Category Archives: Teaching

Bullying in Japan

Bullying is something I’ve had to deal with when I was in junior high school. However, it’s nothing like the bullying experienced by some kids in Japan.

Recently, there was a boy who was bullied into practicing suicide. He was forced to rehearse many times by his bullies until he finally did commit suicide.

It seems like there are gangs of bullies in schools who target the weak and thrive on power. Teachers are powerless to stop it because of how monster parents threaten teachers if they ever discipline students. Teachers used to be respected, but now the very parents who trust them to teach their children weaken their position.

I don’t tolerate bullying in my classroom. But I really dislike parents whose inability to parent allow their kids to do what they want. They refuse to discipline, so their children don’t fear it. On the other hand, there are kids who are disciplined too much, so they need a way to get their frustrations out. A balance is needed.

The worst thing is that parents turn a blind eye to bullying that goes on in schools and think it’s just kids being kids. They think it’s nothing to worry about. Believe me, it is a serious problem!

If you have kids who are bullying or being bullied, find out what’s happening. You may be shocked. It needs to be stopped.


Filed under Daily Life, Teaching

Public school English in Japan

Japan is falling behind. The state of English education in public schools isn’t very good right now. I don’t think it ever has been. It’s curious how this country teaches English through junior and senior high school, yet the average person can barely speak any English. Why?

It’s quite simple. The way the students are taught English is for tests. They drill them on grammar and vocabulary, as well as reading comprehension, but not speaking. Tests are everything in Japan. Unfortunately, tests don’t show how well someone can use the knowledge in practical situations, they show how well they can study. This system doesn’t encourage independent thought. Independence is something that threatens Japan’s culture of following the group. It may be good for teamwork, but it’s terrible for innovation. Many people don’t seem to understand this. This attitude is changing, but traditions hold strong still. And this is hurting education, which hurts industry. As one student I’ve taught said, “Japan is full of sheep.”

Unfortunately, a lot of English teachers in public schools don’t actually know English very well. I saw a junior high school textbook and couldn’t believe the awkward and unnatural English it used. You can’t expect someone to be good at English with that kind of education.

I’m not surprised Japan has the lowest TOEIC scores amongst its neighbours.


Filed under Culture, Japan, Teaching

Kids say the craziest things

I teach English in Japan, and many of my students are children. They can be a lot of fun, or they can be very frustrating at times. But they can also say some of the funniest things in English. Here is a sample:

“I am garbage!” was randomly said by a boy.

When being told about “Be quiet, please,” a girl said “Shut up, please.”

One kid has a fascination with bodily functions. We were talking about ice cream flavours he liked, and he said “I like doodoo ice cream.”

When spelling out 6, many kids will say “s-e-x.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the knew what they were saying.

One girl keeps accidentally saying “block scissors paper.”

I was drawing a family tree on the board to talk about family members, when a girl drew a heart between my sister and I, then said “Jay Dee loves sister? Love love!”

When I ask if the kids can guess my age, many say 25-30, but one said 50. I’m 35, by the way. Most think I’m younger than I am.

And one more. A kid proudly exclaimed to me, “I am Japan!” The other kids burst out laughing.

If you teach kids, what are some of the funniest things they’ve said to you?


Filed under Humour, Teaching