In English, reaching orgasm is expressed by many phrases – “Bingo”, “Yahtzee”, “Team Rocket is blasting off again”, etc. However, none are more common than “I am coming”. In Japanese, it is expressed by saying “I go”(行く). There are many mistakes made in Japanese, as they confuse sentences such as “I am going to the store” and “I am reaching orgasm to the store”, and these oftentimes find their way into English lessons.
When the student makes a mistake, confirm meaning by having them demonstrate with their hands. 99% of the time, they mean to express “going” and not “reaching orgasm”.
To practice the difference between the two English meanings, you may practice a roleplay where the student travels throughout a city and reports their activities to you via “phone”. This roleplay should only focus on the literal English meaning of “go”. This will help the student avoid saying anything particularly embarrassing when using English outside of the classroom.
Several years ago we had a student who was confused about ketchup and catsup. This took the staff by surprise. Being native English speakers ourselves, we had never put ourselves in the shoes of the student. We had all assumed that the difference was as clear as night and day, but were surprised to find out otherwise.
In teaching the difference between ketchup and catsup, start by making a list of flavors with the student. Ketchup is universally accepted as being “zesty” and “flavorful” whereas catsup is more “zippy” and “tangy”. After writing down the flavors, have the student associate other foods with them such as V8 juice, bisque, secret sauce, etc. The student will begin to see the clear difference between the two.
To help the student remember, engage them in a roleplay. In the roleplay, you both need to choose a restaurant for a foreign dignitary with very demanding tastes. The dignitary wishes to eat french fries, but you both need to compare the merits of ketchup as well as catsup as a topping. One person campaigns for ketchup, and the other for catsup. When finished, switch roles and try again.
Pronunciation of the word “one” is as important as it is vital. Therefore, a great degree of teaching is required.
As most students revert to lesser pronunciations such as “wun”, “wuhn”, or “won”, it is the duty of the teacher to repeatedly yell “one” while pointing to the written word.
In addition to pronunciation of the word being of higher difficulty for the Japanese students, up until the late 1800s there was no concept of “1” or “0” in Japanese, lending to their concept of teamwork. If they used Katakana to write “team”, it would look like “chiimu” (チーム), but still wouldn’t have an “i” in it because it would have two “i”s.
If the student is unfamiliar with the concept of 1 and 0, it is best to draw an image of a group of people. Ask the student to provide names and short backgrounds for each image of a person. After that has been established, explain that they are all dying, and use a red marker to represent blood, and a black marker to cross out their eyes or draw widows. With one person left alive, say the word “one” and have the student repeat. Draw a representation of death for the final person and say “zero” and have the student repeat. This will help the student to associate the numbers with the concept.
We’ve all had multiple instances of students crying in classrooms, and it never gets any easier to deal with. Crying is a selfish, one-sided behavior that the students resort to when they no longer wish to express themselves with words. Great care must be taken in these situations to get the student to convey their true emotions.
If a student is beginning to cry, tell them to stop firmly, but not menacingly. Place several word cards on the table representing emotions and have the student point to all of the emotions that they are feeling. Often, their lack of vocabulary is what makes them cry instead of flustered, confused, frustrated, annoyed, confounded, perplexed, or enraged. By pointing to these words on the table, the students can let you as a teacher know how they feel, and then you can find the root cause of their crying.
Many teachers have not been properly trained to deal with crying students, despite encountering them on a monthly basis. Sure, it is much easier to throw a book against the wall and storm out of the classroom, but that will not make you a better teacher. Always do your best to pretend you are sympathetic during the class. You can always cancel all of the student’s future classes and cut off contact later.
Years ago, before English was legalized in Japan, ESL students would often congregate in attics and practice reciting the alphabet to candlelight. The country has progressed a lot since those days, with English being learned by everyone in public schools, and being practically applied by 0.03% of the population.
Giving students more chances to use English outside of the classroom allows them opportunities to apply their knowledge, thus solidify it in their minds. Whenever you encounter a Japanese person on the street between the ages of 12 and 60, it can be safely assumed that they have taken an English class, and so will benefit from you speaking to them.
As you pass people, a simple “hello” or “how are you?” is sufficient. When sitting next to them on the train, you have more time to engage them, and can ask more complex questions such as “what is your favorite food?” or “where do you work?”
Everyone will be surprised to the point where they need to mask their delight with fear. Don’t worry if they don’t respond; you are the expert on the language and it is up to you to keep the conversation going at all costs.
The average English conversation with strangers lasts 15 seconds, and your goal should be 15 seconds of uninterrupted speaking. Although they may not engage you as much as they should, do your best to follow them while speaking, until the 15 seconds has passed. Teacher’s duties are never limited to the classroom, therefore you should always strive to be the best teacher, no matter where you may be.