Types of Students You’ll See at English Speech Contests in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot
English Speech Contests in Japan

Being an ALT in Japan, the mantra “it depends on your school” really does dictate your teaching experience. Whether you’ve got preschool kids slapping their backside or you’re being asked if your skin tastes like chocolate, it’s different for all of us in different ways.

However, there’s one common ordeal that all ALTs will encounter at some point in their tenure—the infamous English speech contest.

No matter which term, year, town or school you’re at, this all-too-regular event always follows the exact same plotline. This is largely thanks to the generic roster of competing students who can be categorized into the five following types.

Competitor #1: The “I like cats”

This student will offer a forgettable run-of-the-mill speech about a personal experience that doesn’t evoke any strong debate but just shows they can speak the language and gesture at appropriate times. She’s ready to talk about her cat and talk about it a whoooole lot.

Competitor #2: The train otaku

Yes, out of the 95% female competitors, there rises a single boy. Usually, this one will speak about his passions very… passionately. Perhaps he wasn’t able to express these opinions in Japanese, but he can in English because his classmates probably won’t understand him.

Competitor #3: The returnee

You’ll listen to this student with perfect intonation, pronunciation, and expression, all while wondering if they’re a hafu or not.

*Looks in the program for a Marie Brown or Yuki Smith*

Then BOOM! Right when their account of a deeply personal experience comes to an end the big plot twist is revealed: they’ve lived overseas for a number of years. Surprise!

English Speech Contests in Japan

Competitor #4: The forgetter

Of course, not everyone is as amazing and well prepared as your own prodigy student. Sometimes they’re just there because they’re forced to be. These are the guys …continue reading