Friday, May 6, 2011

Lesson Planning Time: The Great Debate

I have met a lot of foreigner English teachers during my time in Japan so far. I guess it is only nature because I work in the same field. While it is true that there are a lot of shitty English teachers in Japan, there are also some who are really good. It is hard for me to judge myself so I usually rank myself above average. I feel there is still a lot I need to learn before I can call myself an elite teacher. I still want to go though a TESOL or CELTA course to get the experience of formal, and effective, training. Most of what I have learned has come from actual teaching experience and shop talk with teachers I consider to be really good at teaching. Yet, there is one thing which I have spent endless hours talking about with some damn good teachers; lesson planning time.

It is a must to have enough lesson planning time. It frustrates me to no end when I am not given enough time to plan a decent lesson. I hate having to rely on just the textbook to teach a lesson. Actually, I prefer to use a textbook as only a guide when planning a lesson. Too many companies expect a teacher to beat the hell out of lessons from one textbook for several years. A lot of companies also will not offer any new material for the teacher to work with. Combined that with the fact that lesson planning is often reduced to 10 to 15 minutes, and any teacher who gives a damn will soon find themselves beating their head against the wall until they are left with a bloody stump for a brain.

I usually end up trying to write up lessons at home. I want to give students damn good useful lessons so I do all the leg work myself when I have the time. It usually takes me two hours to write up a decent lesson. I do it all when it comes to writing my own lesson. From topic, language to be taught, and activities it can take a while to put the whole thing together. This would not be such a big problem if it was not for the arrogance I run into from management. Usually foreigner management understand how damn hard I am trying and gives me little shit for writing my own lessons. Most of them encourage me to give it my all. Yet, the J-management can be the biggest gang of assholes when it comes to teachers who try to move beyond doing everything straight from the textbook. Let me be clear, this is not a anti-Japan rant. I am simply speaking from experience.

I have been mocked and laughed at by a lot of J-management when it comes to creating my own lessons. I don`t understand this at all. It is like they `be damned` if a teacher can go beyond the piss poor training they think is the end all of end all to shape a good teacher. Foreign trainers really do try hard but in many cases their hands are tied. They have to reduce training to nothing more than evaluations and little in the way of improving a teacher`s ability actually occurs. Try to talk to J-management about it and its like talking to a fucking brick wall. They just don`t listen to anything which comes out of a teachers mouth. I mean god damn what is it? Fucking pride! I am not in the habit of kissing someone`s ass just to get them to take me seriously. It is clear that I try damn hard to up my game as a teacher and if someone wants to laugh off my efforts then I consider that very sad indeed.

Apart from dealing with a damn brick wall attitude I still want to find a way to have more time for lesson planning. Usually, I work on lessons when I have nothing better to do but that needs to change. I am currently putting myself on a more strict life discipline plan and scheduling certain times to create lessons is going to be factored into this. I want to at least have three times a week in which I sit down for several hours and work on lessons. I know I will have to do this at home because the company I currently work for is not going to give me, or pay me, to be at work and create lessons instead of teaching. Well, I am not making my own lessons for the company. I am doing it for myself and the students. I believe that students deserve more than getting the same old tired lessons over and over again from a textbook which is way past it`s prime.

So what do yall think? How much time should a teacher need every week to plan lessons? I want to hear a lot of opinions so spread this post around to other teachers you know of who actually give a damn about quality.    

Thursday, May 5, 2011

So Drunk I Cannot Remember...This Shit Needs to Come to an End

Getting drunk is fun. I will never say that it is not. I have had plenty of good times, and a few bad times, getting wasted. I have endless tales of my drunken adventures I could share, if only I could remember exactly what happened. Yep, I tend to get so drunk that I have trouble remembering exactly what happened. It is a problem that needs to be dealt with. You see, I know a lot of people who get hammered on a regular basis. They will never admit it. Instead I am sure they would rather point the finger at me then face up to their own problem. It is damn easy to be a crazed drunker in Japan and get away with it. Heavy drinking is part of the culture. People get shit faced daily here. I am not the best person to give advice on drinking. I have drank myself stupid so many times that I cannot say to anyone, `You need to slow down.`

Lucky for me, I do not drink everyday. I don`t have that kind of issue with drinking. I do know a few folks you do drink everyday. That is their business and fine by me. What I am tired of doing is getting so damn drunk that I cannot remember most of what happened. I am usually able to remember everything until the point in which I either blackout or start to feel like I want to puke. After that point everything becomes fuzzy. I am simply tired of doing it. It guess binge drinking is a way to deal with the daily stress of living a very large urban area. The isolation can take its toll on me at times. I keep a lot of shit pinned up inside of me and it finally comes out though drinking or when something finally happens that pushes me over the edge. I am sure that the damn binge drinking is not a good way to deal with a mass amount of stress which has been bottled up for a while. I only end up drunk as a skunk and unable to function. Yeah, the stress gets released but I am doing more damage then good. So, I have two options: stop drinking all together or teach myself how to be a social drinker. Both sound like pretty good options to me so I have no problem making alcohol a much smaller part of my life.

It is all part of a larger process I am going though. There are things I desire to change about my life. Not putting up with people`s shit is one them and I am getting that handled currently. One of the other big things is binge drinking. It may be a normal thing here in Japan but I cannot do it anymore. It is not fun anymore. It fucks up my body and makes me a hard person to deal with. There are plenty of other things I could spend my money on than getting trashed. I am lucky I don`t do it everyday or I might be dead by now. At least once a week I have been getting shit faced beyond any acceptable level. It is going to end. I know it will make me a lot more healthy. It will also let me get inside my head easier. I would rather drink a nice cup or bottle of tea to relax than get drunk to the point of no return.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You Don`t Dismiss me...I Dismiss YOU!

You know, dealing with other`s shit is a daily struggle which everyone tries not to explode over. Usually I bite my tongue and try not to say something which will only make things worse. I don`t know if it is just my damn twisted luck, but I seem to deal with a lot of stomach zombies. I try not to say so much to these folks because I know they lack the ability to think for themselves. The best they can do is repeat what the news and authority tells them while being a little smart ass prick. It is these kind of folks who seem to fill my life with such mindless stupidity way too often.

Let me give yall a classic case example.

So, I was drinking with a guy I know recently. I have known him for a while. I like him pretty well and have hung out with him a lot. He is an alright guy to hang out with most of the time. I know from spending enough time with him that he has spent his life being fed lies and a heavy dose of brainwashing from society at large. I don`t blame him for that because most people have been though the same process and fail to break out of the cycle. Although from spending enough time with me, he should know by now that such shit does not work on me. I don`t buy into it at all. I have a free mind. I fill my head with things other than porn, sex, social dogma and lies from the powers that be. Yet, it is clear he either cannot or will not accept some basic truths about me and how I see the world.

After buying a beer and some fries, which I share, he feels it is time to get up in my shit about something. Before I go any further, the thing that really gets me is that a lot of people feel they can get up in my shit but I cannot fire back at them. Too many fucking people feel they have some kind of right to fuck with me about anything they choose. It really pisses me off! Anyway, he felt the need to give me shit because from day one of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster I said it is melting down. I said that on facebook and to several other people. A nuclear meltdown is something which is scary and not pleasant. It is something I never wish to see happen in any nation for any reason. Given the history of TEPCO and the Japanese government as soon as I got news about Fukushima I knew that fucker was going to experience a meltdown. The J-gov fucks up anything it touches due to greed and laziness. Sadly, it turned out that I was 100% correct. He just cannot wrap such things around his head and will believe all the lies fed to him until the day he dies.

It was fine by me for him to give me shit for saying something which turned out to be true but he had to take it a step further. He dismissed me! Yes, he had to do the one thing that is unforgivable in my mind. NO ONE DISMISSES ME! When I defended my actions he said, `Whatever. You are being combative.` Motherfucker waved his hand at me and walked off! Fuck him! Really! This is how a lot of people deal with being stood up to. They become dismissive. Well fuck all that! I don`t need such people in my life. I don`t need that childish shit in my life. So in the next few weeks I am going to dismiss a lot of fucking people from my life. I don`t need this shit anymore. I have little choice at this point but to cut out a lot of people from my life who think they have some kind of power over me. It is better to just do my own thing and avoid people who I know are a lost cause.

I cannot waste my time with stomach zombies. If someone cannot deal with my direct and no bullshit way of looking at the world. If harsh realities are too much for other`s to deal with then that is not my problem. I laugh, smile and have a lot of love in my heart but I still refuse to live my life in a fucking daze. I will always search for the truth and have no faith in governments which have proven to be trustworthy as a hungry snake. If that is too much for someone...well then fuck `em!    

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Connotative Value of `Fuck It!`

 There are few greater joys in life than experiencing the the pure essence of `Fuck It.` The phrase seems to carry nothing more than a superficial  steam release when hearing it in passing. Yet, it carries much more meaning when one considers the connotative value of the phrase.

It is easy enough to connect `Screw it` with `Fuck It` but those two phrases carry different values. When a person says Screw it, they imply that the situation is hopeless. There is really nothing left to say or do after stating Screw it. You might as well cut your losses and move on. When saying Screw it, it ends all debate and there can be no positive outcome. People are left standing beside themselves struggling to come to terms with the fact you have `walked away` from the situation suddenly. While `Screw it` breaks off all conversation on any given issue or topic, `Fuck it` takes things to a totally new level.

`Fuck It` implies that you have decided there is really only one option. The only thing that can be done is to serve up the harshest reaction to any given situation. This useful expression makes it very clear your intentions as to how you are going to resolve the situation. Your way is the only solution that really matters. It is as much of a warning as it is a statement of self-determination. Look out! A fury of pure raw take no prisoners attitude is about to be added to the mix. Fuck it! Shit is about to get real up in this motherfucker!