how to meet people.

26 March 2011 § 1 Comment

At my work, I teach mostly these things called “free time lessons”. They are forty minute lessons, within anywhere from one to four students. They’re often one-on-one. We have lessons to follow for them, but students can opt to have “free talk” instead, in which they just take the forty minutes to have some conversation with a native English speaker. Today, I had a “free talk” with a nice man, probably in his late fifties, maybe his sixties. Here is a snippet of the conversation, as I can remember it.

Student: So how many people are in your family?
Emi: Well when everyone on my dad’s side gets together, around fifty! My grandparents had eight children, so there’s a lot of us. [I say a bit more about my family, including my mom’s side, etc.]
Student: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Emi: An older brother. He’s a nurse. [I said more than this, but whatever]
Student: How old are you?
Emi: I’m 24.
Student: What does your father do?
Emi: (hmm, what a curious student) Umm he’s into horticulture. Used to do photography.
Student: Do you have a boyfriend?
Emi: (uncomfortable laugh) no, I’ve always known I wanted to come to Japan, didn’t bother with one!
Student:  I have two sons.
Emi: (???) Oh yeah..?
Student: My oldest son is twenty-five. He’s starting a new job in April. He doesn’t have a girlfriend.
Emi: (Oh boy) Ah.. how old is he?
Student: He’s 25. Close to your age!
[Student tells me more about his son, and then seeing that our forty minutes it up, I politely say goodbye]




8 March 2011 § 1 Comment

I made a girl cry today. I think she was just really stressed out. I was doing a placement test, which requires me to ask her a short series of questions to help me figure out what level she is at when it comes to speaking English. It’s straightforward, and nothing bad happens if you do poorly on it. I was pleasant, smiled. The tears didn’t really start until I started doing a demo lesson (a free lesson to give her an idea of what she can anticipate in future classes). I asked if she was okay and she said yes then apologized. It wasn’t until I asked if she needed a tissue that she decided to take out a handkerchief and wipe her eyes. We got through it together.

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