Interviews with ESL teachers in Fukuoka

Teachers Jay and MD were interviewed in Fukuoka, Japan. They talk about rent, their cultural challenges, what they enjoyed most, and offer us some classroom ideas for activities.

Here is a transcription of the video which is continued from part I:

...They only care about their people. There is nothing wrong with that. Xenophobic. Thank you Nick.

Why did you guys choose Japan? Japan chose me. I was sent out here. I was sent out here with the military. Back then I liked it, but that was because I didn't know what the country was really about. I came out and saw it for myself and after about 4 or 5 years I am starting to really feel like going home. You really get that out here. I was the same way. I started off in the military. Decided to stay. The military sheltered me in some ways and unfortunately the country doesn't shelter me at all. It's cool it happens. It's been a great experience for good or for bad.

How much do you guys pay for rent? More than you probably pay at home. I'd say that our cost of living would be a lot cheaper than from someone living in New York. At least in our place. I have a two bedroom and living room and it's about $700. But you got to remember that New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Exactly for me I benefit from it. When you can teach at an English school making $25 an hour or teaching privates for $30 an hour. And I even teach at a company that is paying $60 an hour. Yeah it's not that bad. Still it's a lot more expensive than what I am used to. I am from the South and things aren't that expensive like New York.

How much do you guys pay for your cellphones? It's always changing, like $250 and that's without calling home. But when I call home that skyrockets. $175-200 for me. I used to pay like $30 a month for a phone in Korea.

What have you guys enjoyed the most about teaching abroad? Meeting the kids man. Their funny, great, nice. The kids, the kids, the kids. They don't have any boundaries up like you are a foreigner. I don't want to learn from you or anything like that. They're really outgoing and if you get them at the right age say from about 4 to maybe 9 years old. They just want to have fun and play games. It's so easy. Their definitely the best students to have.

Yeah they are just so curious. Curious by nature, all the kids and even the adults. The kids are so curious and they are so fun. They'll sit on you and ask you all kinds of things and tell you about themselves. They're great. The kids are great.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had teaching abroad? Not hearing an honest opinion from your students. If you are teaching in a school the kids will nod their heads like they understand, but then like 5-10 minutes later the manager would ask them if they understood what the teacher was saying. And they would say that they really didn't understand this part and then we end up getting blamed for that. But all along when you are teaching them they are acting like they know.

For me it's been dealing with the parts of the culture. In Japanese I would use the word Tatami. I don't even know what the English word is... white lies. They'll tell you everything to make you feel like this is the way they feel, but in the back of their mind they do not feel that way. It's rather annoying coming from a place that is extremely straight to the point. It feels like you always have to go around your butt hole to get to your you know...

I'd say the challenge is the manners that we have back home and what they are used to out here and you'll have children who will run up behind you and try to put their hands up your ass. Kids couching and sneezing in your face and not covering their mouths. Trying to explain to them why they need to do this. They are just not used to it. When you sneeze I am used to hearing bless you or god bless you. And here you might get a giggle. It's the little things that can be a little challenging.

You can't explain manners to someone if they weren't raised that way. You can't explain our culture to someone. It's just not who they are. That's the biggest challenge trying to acclimatize to someone who is totally not who you are.

Do you guys have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? Heads, shoulders, knees and toes song - the kids love it. How do you play that? Come on, you don't know the song? Look it up, Google it if you have to I am not going to sing that song in the middle of the bar. But thanks for asking. There's nobody here though. I am still not going to sing that song. He can sing it though.

The two tools that I like to use the most are.. The internet. I'll type in children's learning games and put on whatever I like there. If I am teaching at home. If I am teaching at a school I use "Guess who?" a lot. You could always ask a lot of questions. Show them what a beard is, a mustache, different colored eyes, how to say blonde hair instead of yellow. And they ask questions to figure out who the person is. It's really good.

Using a deck of Uno cards you can play "Do you have a ___?" And each Uno deck has two of the same cards with the same color and number. Shuffle up the deck give them out to as many people there are in the group. And they can choose randomly as many people as they want to ask... "Do you have a blue 1?" If they have the card then you match it and that's a bool. And the person with the most books at the end of the game wins.

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