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1. Weeks it took to get your TEFL certification: 2
2. Weeks of training to teach English at your English Conversation School: 2
3. Schools taught at per week: 5
4. Hours worked a week: 29.5
5. Hours worked a week at your job back home for roughly the same pay: 40
6. Minutes you’re expected to arrive before a shift: 10-15
7. Punch-in time: 14:25
8. Delicious-smelling meters between school and a Coco Ichiban Curry House location: 50
9. Scheduled meal breaks: 0
10. Maximum number of children taught per day: 40
11. 3 year-old nose pickers: 2
12. 5 year-old toe suckers: 2
13. Exquisitely adorable toddlers who like to climb into your lap: 5
14. Students who steal your shoes: 2
15. Maximum number of reward stickers a student may earn during a lesson: 3
16. Times the Japanese word for “poo” is shouted in a single class: 35
17. Blinks of shock when you’re first told about “kancho” – a Japanese schoolchild “game” involving their pointed index fingers and someone’s backside: 5
18. Times fellow teachers are kancho’d before the blessed event happens to you: 5
19. Tries it takes for the child to hit the bullseye that is your unsuspecting backside: 2
20. Number of reward stickers you deduct for a kancho attack: 1
21. Times you have to tell your friends back home, “Kancho is real and it happened to me” before they believe you: 25
22. Maximum number of adults you teach per day: 16
23. College students who say rap inspired them to learn English: 5
24. Businessmen who think you’re a hostess: 1
25. Cool, collected homemakers whose exhausting schedules humble your 29.5 hour workweek to the point of shame: 5
26. Gorgeous grandmothers who surprise you with a fan with which to accessorize your yukata on Gion Matsuri: 1
27. Times you must remind your adult students: “’Go shopping’, not ‘Go to shopping”: 4
28. Times you must show a student how to make the “L” sound: 15
29. Photos taken with students who’ve passed a Level Up exam: 3 – yatta!
30. Students reached that day: 5, maybe 6
31. Punch-out time: 20:25
32.Yen spent on a plate of CocoIchiban curry rice three minutes after punching out: 700
33. Cans of beer enjoyed on the train home: 1



About The Author

Eva Sandoval

Eva is an American freelance travel writer who has lived in four countries in the past four years. She likes to write about her daily humiliations as an expat. She is currently living - and driving very badly - in Terracina, Italy.

  • Turner

    Drinks consumed before your karaoke singing sounds like Susan Boyle: 5.

  • EvaSandoval

    10 drinks for me! Iki iki iki iki!!

  • Anne

    This was great! I had repressed all memories of the Korean version of kancho from my year of teaching there… only a handful of kids participated, but boy was their aim good.

  • ESLinsider

    Funny. It looks like your work schedule was about 6 hours a day. I think I had only one job where I worked 40 hours a week in my years teaching abroad.

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