Today I went to the annual JALT conference (Japan Association of Language Teachers). I’d never been before but felt compelled to go for some reason this year. It was interesting. For one thing, it’s weird to be around so many foreigners. For another, everyone seems to take themselves really fuxxing seriously, which I suppose is OK but it doesn’t seem like a lot of them really mean it. But I hesitate to judge because I haven’t done anything. I’m grateful that I could get a sense of what I should (or shouldn’t) try to emulate if and when I take the stage.
But the whole experience left kind of a funny taste in my mouth. I’m not comfortable being around these people who all seem hell-bent on proving…something. The whole scene seemed to lack sincerity, like everyone was just going through the motions so they could put a JALT presentation on their resume.
And nearly every presentation I attended had some tweaker in it that got on my nerves, who in the guise of asking a question ended up talking all about themselves for much longer than anyone cared, or totally ruined the presenter’s rhythm or otherwise detracted from the matter at hand with random comments/questions/hostility.
But I did see some learn some interesting things, especially regarding raising bilingual/bicultural children, the shocker being that I actually gained some confidence in the Japanese education system.
And then it was back to the airport, where I fell off the wagon slightly and then had to sit on my plane for 2 hours until the wind changed direction and we could take off. In the end a very long day for not a lot of gratification, but not totally without merit.