The Grand Old 'Self Into'

So, until Muga makes his appearance for the weekly blogging rotation, I guess I will chime in with some thoughts about Self Introductions. Yeah, you all know what I am talking about, those things that we ALTs make with gusto upon our arrival here, and then proceed to dust off ever 6-12 months until we leave. I, myself, am working my way through my 15th rotation of schools using the damned things (owed to the fact that Karatsu City used to rotate its ALTs every 6 months) and I think that it is safe to say that I will be happily anonymous, wherever I go, for the rest of my days so long as my future employer never make me act happy about jumping up and down like a baboon in front of children again. For me, the self-introduction process of ALTs is the finest representation of the "ALT as Clown" attitude that sometimes washes over the teacher room. You know, that exquisitely annoying feeling of walking into a room to hushed giggles and chatter of 40 little people simply because you are a foreigner (and it happens in the classroom, too). Ever get the question, "How did you learn such good English --from a middle school kid--?" That's a special day.

One interesting thing about my self-intro, is that I have cut back the information contained within it by about 75% and the quality of it (I think)has increased by about a 1000%. Maybe it is knowing your audience, maybe it is the timing that results from doing the same show about 200 times (no joke), but I have found that repetition, questions, and silly Japanese based English jokes have become the core of my rendition. Throw in some chocolate, and a Japanese teacher to model the answers for difficult questions (Like: What is your name?") and you got yourself the model JTE/ALT relationship, at least until the next week when they wanna start to teach the text again, and most of us go back to our books, flash cards, and computers in the teacher room. Only thing is that, when I retreat after this latest round, I will never have to make a Matto/Natto pronunciation joke again... and that feels good.

I am sure that I could make some greater insightful something than that, but I got nothing left as I appear to have left it all of the stage today. Alas, some might say that all the world's a stage, but Shakespeare never knew about Japanese students and that weird little rise that the builders put into the floor under the blackboard in Japanese classrooms. That thing sucks; it blocks your movement and only adds to the baboonishness of the whole endeavor when you trip and fall and lose the chalk that you had in your hand... I hate that thing.

Everyone enjoy the last of the Hanami! Still have few days left.