Teaching In Socks


I mentioned the war once…
August 7, 2008, 3:19 am
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Yesterday was the beginning of my company class stint. Twice a week, I bike through a muggy haze past the city castle and down to a local industrial refinery. By the time I arrive, I look like Chris Farely from “Tommy Boy”, had he run the mile in a suit and put on some glasses. The sweat stains are abundant and impossible to conceal. I’m sure it’s a good look for me.

The factory consists of a couple of smoke stacks and an administration building. I go the administration where they quickly escort me to a meeting room with industrial strength air conditioning. Apparently my need of such amenities is visably obviously.

I’m not sure exactly what they do as this compound. While I have seen their finished products, I don’t really have the Japanese or English vocabulary to accurately describe them. I can only say, composites are involved

After a few minutes of cooling down, the workers start to roll in. I say workers, but that’s probably not the proper nomenclature. They are all talented scientist of some sorts. They all wear factory issued blue, grease-stained jumpsuits and almost uniformly sport the type of eyeglasses you would expect Japanese scientists to wear. From what I can tell, they are an intelligent bunch. When they are able to express it in English, it’s evident their science knowledge clearly surpasses mine.

Unlike all my other classes, I teach this class out of an American high school science text created by the Discovery channel, that was selected by my predecessor. It’s basic a science, and we work on vocabulary and pronunciation, so they can converse coherently with their Anglophile customers. It’s simple and fun, however there is one hitch

Upon flipping through the book it became evident to me one of the reasons my predecessor decided to move on when he did. The last unit he taught was unit 9. This was basic bio-chem stuff: polymers, hydrocarbons, your run of the mill photosynthesis unit. When I arrived last week, I got to teach the review of this unit. So this week we move on to unit 10. what is unit 10 you ask? that’s right, it’s Nuclear physics!

These next few weeks might be full of some uncomfortable silences. I asked my teaching trainer,who’s British, if this would be awkward and he just chuckled and walked away. Cheeky twat. I took the liberty of flipping ahead in the book to skim the entire unit, and yeah, there’s a picture of a mushroom cloud….thank Discovery Channel. For the month of August I will be doing my best Basil Fawlty impression, running into doors, abusing the help, while trying to talk around the 600lb gorilla in the room.

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