First All-Teacher Self-Introduction

Today, all the teachers in kindergarten, elementary, and middle school gathered together for a large meeting and discussion about local school issues. I was invited, with the knowledge that I’d be doing a short self-introduction.

For the last few days, I’ve been asking my coworkers to teach me Yamaguchi-ben or Yamaguchi dialect, and practicing it a little. It’s kind of funny for a foreigner to use it, because you don’t expect people who’ve learned Japanese in school to know those sorts of words, haha. But while the teachers were all having group discussions, my supervisor came up to me and handed me a piece of paper with a short dialogue written on it. It said:

ステファニーさん ”Ms. Stephanie”
今日はあついですね ”It’s hot today, isn’t it” (standard Japanese)
ほうじゃねぇ “Yeah, it is” (dialect)
ぶっちあついねぇ “It’s really hot” (dialect)
[My standard self-intro in the middle–“Nice to meet you, my name is Stephanie, I’m from America/CA, I’ll be working as an English teacher here, I look forward to working with you!” (in Japanese)]
ほいじゃあ “Well then/bye” (dialect)
ほいじゃあ “Well then/bye” (dialect)

For the record, I was also introduced prior to this as a person who hates spiders, and can eat pretty much any type of Japanese food except for natto and…something else that I forgot (umeboshi?). lol.

Later in the car, we were talking about how it all went, and he said that the self introduction by itself is great and everything, but when you use the dialect then it really removes the distance between people. I’m so lucky and grateful to have a supervisor who would care about the relationships between the new ALT and the teachers and find creative ways like that to break down barriers and help us all feel comfortable around each other right away. I’ll probably be greeting all the teachers I’m working with in dialect now, haha.

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