Hi there,

I have been teaching English for about 13 years in England and Japan, the past nine years. I teach adults.

I got my CTEFLA in 1993 (now CELTA), and have been reading books, attending seminars etc. on EFL/ESL since then - I consider myself a half-decent teacher I have always thought I have one good skill, and that is my ability to stay cool, and have a high-level of patience with students. Until recently...

There are three particular students I have, in different classes; please allow me to describe them:

1. Male - late 40's. Sexist, xenophobic, selfish, stubborn and immature. English ability - Advanced.
2. Female - early 30's. Proud, insecure, egotistical and stubborn. English ability - Intermediate.
3. Female - early 40's. Aggressive, overly-confident, and condescending. English ability - Intermediate.

Classroom scene:

1. Speaking to female student: "Why don't you undo the top button of your blouse?" Or, speaking to me in front of other students especially female, "Boobs... Tits... Mother F*cker".

*Teacher mode off: This guy needs a serious slapping.
*Teacher mode on: That will accomplish nothing.

2. Other student says: "I went to this place recently, it was great!" Problem student says, "Oh, that's a cheap place, I went to a really expensive place recently...". Or me and her talking: "You made a grammatical mistake", her, "You're not listening to me, I didn't make a mistake!" me, "I don't want to listen to you repeating the same mistake over and over." her, "You're still not listening to me" - she repeats the same totally incorrect sentence...

Her boyfriend pays for everything by the way, including the school fees...

3. New teacher joined recently and this happened in their first class:
New teacher: "I don't like smoking because it kills".
Student: "I love smoking, and you will probably die before me anyway".
New teacher: "How is that?"
Student: "You'll probably get hit by a truck".

And that was their very first meeting - conversation. Or another situation:
Me (joking): "I've lived in Japan for 10 years now, wow it's like I'm Japanese!".
Her in an irritated and condescending voice: "No... No! You are a foreigner. You can't be Japanese. You are a foreigner." - I've known her for over two years...

These are just a very few of what we get every day in my school. And the Japanese staff? Well they just teach grammar and drills. They don't see the personal sides of these students, they get good behaviour. In the 'Native' class, we get the real faces. When I explain to, I actually just explained this to my Head teacher, he just laughed. As it is in Japan. Japanese staff do not know and often do not want to deal with such realities. So it is left to us to deal with things alone.

But what can I do? When I see a student be blatantly rude to another, I lose my cool. I take it personally when a student insults another. This didn't happen before... But now it does, I am being affected... Infected by the inappropriate behaviour of my students and it is damaging my lessons.

To those who think the Japanese are all so polite - you have never lived and worked here. I have had, and still have so many adult students with zero respect for anyone but themselves.

I am actually starting to express my anger in the classroom - and that is a big no-no in Japan.

Any advice is GREATLY appreciated!!!

Peace.