironed socks, but it isn't anytime before age 12 in my experience.

Nate said...

Greg-- Nice! That first sentence is why you're getting the big bucks to be a pro-fess'null writer. Good stuff man.

And yeah, also quite true.

Nate said...

And Jenny- the earthquake was just a bunch of violent shaking but didn't cause any real damage this far south. It was anticlimactic and boring, and so I tried to think of the most anticlimactic and boring thing in the world to compare it to, and Lutheran orgy popped into my head.

denwanai said...


I hope you have an agent, because anyone who comes up with the metaphor 'boring as a Lutheran orgy" is bound for a career in writing.

Looking forward to your next post,