Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The adventures of Emily-sensei

It took a bunch of middle schoolers looking at my pants and giggling for me to even notice the stain beside my crotch today.

And tomorrow might be the end of the world. And it`s all my fault.

I thought it would be a great idea to make fake `Emily money` to give out to the kids for winning games and completing certain activities.

Some of the students are completely unmotivated to participate in English class, so I thought it would be a good way to bribe them into being excited about learning my native language. I got the idea out of the JET Program book that has been passed from ALT to ALT at Eimei Junior High. I decided that just because I am a JET reject doesn`t mean that I can`t be one of those above-and-beyond kind of teachers.

They make it sound so easy. Just give the kids play money with your face in the middle, and be amazed by how much they love learning English.

I did as the book suggested. I found a $100 template on the Internet and put
my picture on it.

I started giving the money out cautiously, because I didn`t know what the students would be able to do with it later. The only idea I had was to give the person with the most money from each class a special prize at the end of the semester/year. Two of the teachers didn`t really seem to care either way about the money, since they had their own stamp reward system already in place.

But one teacher was really excited. She started asking me to give the kids money for any small accomplishment, like completing a not-hard word search in 10 minutes or saying an easy tongue twister.
There were times when I ended up giving the whole class money, which might sound like a good thing, but we all know what happens when there is too much money in circulation.

I didn`t worry. I still believed that I would only have to give out a few prizes at the end of the year, which I could easily obtain from the ¥100 shop (i.e.,dollar store). The thing that I didn`t take into account was the legacy of past ALTs, who were also inspired to above-and-beyondness by that cursed JET book. One of them made a prize list and had a little shop all set up for kids to buy prizes from. And now I have to do it too.

I bought a bag full of stuff from the ¥100 shop, feeling triumphant over any potential crises that this reward experiment may have spawned.

But the enthusiastic teacher said that it wasn`t enough; some students had about $1,000 in Emily money. So I had to stay at school late yesterday and accompany said teacher to the store to buy more prizes. I`ll eventually get reimbursed in October, but who knows if the world will last that long?

Tomorrow, the prize lists will be posted on the bulletin boards in all the classrooms and the kids will start coming. They will follow me all day. They will hunt me down mercilessly and demand stickers, erasers, and pencils in exchange for the phoney currency that I created. Next, they will demand drugs and precious gemstones. I will use up all the packs of paper in the copy room trying to appease them, printing and cutting and cursing fate for putting that JET Program book in my desk in the English room.

They will not rest until all the prizes have been bought, and then they will get angry. There will be a riot. The school will burn down and next they will destroy the entire city of Chino. Maybe they will make a bomb with all the Emily money prizes and blow up Nagano ken. The bombs might trigger earthquakes throughout the Pacific Ocean, causing untold damage and destruction throughout the planet.

Japan will blame it all on me and demand that I pay for the damages. And they will lock me up because I will have nothing but useless pieces of paper to give them.


  1. And that is why teaching costs so much money! The only advice that I would have for you is to see if maybe you could do a big class reward if the students are willing to pool all of their money together. Also, you could always make a smaller bill worth less money, and give those out for smaller less impressive tasks.

    Good Luck!

  2. What a war zone! Good luck!!

  3. Hahaha! Those are smart kids. Wait until the start counterfitting their own Emily money...

    -Michael C.

  4. hahaha oh nooooo I will remember this when I start teaching!