So, I recently attended a class where the teacher was unable to communicate with the students.
*cue baffled look*
But I enjoyed the class, even if it didn’t seem like a class so much as it appeared to be a babysitting service.
*cue bewildered look*
It was my first manga class at Inoue School of Language and Arts. It was a very small class, just me and three friends. I think the manga classes aren’t as popular as the language classes.
Our teacher is a Japanese manga artist. We don’t even know his name. He can say about five words of English, none of which gives him the ability to introduce himself.
Logically, I should be peeved that I paid good money ($289 for 8 sessions + $20 registration fee) for a teacher who can’t instruct us effectively. But I appreciate the chance to practise my Japanese, even if my Japanese is only slightly better than his English.
But what really sold me was the fact that our teacher is rather adorable.
I mean, he’s not good-looking in the eye-candy sort of way. He’s like one of those funny Japanese stereotypes you see in Japanese shows. Excessively polite, nervous, bumbling, executing little Japanese half-bows at the slightest provocation.
I find the little quirks of the Japanese quite endearing and delightful, so I felt entertained in class.
The first order of the day was equipment distribution.
Teacher started digging out used pencils from various containers. He then sharpened them one by one. Next, he dug around for used erasers. We each received a sharpened pencil and a cheap battered eraser that must have seen better days.
Next order of business:
We received this sheet of paper with blank little rectangles in which we were supposed to draw.
(The second and third rows were originally empty.)
Using a few words of English and many gestures of sign language, our teacher indicated to us that we should populate all the blank spaces by copying the first row.
He then tried to give us some complicated instruction about doing something differently for the third row but we didn’t understand his sign language.
So I said to him in Japanese: “Speak Japanese!” hoping I would be able to understand his Japanese better than his English.
He looked at me in surpise and said, “Ah! Good!”
He continued trying to speak in English.
In retrospect, I realise what I might have unintentionally said to him was, “I am speaking Japanese,” rather than the imperative “Speak Japanese.”
I should have phrased it differently. But I know what to say the next time!
Anyway, it took us about an hour to complete our assignment. I had the chance to practise more Japanese by asking the teacher a question in Japanese, to which he replied in mostly sign language and some kooky English.
For most of the two hours of class, he mainly sat in the front anxiously flipping through the pages of a large dictionary.
Twenty minutes into the class, he presented to us the fruits of his labour.
He had written these four English words on a piece of paper, which he showed to us:
“Go hear difficult me.”
It was very illuminating, indeed. We immediately felt wiser by his instruction.
After a doubtful conference amongst ourselves, Minou finally said to him, “Do you mean that if we have any difficulty, we should come to you?”
Our teacher looked at her with a polite smile and bow-nodded, but his eyes were stressed and worried. We couldn’t tell whether we had interpreted his words correctly.
Well, we completed our first assignment anyway. He collected our work and gave us another task. This time, we had to draw a giant face. This is A3 size:
(Circles and guidelines were provided in the bottom space. The rest are drawn in by me. Just noticed I forgot to shade in below the chin.)
“Copy,” he said, bowing nervously as he did.
As for our first submissions, he looked at them very briefly and placed them reverently on the tables in front of us.
No, I didn’t misuse the word “reverently”. He really did that. Everything he did was polite and respectful to a fault.
When we finished the second assignment (he didn’t collect those) we received a third one.
I only managed to draw the eyebrows and two circles for the eyes before our two hours were up. (My friends managed to finish theirs, though.)
Our shy teacher then showed me a piece of paper on which he had scribbled several English words and phrases. He pointed to the one that said “Next week”, then pointed at my unfinished drawing.
Then he handed us back our first assignment, saying, “Present for you.”
With that, class ended.
So, in our first lesson, we basically learnt how to copy faces.
There are seven more sessions to go. What will transpire? Will our teacher be able to say more English words? Will there be actual instructions or will we be doodling on worksheet after worksheet for the rest of the course?
Stay tuned for more updates!
Can’t make my guy look the same every time!!