The English I am exposed to on a daily basis would surprise you. When my students have exams or holidays, I am left in the staffroom to plan lessons, make games, write blog posts or simply look busy—which means limited contact with my precious students. On certain days, I could talk to my fellow English teachers for hours or hilariously converse with teachers outside of the English office. However, on others, I am left on my own to get my daily dose of interaction.
Although my Japanese is slowly improving, my students are still well aware that their English prevails. Therefore, even those who struggle with English find it entertaining to communicate with me. For example, this morning a group of first-year boys sat near me on the train. After getting my attention, one student confidently proclaimed, “I have a watch.” Me too homie. And, so does Flavor Flav. Another, has recently concluded that my name is conveniently similar to the word ケーキ, “ke—ki,” the Japanese word meaning “cake.” His new favorite hobby is saying, “I like ‘ke—ki.’ I like Katie.”
Further, to add to the day’s eclectic English, this afternoon, as the spring breeze was blowing into the window, so did the sounds of Queen’s, “We Will Rock You.” With further inspection, one of my favorite teachers and I realized this throw-back jam was pumping from the gym’s sound-system. The students were jamming in P.E. class. Nothing readies one for success quite like Queen.
Hearing the gym’s speakers reminded me of practicing with the girl’s basketball team. I don’t practice with the team often, but when I do I can always count on listening to some solid jams. As the team prepares for practice, the managers act as deejays. Being 16- and 17-year old girls, of course, they love boy bands. Being Japanese, of course, they are on a slight delay in regards to American pop-music. So, during one practice, instead of singing Justin Bieber songs, I was taken down memory lane alongside The Backstreet Boys. With fond middle school memories of Brian, Howie, Nick, A.J. and Kevin, I felt the need to tell this favorite teacher of mine about said basketball practice and my love for those backstreet boys. I sang him a little “I Want It That Way” and told him about the rival band, ‘NSYNC.
And, how do you think he responded? After hearing the word backstreet, with a smile and big eyes of understanding, he said, “I suppose you liked them because they were bad boys with good hearts.”
Watches, cake, Queen and a personal love analysis? I think today’s English interactions were a wild success.