Today I (Mike) would like to share a few random snapshots from the wild and occasionally wonderful world of Teaching English In Japan.

Firstly, I’d like to take you on a brief multimedia whirlwind tour what it’s like to teach in Mike’s school. To start with, below is a recording of Mike teaching a reading portion of class at Takine Jr. High School. I was able to take this recording on the sly last week during an 8th grade class. This is a lot of what I do at my school–some call it the “human tape recorder” routine; I prefer to think of it as voice training. This is my job, this is my life. Click and enjoy…

Yup–I read, and everyone repeats in unison. Every so often the teacher will have a student read on his/her own, but 9 times out of 10 I’m treated to this wonderful amalgamated cacophony of 30 Jr. high schoolers slurring their speech so their mistakes won’t sound as bad to their peers. Definitely different from foreign language classes in the states!

Secondly, here’s a bit of video that I was able to take on the sly of the students doing a special kind of repetitive writing practice. They have to write the given sentence as many times as they can while saying it aloud. I think the idea is to drill the given sentence deep into their brains so they can use it later. Again, I don’t think you’ll ever see this particular technique used in America! See if you can guess what sentence they’re trying to remember…

Wow. It’s kind of like a mantra, isn’t it? Don’t you feel more relaxed and at peace? I feel…strangely…happy…

Ok, now for some pictures. First, here are some shots of me flying my new kite!!! Yup, the 5th grade class at Takine Elementary School made me a kite and gave it to me as a gift yesterday. This was one of those rewarding moments that makes all the boring stuff worth it! I was even able to fly it during lunch break. Looking up at the blue sky on a crisp winter afternoon, a gaggle of cute Japanese kids running around and a piece of green plastic floating lazily in the air–that was a memory that I won’t soon forget. Here are some pictures that I took today that sort of re-create that moment…

Wakakusa Kite

There wasn’t nearly as much wind today as there was yesterday, but you get the idea. For all you trivia buffs, that building in the background is Wakakusa Kindergarten, our HQ here in Japan.

Takine Elementary School Kite

Takine E.S.5 “– Takine Elementary School, 5th Grade class . See how they all wrote their names–in English? Even as a guy it’s kind of touching–makes me feel all mushy and stuff. Awwwww…

Cute Japanese Kids

And now for the gaggle of cute Japanese kids : this is Jen’s 1st grade class, one of the two classes that we invited over to our house for a Christmas party. It’s pictures like these, and green plastic kites like mine, that make all the drudgery of repeating the same inane dialogues over and over worthwhile.