What Should I Do If a Student Has a Really Nice Pen That I Want?

For a variety of reasons, students often buy expensive pens. Whether these be made of precious metals, have ornate carvings or engravings, or simply have a monogram on them, you will come across students who enjoy spending money on pens. For them to use the pens in the classroom and not ask if you would like to use the pen while teaching is inconsiderate.

First off, under no circumstances should you take the pen under the intention of stealing it, otherwise you can be charged. You will need to take the pen with the intention of borrowing it to avoid any legal issues.

There are several techniques that can be employed to do so; ranging from asking to borrow the pen to distracting the student and moving the pen into a bag or pocket. To ask to borrow the pen, you should have a strong rapport with the student to make the transfer of their pen to your hand as easy as possible. From that point on, depending on your relationship with the student, you can either ask to borrow the pen until the next class or simply put it in your pocket. If the student asks about the pen, you should return the pen and say that you had forgotten to return it.
japanese penIf you do not know the student well enough to ask about borrowing the pen, you will need to use a distraction and take the pen. This is more difficult than it sounds, as many classrooms are small and devoid of distractions. In these cases, it may help to have another teacher enter the classroom and lead the student into the hallways to give them some flashcards, which would allow you enough time to take the pen and replace it with a fake. Other options for distracting the student involve popping balloons under the desk, or turning on a CD player located behind the student.

In the unlikely situation where you are caught, deny that you have the pen, and ask the student questions in English until they become flustered. Remember, in Japan you cannot be charged with a crime if you didn’t intend to perform a crime, so tell everyone that you are holding onto the pen for safety or because you are borrowing it.

How Do I Teach Present Progressive Future Meaning?

Present progressive is the grammar pattern used to express an event or state that is persisting, whether this be “sitting”, “talking”, “watching”, or any other verb. Progressive form can also extend to past, future, and perfect tenses, but the least often explained is present progressive tense with future meaning.

This should be taught immediately after present tense, and preferably before simple future tense, as Japanese has no future tense, and this grammar form most closely resembles their grammar.

iamcoming

The fat man is coming quickly.

Find a picture of a man, and have the student choose a name for the man. This name should be either an American name or a Japanese name, but any name will work for the grammar. Write this name on a piece of paper, and place it next to the man’s picture. Have the student read A in the below conversation, and the teacher reads B. After reading twice, switch roles and perform the exercise again, substituting information. More advanced students can add additional information.

A) When are you coming?
B) I am coming (now/in 5 minutes/at 3pm/etc.)
A) “oh no, too soon!”/”ok, good timing!”

What Do I Do If My ESL Student Takes My Seat?

Imagine entering your car, only to find a stranger sitting in the driver’s seat. They don’t have keys, because it isn’t their car. They turn to you and smile, waiting for you to start the car and drive. This is exactly how it feels when a teacher enters a classroom to find a student sitting in the wrong seat.

Not only is it off-putting, but also creates a hostile environment that hinders learning. When students sit in the wrong seat, either by accident or on purpose, they are disrupting their own learning. By placing the teacher in an unfamiliar position, possibly further away from the whiteboard or across the room from a CD player, the classroom’s calm gives way to chaos. This situation must be rectified as soon as it is spotted.

As a teacher, if you enter the classroom and notice things are amiss, hang back in the doorway for a moment and see if the student realizes their error. If the student doesn’t move, then you should enter the classroom and lightly bump into them, making light conversation in hopes that they realize that they are sitting in the wrong seat. This will prompt most students to move to the correct seat, but if it doesn’t, do not give up and sit down in the incorrect seat unless you want the student to believe that there is no problem.

Many rooms have tables with chairs arranged on opposite sides. If the student doesn’t move, place your seat as close to the student as possible, and suggest that they move to the “empty side” of the table. To entice the student, you can place their homework or textbook in the area where you wish them to sit. For younger students, small candies or stuffed animals work best.

Adult students are oftentimes more difficult to move, as they cannot be physically lifted and moved as easily as children. However, if students are of a high enough level of comprehension, you can ask them politely to change seats. In many cases they will rightfully apologize and relocate themselves.

Although the situation can be very frustrating, it is vital that you do not let your emotions get the best of you. Crying, lashing out, or throwing objects are all acts that will cause the learning environment to become soured. Write any and all emotions that you are feeling on a piece of paper, and share the paper with the student. Introduce any unknown vocabulary via facial expressions, or write the definitions on the paper, next to the words.

How Do I Explain the Difference Between “Ride” and “Drive”?

Teaching the difference between “ride” and “drive” is initially simple; “drive” has many different uses outside of operating a vehicle. However, practicing all of these additional uses can create confusion in the classroom, as there is no similarity between them.

For example;
Mr. Yamada drives a car.
Mr. Yamada drives a screw into a piece of wood.
Mr. Yamada drives his subordinates to achieve success..
Mr. Yamada drives a golf ball over 400 yards.
Mr. Yamada drives a baseball through a window.

carWith no similarity between all of these examples, exclusively using “ride” in reference to cars becomes a lot more appealing, but as all native speakers know, the driver of the car cannot also be a rider in the car. To avoid all of the difficulty associated with learning each meaning, and the associated vehicle for each, simply have the student use “use”.

For example;
Mr. Yamada uses a car.
Mr. Yamada uses a bicycle.
Mr. Yamada uses a train.
Mr. Yamada uses a horse.

By avoiding “ride” and “drive” altogether, a more concise word can be used, making English conversation easier for the listener as well as the speaker.

How Do I Convince My Student That “Sand” and “Sandwich” Are Not the Same Thing?

Due mainly to katakana being used to represent foreign loan-words, foreign words take on many extra syllables when represented in Japanese. Something like “personal computer”, which has 6 syllables, would become “pasonaru conpyuutaa”, which contains 7 syllables. 6 is a lot more comfortable than 7, but most Japanese enjoy , thus it would become the 3-syllable “pasocon”.

Oftentimes, “sandwich” (サンドイッチ) is abbreviated as “sand” (サンド), which has led to most students believing the two words to represent one item. Imagine an English speaker’s surprise upon hearing that their counterpart eats sand. The surprise would be great.

To break the student of the bad habit of expressing enjoyment concerning the consumption of sand, it is good to keep a small pouch of clean sand in the pocket of your suit, allowing for rapid access when the need arises. Fine, white sand works best for this demonstration. Sand may be steamed, microwaved, or baked at 200 degrees for 5 minutes to remove any bacteria.

sand

Sand

As the student begins to mention eating “sand”, reach into your suit to retrieve the pouch, and sprinkle a little on the table. Inquire as to whether the student wishes to eat the sand on the table. The answer will be “no”, to which you would respond “correct. I don’t want to eat sand. Repeat”, and have the student repeat the sentence. Coach the student to say “I want to eat a sandWICH”, placing emphasis on the “wich”.

Under no circumstances should the student be allowed to eat the table sand. It is not meant for consumption.