These two stories come from former ALT Arianne Williams.
Area ALT Uses Own Incipient Insanity To Teach Grammar, Colloquialisms
Local Assistant Language Teacher Ann Green is using a new kind of teaching tool in Hirono’s classrooms—her own fragile mental health.
“I’m going nuts!” said Ms. Green recently to a room full of sixth graders, pointing to a bag of cashews. “See? Nuts!” She then proceeded to jam the roasted, salted snacks into her ears, gibbering inanely and drooling.
“We are all very impressed by this new method!” gushed supervising teacher Suzuki Yuuko. “It’s new and interesting. The students get very excited!”
That was certainly true during Ms. Green’s team-taught lesson last Thursday, which was held on the playing field of Hirono Junior High School.
“Loooosing my marbles! Loooosing my maaaarbles!” she chanted, as 8th-graders watched and waited. Suddenly, she used a slingshot to send a marble through a school window. As some students raced to find the marble amid the shattered glass, others were sent into the school’s pool, through a sewer grate, and across a busy highway. But the dedicated educator never let up, continuing to shoot marbles until she found that her pockets were empty, whereupon she collapsed into a fetal position.
“Can anyone find my marbles?” she whispered, utilizing the target grammar construction can anyone ~ ?. “Can anyone find them?” Students repeated the sentence.
At first, some were skeptical of the new lesson plans. “When she started doing things this way, I thought, maybe no,” said English teacher Watanabe Kumi. “Maybe in America this sort of thing is normal, but I wasn’t sure if it would work so well in Japan, where things are different.
“But then, she covered herself in paste and stuck herself onto the ceiling of the classroom—I don’t know how,” Ms Watanabe continued. “When the glue finally gave out during second period and she fell three and a half meters to the ground, the students cheered! Then I knew that this was a good plan.”
This engaging, interactive teaching style has brought the community together, as was evident during last week’s town-wide “English Breakdown!!!!”, spearheaded by Ms. Green herself. Hundreds of students, parents, teachers and others congregated at the town hall to practice English and snack on fruit, provided by the local supermarket at Ms. Green’s request.
“We’re not sure why she specified bananas, but we’re happy to contribute,” enthused a supermarket employee.
The event culminated in a show-stopping performance by Ms. Green herself. As the audience watched, the ALT attempted to hotwire a car belonging to Mayor Takagi Hiroshi.
“I think she blew a couple fuses,” said Mayor Takagi afterward, “but I’m sure it will be fine. Really, I’m impressed she managed it at all, especially considering how much her hands were shaking. I guess in America everyone can steal a car!”
Ms. Green then drew a student volunteer from the audience, ten-year-old Nishimaki Daiki. She escorted the proud 4th-grader to the driver’s seat and gave him an oversized nametag reading “CRAZY”. In a loud, easy to understand voice, she declared to the town at large, “You’re driving me, Crazy!”
“It was a very good lesson,” Daiki’s teacher, Kubota Yukari, explained later. “We’ve been learning about commas.”
The car then pulled onto the highway and disappeared.
“The last we saw, Daiki was trying to see over the dashboard and Ann-sensei was hitting herself with her shoe and screaming,” said Ms. Kubota. “Daiki looked very happy to be learning English.”
Mayor Takagi considered the event an enormous success, and expressed hope that Ms. Green’s innovative ideas will soon be implemented in classrooms all over Japan. However, he is not without concerns.
“I do wonder when they will get back,” he admitted. “Not only is Daiki missing marching band practice, but Ann-sensei ordered 2,000 kilograms of bat guano to the town hall, and we don’t know what to do with it.”
Area ALT Changes Outfit, Name
In a move sure to startle the Wakaba educational community, the local Assistant Language Teacher once known as “Ann Green” has, as of approximately 7:12 this morning, changed her clothing and her name.
The former Ms. Green will now be going by “Ann Yellow”, and wearing a yellow cardigan.
Although the move has been unsettling to students and teachers alike, this is reportedly not the first time Ms. Yellow has made such a drastic change to her appearance and legal identification. Coworkers attest that it is, in fact, a near-daily occurrence.
“She wore green for the first few weeks of school. At that time, she was Ms. Green. The children were very surprised when she became Ms. Red, and when she wore red,” says her supervising teacher, Ms. Sato.
“That was still better than last winter, of course,” she added. “It was so hard to teach the students to say ‘Ms. Natural Wool Color, Sort Of A Beige’. And she was always wearing this really ugly sweater.”
Frustrating as it may be, some students seem to like their unpredictable English teacher.
“My favorite was when she was Ms. Pink, because that was when she had clothes that were pink,” says 11-year-old Suzuki Kaori. “I like pink. I also liked Ms. Pink.”
Others are even more appreciative. A group of ninth-grade boys expressed their fondness for a certain outfit worn by Ms. Near-Transparent White.
Whatever the reaction, there is no doubt that Ms. Yellow’s frequent revisions, both nominal and sartorial, are puzzling.
“I wear basically the same thing every day,” said Ms. Sato. “I don’t see why she can’t do the same. It would be so much less confusing. And maybe some consistency would encourage her to stop changing her name so much, too.”