Well, it’s that time of the year again. If you don’t know, I live in Japan and I’m teaching English to Japanese students. Rather, saying I am a glorified native English voice box sounds a lot better, though. Anyway, every winter and summer we have company training. It’s the time of the year when many of us dread going. If you don’t go, you lose out on at least 100 dollars from your next paycheck. I don’t even think missing a day of normal work penalizes you for missing a day THAT BAD.
Training wouldn’t be so bad if it were actually of relevance and interest. Instead many of the supervisors focus on very trivial topics. I know they are trying their best, and they have to do this to show the boards of education we are continuously learning about how to teach English. But, I feel like many of the topics they cover should instead be covered in the weekly meetings hosted in each individual area. Lesson planning? Making English activities? That can be covered easier in the weekly smaller meetings. For example, many foreign English teachers don’t need to lesson plan because the other teacher does it, or the Japanese English teacher has their own activities they want to do. So, some of the teachers at the company training would feel bored because they can’t relate to what is being discussed. It’s a waste of time!
At these bigger company trainings, they should focus more on broader topics and more Japanese cultural related topics. Topics that are relevant to us living in a foreign culture. Things that can continuously be covered over but not get boring. Things like dealing with other teachers and students or what to even talk about with either of them. I know all of us face a lot of problems living in Japan. Japan is a difficult country to live in as a foreigner. A lot of us can help each other at these company meetings by discussing those kinds of issues. We would all benefit from that.
But then again everyone is basically just dicking around. I know and they know. Everyone does. It’s just something we have to do to please some higher ups. So, we all try to just tolerate it and get through the day. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter anyway because Japanese can’t learn English with this current system. It isn’t working to help them learn. There is nothing we (foreign English teachers) can really do about it.
Another thing about these company meetings is it reminds me of my high school experience all over again. I just become so moody over the whole experience. My time is being wasted and on top of this I have to do it with people I don’t know all that well. The supervisors can be dicks too, and come up to you asking stupid questions. Much like the teachers I had in high school at times would. Everyone who attends pretty much pairs off into their own little cliques. They take part in small talk, and what not. That kind of stuff just doesn’t appeal to me at all. It never did. I don’t care what they have to say about their life or what they’ve done, and maybe that is why I am alone. But the thing is I want real conversations. In English and Japanese. So, much like high school I spend a lot of the time reading a book during the training. People just sort of leave me alone and I am content with that.
While I do have my problems with Japanese people, the thing I like about them is that their patterns and thinking are very predictable. But with foreigners, I just can’t read them. It’s very strange and I don’t want to get into the whole notion that I AM JAPANESE. But other foreigners just don’t put me at ease in the same way Japanese do.
Well it’s back to the grind soon. Living it up with the little time I have left.