This conversation took place a few minutes ago between Akiyama, Mrs. Betty and I in the teacher’s office. I had returned from a smoke break and overheard the conversation the two of them were having….
Akiyama: …cuz it’s difficult working with ALTs sometimes.
Mrs. Betty: It sure is.
The both look up as I take my seat, smiling sheepishly
Me: Why is it so difficult?
Akiyama: Huh? Oh, you heard that?
Me: I heard you say something about it being difficult to work ALTs, or did I misunderstand?
Akiyama: Oh, well yeah it is, isn’t it? I think it’s important for the Japanese teacher and the ALT to get to know each other’s character, and sometimes that’s pretty difficult.
Me: That’s so true. I agree completely.
Akiyama: Betty-sensei and I were just talking about how lucky we were that we have you.
Mrs. Betty: Yes! You are like a blessing, Mr. Loco.
Akiyama: We’ve both had problems with ALTs in the past.
Mrs. Betty: Yeah, big trouble.
Me: Yeah, me too.
Akiyama: Really? You had problems with other ALTs?
Me: No, with Japanese English teachers…matter of fact, I’m having a small one even now. (I nod towards Okubo-sensei, sitting across the room, and they both instantly understand and laugh.)
Mrs. Betty: That’s terrible!
Mrs. Akiyama; I can’t believe it.
Me: What’s your worst experience Mrs. Betty?
Mrs: Betty: I had this one ALT…he was from Australia….his name was Adam, I believe. Anyway, his pronunciation was big trouble for the students. One time he said to the students, “I’m going to the hospital to die,” and one of my students, a sensitive giirl name Mayumi I rememebr, she started crying hysterically. She adored him, you see, and thought he was going to die! He’d actually said “today” not “to die” but she wouldn’t stop crying all day.
Akiyama and I cracked up.
Mrs. Betty: To daaay. To diee. To daaayy To diiiiee…