Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Repeat After Me

An AET (Assistant English Teacher)'s life is repeating. Many AETs will wax quite a bit about how a great deal of their teaching duties consists of being a human tape recorder.

This is true. I spend a great deal of class time trying various ways to get grumpy, disengaged, junior high school students to chorus repeat and drill various words and sentences out of a desperately bland and uninteresting textbook. I yell, I scream, I do funny voices, I change tempo and stress, I do everything but stand on my head and spit nickles in an effort to get my students to repeat "Would you like some more?" over and over again.

And yes, I don't like it most of the time. It's not particularly interesting for me and I know it's mostly dull for the students, most of whom just tune it out. I will say one thing about it though, it has been great training for life as a father.

If an AET's life is repeating, a father's whole fricken universe is repeating.

"Eat your dinner. No, I said eat your dinner. No, put the train down and eat your dinner. No, put that train down, sit down and eat your dinner. I said, put the train down, get out of your bother's chair, sit down in your seat and eat your dinner!"

If I had some flash cards, I'm not too sure I could tell the difference between trying to wrangle a toddler into his chair for dinner and teaching junior high school students English!

Of course there are other similarities as well. Both groups get pronunciation drills (Say "Apple" Hikaru! Can you say "Apple"?) and both groups will proceed to deliberately mess it up because it's fun to annoy Sensei/Daddy.

Of course, it's not fair because the first group are students and I'm not supposed to yell at them and the second is just too damn cute so I can't yell at him either.

There are some differences of course. One group is shorter than the other, but the first tends to be more energetic about English lessons. The crying from both groups when they don't get their way is the same however.


  1. Wow, someone who understands my day! I have Korean middle school students, though.

    Curious how your classes dealt with Park Jung-woo's display of the "Dokdo" sign at the Olympics.

    I told my students I thought it was unproffesional, "How would feel if Japan won the match and then held up a sign saying Dokdo is Japanese?"

    They hate it when I make them think. Then I told them Dokdo belongs to Canada.

    Anyway, good post and funny to me. I can relate.

    Mark L.

  2. My kids avoid all things political like the plague. Actually, they were less upset about the display than just losing to Korea and of course had a few words for their American teacher regarding Team USA's victory over Japan in woman's soccer.