Embarrassing Yourself

Have you ever embarrassed yourself in a room full of kids?

I am beginning to enjoy my time at school a lot more now that I have begun to teach more and more classes throughout the day. Today I had one class first thing in the morning, and another after lunch, which is an improvement from yesterday when I only taught one class after lunch. Tomorrow I will teach three classes! Movin on up..

Anyway, I will get to the juicy stuff. Had quite the embarrassment in my after lunch class (year 3, Junior High School students – so, the oldest and most English speaking of the students I teach). The teacher passed out a BINGO sheet, in which the students had to find a classmate who had done something to fill every square (Target phrase: Have you ever…? I.E. Have you ever read Harry Potter? Have you ever been to Hokkaido? Etc, etc). I was instructed to read out the target phrase for each of the boxes for the students to repeat after me, which was fine, but… it got real awkward real quick when I got to: “Have you ever drunk aojiro?” This problem with this was twofold. First, that sentence sounds really weird, we would be more apt to say “drank” … but whatever. (I looked this up and apparently drank is more informal, while drunk is more formal and more technically correct to be used with “have”, although both are okay) … I will let that slide, because the more pressing matter is how do you pronounce whatever it is that we are asking if you’ve drunk? In the moment, I was very confused. Sitting here at my desk now I can easily attempt of break down the word and make a fair attempt at how you would pronounce it (as you, gentle reader, probably are whilst sitting there at home). But this is not an accurate attempt! Imagine yourself amidst the chaos and glares that accompany the junior high school classroom! I panicked and mumble through the word. Awkward! Next up: “done taue?, heard jyoyonokane? Made umeboshi?” Oh my god. As you can imagine I was as awkward as could possibly be. I had to apologize to my JTE afterwards. I literally stumbled through the Japanese word, as the students stared up at me, wondering if I was saying something in English or butchering their language. Sorry children. Sorry English teachers! Sorry everyone! Awkwardness will prevail when I am around! Be warned!

So that was exciting. The teachers seemed okay with it (although they had to be – what were they going to do start yelling at me in front of the students?) … They just sort of corrected me, and then told the students to repeat. It was awkward though, and I am sure the students were like, “what is she trying to say to us?” The worst part is I never get any of these things before hand. Mostly, I am just sitting at my desk browsing the internet and one of the English teachers will come up to me and say “Rachel are you ready?” And I say “sure am!” Then we saunter off to a classroom where right before I go in I am told what to do. This is pretty much the norm for JETs though, we are warned about this well in advance. No matter how many times we ask if we can help, lesson plan, aid in any way, we are always told no. Or at least I am. Probably because they don’t want someone who can barely speak to be planning lessons. I am certainly not moving myself forward after that display. Oh well. I think the score is now Japanese 999,986, 923; Rachel 0.

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