Category Archives: TEACHING

The Adventures of Banana Teacher 04 - Cold Weather Woes

One of the “strangest” things that I’ve encountered is how the Japanese deal with cold weather and how my students dress during said weather. Every morning my students enter school dressed for the polar regions. They wear jackets, sweaters, coats, mufflers, hats, gloves, etc. But, as soon as they get into the classroom, they change into their play clothes and go outside. Their play clothes consist of shorts and a long sleeved shirt. They proceed to go outside to play in only this. Then, they stand around shivering and bemoaning their situation while the Japanese teachers encourage them to run around to stay warm. This boggles my mind. I can’t imagine this happening in America. Parents there would throw a fit. I understand the reasoning behind this tradition, but I still feel bad for the poor little ones shivering while I wear 7 layers of clothing. Me. Every. Day. …continue reading


The Adventures of Banana Teacher- 03 Boss Queen

One of the most rewarding things about living and teaching in Japan is seeing how much progress your students are making and how proud they get when the can communicate with you effectively. With that being said, there are…times… when things don’t quite make sense or words that you don’t normally use every day are thrust at you with so much enthusiastic force that it makes you pause a bit. Here are some of my favorite phrases that my students have come up with.1. “It’s 3 hot outside.”It was a hot summer day and my students were changing from their swim clothes into their uniforms. I made the comment, “It’s too hot today,” while wiping the perspiration from my brow. My quietest student Ko-kun looked up at me with a deadpan face and said, “No Banana-teacher. It’s 3 hot today.”2. “My an*s hurts.”One of the requrements for my upper level students is to write a weekly journal. I let them choose whatever topic they want. This gives them an opportunity to tell me things that they normally don’t have time to tell me in class. Ma-chan decided that for her weekly journal she would tell me in vivid detail that, “My an*s hurts because I diarrheaed all night.” It was definitely unexpected.3. “You are a boss queen.”I was reading a story to my kindergarten class when the word “boss” came up. I explained to them what a boss was and how it is an important job. Yu-chan looks at me and says, “Banana teacher, you are a boss queen.” Yes, yes I am + power suit = boss queenSituations like these always add a little extra fun to my day. Have your students ever said any interesting phrases? …continue reading


The Adventures of Banana Teacher - 01 Origins

I love being a teacher. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be (unless you count ninja princess as a profession). When I first came to Japan, I spoke zero Japanese. I literally knew nothing about their writing system or pronunciation. I figured that I’d work it out and that it wouldn’t affect my everyday life, but boy did it ever. What I didn’t know, but I am very well aware of now, is that there is no “V” sound in Japanese. So my name, which starts with a “V” got changed to “B”. When my boss introduced me to my first class of rowdy 2nd graders, he said, “This is Banesa-sensei,” which sounded to the kids like “Banana-sensei”. They, of course, thought that this was the best thing since sliced bread and I forever became known as “Banana-sensei” or “Banana-teacher”. I’ve learned to embrace it and now I turn it into a joke when I meet new students. It has become a way to bond with them though humor. …continue reading