Seven Basic Tortuous Truths (in verse)

Writer(s): 
Adam Lebowitz
  • 外語苦難模 最高師範 (Model learner, Model teacher) Teachers are behavioral role models, but what does living here 10+ years without basic literacy show? What better way to demonstrate benefits of foreign language literacy than to model it? Raise empathy by suffering with the students: Study 日本語! 

  • 不食不利 (Break no fast, No mind can last.) Teenage circadian rhythm is late to bed, late to rise. Calories and glucose will raise performance in that 8:30 class. Get students to buy an evening onigiri or meron-pan for their pillow to overcome a modicum of sleep deprivation.

  • 臨時常勤 留教師 (Tenure limits limits teaching.) If you have a five-year contract, well-paid, with some administrative work, you can provide one year of quality work max. The first two years are learning the ropes, then two years (if that) being productive, followed by one year focusing on your next gig. Fortunately, the position of the “semi-full timer” seems to be on the way out, because it weakens commitment.

  • 経過長年 短距離文化 長距離世代 (Time defrocks/the culture shock/and provides/generation divide.) The inner-workings of the student mind are unfathomable. Digitalized media is their métier. The bridge between my generation and anyone younger—even my fellow ‘Murakins—is longer than between Nihonjin my age and older.

  • 携帯支配 (Sell control through cell control.) Out of pocket and in the bag at the beginning of class. Case closed.

  • 教育支援 授業外 (Learning begins/Through the Outside-In) In North America, Student Services is growing. Study centers, mental health counseling, gyms, and international student support are all deemed necessary for academic performance. Nihon is behind the curve here. Try raising awareness in your Student Affairs Office.

  • 医系豊益 (The medical seam is the income stream.) Hospitals are major profit-making organs of universities. Medical schools are increasingly influential on campus as subsidies to public universities are reduced. If possible, hook-up with this faculty; the Health Ministry gives bigger chunks of kenkyûhi than the Monbukagakushô, too!

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