Brave New World

(they always said that sex would change you)

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Jobs in Japan -- FINIS!
Just finished my last day of gainful employment in Japan, which is sort of driving home the you-are-leaving thing. It's weird because I've spent the past four years building up a skillset that I hope never to use again. In my not so humble opinion (and, it must be said, in my student evaluations), I'm a good teacher. I even enjoy myself about half the time. But this stint has also proved to me that I don't want to be a teacher forever, because ultimately, no matter how good you are, your ability to enjoy yourself is at the mercy of whether or not your students suck.

I don't even mean suck as in their language skills, because I've had low level students I adored and high level students who gave me muscle tics at the mention of their name. We (or I do anyway) have the impression that a good teacher should be able to succeed in any situation, any class, make lemons out of lemonade, but that's really, really not the case. I can make conversation on just about any topic now, for any level of English-speaker, but conversation is a two-person game, and a spectacularly unimaginative student can kill that shit dead, no matter how technically proficient they are. I've had lessons flop that I had done dozens and dozens of times before, to good effect, because of students who were congenitally incapable of having an independent thought in their head.

And suddenly that's no longer for me to worry about. (And oh god, I will never again have to play asinine games with other people's goddamn kids.) The Sisyphean task of trying to teach Japan English is no longer my responsibility. It's liberating, that is.

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Felt the EXACT same way when I quit. Amen.

...your ability to enjoy yourself is at the mercy of whether or not your students suck.

This rings quite true. I believe my role teaching calculus for non-technical majors (biological sciences, business, economics, pharmacy) speaks for itself and for the caliber of student to which I am subjected.

Oh, wow, you're leaving Japan? I totally didn't know that, but I guess after Ai left, I was kind of out of your loop anyway. Why'd you decide to go? You seemed to really love it there. (Not that I can talk as I've pretty much moved back to the US now too.)

I do like Japan, but I'm not in love with teaching English -- and while it was certainly tolerable, I didn't want to suddenly look up and realized I'd spent ten years doing a job I didn't like just for the sake of staying there. Moving was a way to forcibly keep myself from getting mired in inertia.

So here I am, back in Texas, reacquainting myself with America.

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