If you’re reading this, there’s a 87.6% chance you’ve taught English in Japan at some point. You want your students to like you, but not REALLY like you. Japanese culture is couched in shyness and indirect communication, so here are a few indicators that your private might be trying to bust a move on you.
1) He constantly tries to communicate outside of your lessons. I’m not talking about a super diligent student that has a grammar question every so often. I’m talking about the weekly deluge of email asking about your personal life. How do you like Japan so far? Isn’t it hot out? Would it be okay if I saw you naked soon please? Thank you!
2) He constantly mixes his personal life into the lesson. This guy wants you to know how awesome he is, and more importantly, how perfect for you he is. His assignment was to use the words “sublime” and “coliseum” in a sentence and he gave you:
I will make a sublime husband due to the coliseum of cash I have at home.
3) He constantly gives you compliments. As a rule, the teacher-student relationship usually doesn’t include compliments beyond “you’re a good teacher,” so when your private student emails you after the lesson to tell you how beautiful your bag/skirt/innermost soul is, it might be a red flag.
4) He constantly tries to extend the lesson. Often privates can become friends, and often privates want to work hard. But if your private suddenly becomes very diligent, and requests a four-hour lesson, 100 kilometers away at a romantic ryokan for couples… it might be time to move on.
5) He constantly tries to find out if you’re single. Because the direct question is too obvious, he finds ways to try to get you to reveal any significant other in your life during the lesson. During a conversation lesson in past perfect, he asks, “Had you and your extremely unworthy boyfriend been to Odaiba before?” When you answer with a vague, “no,” he immediately offers to take you.
Hahaha I died at “coliseum of cash” thanks for the interesting read!
Hahaha I died at “coliseum of cash”. Thanks for the enjoyable read!
I don’t have a percentage to place on it because there is no true way to know – but the perception came out of somewhere. The ideas floating around that Japanese girls are “easy”, foreigners can easily pick up girls here and the like – there are websites devoted to this – and tons of guys walking around spouting the same virtues.
It’s definitely a 80/20 split between guys and girls coming here to meet someone. Definitely.
The reason to quash the issue is because it’s inappropriate. If you are a teacher, whether working at a school or doing private lessons, you should set the student straight at the first sign of such inappropriate behaviour. Your line of reasoning is the same as if a women’s boss starts touching her inappropriately or making passes at her – thinking, “I should say something, but I don’t want to lose my job, so…”
I don’t think the percentage of guys ‘looking for something to happen’ is as large as you think, although it is a common perception. I wasn’t, and a decade teaching here no more than 10-15% of guys I’ve met have expressed that as their reason for coming. One in ten isn’t huge. Also, I have known women who have come hoping to meet Righto-san, not large numbers, but they are out there.
Also, why ‘quash the issue’ and make the person feel uncomfortable and lose a student when you can just go on with life until you or they move on or away? Seems a bit confrontational to me.
Anyway, thanks to Cynthia for sharing the woman’s side of things. Keep them coming.
Thinking the main difference between guys who come to Japan to teach English vs. girls who do the same is that by far, most of those girls are here for the experience (work, life, culture, etc) and a large number of the guys are looking for something to happen between the student and themselves.
If you are a male teacher and things have gotten to the point where you already have 6 examples to list, it sounds like at least 4-5 too many and something should have been said or done to quash the issue. But most guys would let it play out much longer because of the sense of them buying into the whole ‘foreign prince’ mystique.
I think girls here can be pretty cutthroat over men, but since I didn’t hear directly what was said, I can’t vouch it wasn’t exaggerated or twisted. I know a ton of guys who have married former students, so I suppose there’s no problem if it’s mutual and age isn’t an issue, just didn’t feel right ‘poaching’ my students myself. I always felt not mixing work and private life was safer, especially with the power differential between teacher & students. Maybe not so big a deal in the ESL edutainment game, but the principle is worth respecting.
Wow that is wild Ted- to badmouth a bride on her wedding day is pretty extreme. I think the no-dating students thing is a good policy. It’s enforced at most schools but private lessons you’re really on your own. The girls I spoke with said that their interactions were generally harmless, but it could get sketchy pretty fast. Thanks!
Thanks Girl… I’m silly sometimes. Yeah I never thought of that. All of the girls I interviewed for this piece generally had the same experiences, but they are all relatively new teachers in Japan. I’ll have to talk to some long timers about their stories. Good idea!
This was a fun post ^_^
What I’d find really interesting is whether anyone has had an experience where a student was interested (or indeed, not interested) but they misunderstood the signs due to the cultural barrier. The points you make here are red flags certainly in western cultures, but I suspect there are clues that would fly right by an inexperienced foreign teacher or (vice versa) such a teacher might accidentally give the wrong impression.
Hmm. Not sure. I’ve never had a female student hit on me.
Thanks. I thought it was funny. 🙂
1) … tell you where and when they hang out and oh you’d love it why don’t you come tonight?
2) … ask about your personal life and interests and share an interest in your interest which is mainly interest about you
3) … tell you often you’re ‘Cack kwee’, as they do with just about any foreigner guy, but with a rise in intonation on the ‘kwee’
4) … hang around and chitchat after lesson when you’re trying to get the next group in, or else just hang and talk to the secretary coincidentally whenever you have class
5) … ask if you have a girlfriend, what kind of girls you like, why didn’t your old relationships work out
6) … come to your wedding and badmouth the bride because you could have done lots better
Does this same thing hold true for female students as well?