Don’t Forget Your Pencil!

Time for a quick rant about my job as an English teacher in Japan. Before continuing, please read my disclaimer. This post is about children who forget to bring a pencil to class. Do I even need to say more? Surely that’s like going swimming without you’re trunks! If you’re going to school, take a pencil. It really shouldn’t be any more complicated than that, right? Why then, do I have kids who repeatedly […]

Teach English Online

I’ve been teaching English in Japan for over ten years, but I haven’t ventured into online English teaching. However, the internet is now part of our everyday lives, and email is no longer the only common means of communication. People everywhere, young and old, are using webcams, headsets, and software such as Skype to communicate with friends and family. The demand for English teachers is as strong as ever, but students are looking […]

What will Rikuto Be?

I was teaching the future tense using “will” to three Junior High school students today, and since we had some time left at the end of the lesson, I showed them a picture of Rikuto and asked them to write answers to four questions about his future. Here they are for your own amusement! 1. What will Rikuto be in the future? Student 1: He will be an English teacher. […]

Business English for Professionals

Since coming to Japan, I’ve worked in almost every English teaching situation you can imagine. I’ve worked in English Conversation chain schools, I’ve been an ALT in Junior high schools, taught at kindergartens and elementary schools. I’ve done “baby” classes, private lessons in coffee shops, English by email, and even dabbled in video conferencing. The most rewarding form of English teaching for me though, would be Business English. Mitsubishi, Toyota, […]

Disney English System for Japanese

I just learned from my wife that she has sent off a request for a free Disney English System sample DVD. It’s widely accepted that if you want your child to be proficient in a foreign language, then you should start their learning from a young age. The last decade has seen Japan’s “English conversation” schools fall over themselves trying to recruit students at a younger and younger age. For […]

Double without you

One of the biggest difficulties in teaching English to adults in Japan is you are constantly battling against what they have previously learned. Most Japanese have studied English in some capacity for at least six years, most of which, if not all, were at the hands of a Japanese English teacher, and in some cases the teacher wasn’t even an English teacher, just a homeroom teacher reading from an English […]

Politically correct ESL

I used to use some old textbooks called Jack and Jill, in which the words ‘ugly’ and ‘pretty’ were represented by pictures of an ugly girl and a pretty girl. Jack and Jill was published back in the ’70s, but not much has changed in the book I’m using now, Hip Hip Hooray, in which pictures of pretty and ugly mice are used to teach the same words. There have […]