This past Sunday, Tottori was blessed with a visit by Oxford University Press lecturer Ken Wilson, who demonstrated his interactive teaching philosophy with heaps of activities. If you teach English and you missed it, I recommend catching some of his speeches around the web. Tips and techniques for a variety of ages and skill levels abound, and I'll certainly be using what I learnt in my own teaching.
Of particular interest to me is being able to reflect on my own abilities and methods as a teacher and realise how far I have yet to go before feeling that I'm actually good at it. As if that weren't enough, I was hit with an opportunity to reassess my approach to conversation when at the dinner party afterwards, the illustrious lecturer turned to me and said, 'Tremain, what is it that you do like?' In retrospect, even this blog might seem to many as a criticism of everything I write about. I like to think it's entertaining (at least, it is for me), but it may not come across that way to everyone. Before I left I shook the man's hand and told him I learnt a great deal. I doubt he knew just how true that was.
And in other news, mid-December is still autumn in Tottori, with comfortably cool temperatures (which the natives decry as brutally cold) and lots of rain. There's no such thing as bad weather, someone wiser than I once said, there is only a poor choice of clothing. (The cooler months give us more opportunities to express ourselves. Some benefits of academia include tweed and the opportunity to wear a necktie when it's not officially required.) I predict snow at the end of the month, and not before. Be on guard for bears in the meantime, don't drink and drive, and always wear your safety belt.