Monday, April 25, 2011

Evaluation Station: Reviews Are In Part 3

Following the 10th graders, my 11th graders have given me their two yen. Below is another assortment of juicy and odd nuggets from the evaluation forms. 

Laugh at them, use them to guide your own teaching of ESL students, or do both, the choice is yours. Grammatical and spelling errors were kept in tact to prove the authenticity of the responses.

Enjoy the ego trip!

"Smells good / Nice Guy / You are our English hero!"

"You said that you like Peanut Butter. Don't eat too much it. Please suggest your health."

"I remember being saying "Bless you" when I くしゃみ (sneezed). I didn't say "Thank you" to you. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. Thank you very much."

"I like doing work with near classmates. Because I like talking and doing."

"Journals are a little hard for me, but it's useful to develop writing ability. So I'll work hard to go on."

"I like your lessons and your hairstyle!!"

"Your voice is occasionally so loud. It always causes me headache. I hope you control your feelings a little."

"I want t go to America!! I want to eat ice cream there."

"I think your English is good to hear."

"I studied a lot of things about English from you. For example, proverbs, comic strips, events in foreign country and so on. (I don't like "Journals")"

"Your funny talk is impressive. The class is good vibration."

"Sorry, I hate Peanut Butter, but I love mayonnaise."

"Your talk is very fun."

"Your story is amusing to me every time."

"Are the peanut butter in America better than Japan's one?"

"I was amused your shout and tension."

"Your transfer makes me sad."

"We occasionally met at not school. Then, I felt happy a little. Talking with you was very exciting."

"Probably you are great teacher. However, I am not too smart to understand your English. I regret to not enjoy too much."

"The red glasses very suits you."

"After you go back to your hometown. You do your best!"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Evaluation Station: Reviews Are In Part 2

Following the 10th graders, my 11th graders have given me their two yen. Below is another assortment of juicy and odd nuggets from the evaluation forms. 

Laugh at them, use them to guide your own teaching of ESL students, or do both, the choice is yours. Grammatical and spelling errors were kept in tact to prove the authenticity of the responses.

Enjoy the ego trip!

"You are a gentleman! I like you."

"I can understand a little word you speaks to us because I am an inexperienced person. But I receive your passion."

"You are cool and I like your clothes!"

"I often met you in the library. You are always gentle. I was happy."

"Your voice is very big. I was surprised at your voice when I joined the first team teaching. I love your voice because I can wake up clearly."

"You are handsome man and funny man, so I like you."

"Halloween in team teaching is my best class. I could learn an American culture and American monsters. I like a wearwolf because it is very cool, I want to take part in the Halloween party and become a cool wearwolf in America."

"You always wore a nice tie. I like your sense of fashion."

"I am not good at English, But Mr. Cravak's class was able to participate by very pleasently and enjoying it."

"I have three wishes. I want your great voice. I want your red glasses. At last, I want your strong body."

"I didn't like English much. But I could enjoy your class Because I like to think story and write some English."

"I wish you to marry a beatiful woman."

"You are a great teacher! But please lower your voice's volume. When you shouted, I was surprised."

"Your voice is too big. So I could unsleep."

"I think a cool you."

"I don't like your class because I'm not good at English. But I wanted to talk with you more."

"It's good that you teach alone."

"I like you very much because your talks are easy to understand and interesting!!"

"I like your class and I like your tie!! My favorite tie is smile's one. It's very suits you."

"I want to work at International airport in the future. So I must study English more. Your class gave me more natural English."

"I enjoyed thinking an original story in English."

"I liked to know about many kind of words which we don't learn in the English class."

"I like you very much. I'm sad to find that you will go back to the USA."

"English is not a language but also a way to communicate with foreign people. I learn English from you."

"Your jokes made me laugh. The better I understand English, the more interesting this class become."

"I like to make stories, it's dood for me to learn grammers and how to tell stories in English. So, I think Journals is also good, but I wanted to check more."

"I like your class since I was first grade in high school. I learned about foreign country's culture and songs through your class."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Taylor Anderson Remembered

Our sincere thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Taylor Anderson, a fellow American and JET.

CBS News has more information on her story and legacy.

For those of you who would like to remember Taylor, I encourage you to participate in "Cranes for Taylor, Cranes for JETs." Fellow JET Kitty Isom posted the following information about this event.

Taylor Anderson was a JET living in Miyagi Prefecture at the time of the Tohoku tsunami. Her body was found Monday morning and was not only the first confirmed American casualty, but also the first JET victim.

In remembrance of her and in hope for all other missing JETs/persons, let's make paper cranes. According to Japanese tradition, cranes are a symbol of long life, good luck, and peace. Although Taylor's life was tragically cut short, perhaps these cranes can bring her family some peace and some hope for others. Therefore, please make a crane and take a picture of it somewhere in Japan (or America, or wherever you are), then post it on the wall of this event. Let's show Taylor's family the country she loved so much.
For a few Taylor was a fellow Virginian, for some a fellow American, and for many a fellow JET. But for all she was person who loved Japan, just like the rest of us.

Just in case you need some help making a crane, here's a website:
And a video:



Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fools in a Bottle

"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."  
- Japanese Proverb

Japan has adopted several foreign holidays into its calendar. Luckily, April Fools Day is one of them. While Google Japan has opted out this year out of respect to the victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, I feel this celebration of childish antics couldn't come at a better time. 

March is typically filled with 'end of the year' parties, and with the recent tragedy, most of them have been cancelled. Even commercials on Japanese TV were pulled in favor of lighthearted animated public service announcements. With life slowly returning to normal, it's time for everyone to smile out loud.

But what to do? There's a great cultural and language barrier between my co-workers and I. I was banking on one advantage...all humans (the cool ones) love to laugh at the absurd. 

I decided to dust off one of my previous 100yen shop purchases. I knew one day a male urine bottle would come in handy, and April 1st was a fitting time to "relieve myself." In the photo copy room I covertly filled the bottle with water, then added generous drops of yellow food coloring. Shook that sucker and presto... FAKE PEE! 

Then I snuck the bottle under my jacket and strategically placed it in this the staff room refrigerator. My hope was that teachers would be appalled to see a bottle of urine placed in the community fridge. The icing on the cake was how all teachers have a mandatory health check up next week, making the placement of this 'urine' unbelievably believable.

In an office with 30 plus teachers and administrators, I knew someone would quickly find the bottle. Boy, was I wrong. I must have placed the bottle in there too late. Most teachers already ate their lunch, or were opting to warm up with tea or coffee. Regardless, I left it in there, and come Monday I may have some explaining to do. I can't wait to, in plain view of the entire office, drink from it!

Plastic Bladder

The Trap is Set

OGA for Aid

One of our greatest attributes as human beings, is our ability to care for one another. I want to take this time to say thank you to everyone for their sympathies, concerns, thoughts, and prayers. Many people have asked how they can help or where to donate. There are many wonderful charities out there responding to the dire needs of Earthquake/Tsunami victims. 

But let's be honest here. We all want to give, but sometimes it's hard too when you are not aware of how your contributions and donations will be used, if they are at all. I'm not advocating people give blindly during this difficult time. Instead, I would like to introduce you to one group I know is 100% altruistic and is diligently working to provide those in need with much needed goods and support.

Say hello to OGA for AID, a family operated charitable cause ran out of Aomori's own Ortiz Global Academy. Every day they post more pictures of the great services they have been providing to the communities ravaged by the tsunami. They have facilitated hoards of donations and personally drove parades of trucks down south. 

I recommend paying a visit to their site, check out all the good they have done, and find a way to help their cause.

Sincere admiration and respect to everyone involved in OGA for AID and all charities responding to Japan's call for help.

Dear Japan,

Dear Japan,
     May the beauty of life inspire you to overcome disaster with a smile. We are one with the Earth and can not face our Mother with anger. Instead let us embrace our siblings and pick up the pieces. Our tears are planted in the soil, and our hope will evaporate the fog of fear.
     To my surrogate home and to a people I will forever spirit is with you Japan. がんばってください

All the best, with a little more,
Stephen James Cravak

Friday, April 1, 2011


"Life is a roller coaster. Ride it with your hands in the air."

Got Coaster?
CraveCoasters, the newest web portal by Crave Cravak, provides the common man, woman, and idiot with a 元気 (genki - happy/fun) look at the international presence of the ジェットコースター(jetto-kosuta - roller coaster). Crave has ridden more than 250 towering beasts across 10 nations and has oodles of photos to share and more than one story to tell. 

What are you waiting for? Fasten your safety harness, prepare to scream, and enjoy your stay at!