No, this isn’t a post about words that people commonly use incorrectly, such as “their,” “they’re,” and “there.”
Recently another ALT said to me, “You must have less work now that you’re at a high level school.” I gave a weak laugh and said, “No, I have way more work now. These students have more vocabulary which they can use incorrectly.”
The hardest thing at my new school is, without a doubt, checking the English compositions of the “advanced” classes of second and third year students. These are weekly assignments of 100-120 words on questions such as “Should people use cell phones in public places” and “What can we do to stop global warming.” Checking these assignments is mentally exhausting. So far, half of them make the most basic mistake of all: not answering the question. They also don’t understand that paragraphs exist for a reason and there should be order to the way you present your ideas. Half of them don’t seem to understand that lines exist on paper so that you can set the feet of your letters on them. The other half don’t have the common decency to brush the eraser shavings out of their notebooks before turning them in. This is the cream of the crop of a high academic high school? Coulda fooled me.
I’ve taken to typing up my comments so that the JTEs can just photocopy them and pass them out to the students. I did see an improvement in the eraser shavings problem, but the fact that high school students even need to be told something so basic is unbelievable and cringeworthy. One JTE told me that they aren’t taught how to write essays, and I blanked, wondering why I was told to check an assignment the students were known to be unable to do.
The homerooms that do these assignments are ones that I don’t have class with, but I told the two JTEs that I would like to go to one of their English classes and explain the how and why of essay writing. Otherwise, I’m going to ask the JTEs to give them a different homework assignment. There is zero point to having them write essays if they don’t even understand what the point of paragraphs is.
Well, at least there is a small handful of students who do get it, and others improved from the previous assignment to the next. I hope it can get to a point where I don’t wanna jump in front of a train after each “essay” I read. >o<;
In much happier news, last weekend I went to go see GACKT and his side project band YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz for two nights at Zepp Fukuoka. Then this weekend I got together with some girl friends for a “Josei Matsuri” in honor of the YFC shows. We dressed up YFC style, watched music videos of GACKT, YFC, and our favorite female artists, and I even gave them a little quiz! ^o^ Enjoy a couple of photos.