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Happy New Year! (Well maybe…)
As we all know, every year brings both good and bad. The good is otoshidama and the bad is having to clean the house properly before the mother-in-law comes over. Actually, rather than New Year celebrations, I prefer the Japanese year-end concept of the bonenkai party: “Forget all the bad things that happened in the last 12 months!” Now that is practical thinking. So, in the New Year we should simply reverse the bonenkai philosophy and apply it proactively to the next 12 months instead: “I’m going to forget all the bad things that happen to me this year and only remember the good things!”

But forgetting is a fickle friend. Some things are easy to forget (how many kilograms I weighed this morning, and the mother-in-law’s birthday are good examples) while others are trickier to put out of your mind (the time I should have helped someone but I didn’t, or when I failed that all-important exam). But the most difficult thing to forget (and to forgive) is when someone wrongs us in some way. Even if the offence is slight, we remember it forever. Perhaps that’s where the bonenkai concept works best: as a way of forgiving – or at the very least forgetting – such incidents and putting them in the past, where they belong. (Very easy to say, but much more difficult to do.)

I have also read that “gratitude” is the shortest-lived emotion (2 minutes?). When someone does something good for us (in contrast to when they wrong us) we quickly forget their kindness. So perhaps we should start the New Year with two resolutions:

1. Forget all the bad things that happen this year as quickly as possible (drinking sake helps a lot with this ).

And

2. Make a lot more effort to remember the good things that come our way (drinking sake helps a lot with this! Er…well, perhaps not).

So, with my resolutions decided, it just remains for me to wish all of you:

A Happy New Year!

Well, maybe…



ACE Englishこちら
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テーマ: 英語・英会話学習 - ジャンル:学校・教育

How to run a successful English school – part IV: hiring Japanese staff
After several hit and miss experiences hiring Japanese staff by interview (something I seem to be particularly bad at) in the early years of ACE, I decided to try hiring from among our students. This has turned out to be one of my better decisions and our present Japanese staff members were students at the school prior to being employed.

So, what are the advantages of hiring from among our students?

Firstly, we can see a student’s character in a natural setting when they are not thinking about becoming an ACE employee. Secondly, we can see how well they get along with other students and staff members. We also know their true English ability and we often understand something about their background and general attitude towards work.

All of these things are very difficult to discover in an interview. That’s because everyone lies – or at the very least exaggerates – at interviews. Interviews are like court cases; they’re a game. And the aim of most games is to win – by guile, cunning, subterfuge, and/or lies. Hence, interviews are fraught with danger (for both sides).

From the student’s perspective, they already know the people they’ll be working with, the size of the organization, the general atmosphere, the school system, and more importantly the weak points of the school. This last point is invaluable because it means the new employee can offer fresh insights into how the school can be improved.

So, does hiring our students mean we end up with absolutely fabulous staff? Unfortunately, not always. But more often than not, hiring someone you know something about is much better than hiring someone after only one interview.

As the old English saying goes: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

Well, in theory anyway.


Three devils
Three devils



ACE English はこちら
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ブログランキング参加中 ACEはいったい何位
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にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 英会話スクール・教室へ
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テーマ: 英語・英会話学習 - ジャンル:学校・教育

Reality check
Turning fifty this year really made me think about my future. And I realized something serious: it’s too short! Since life passes so quickly (unless you live in Munakata Village) it’s important to think about what to do in old age. Where should I retire to? Bali Island? Thailand? Futsukaichi Onsen? Decisions, decisions.

Well, it would be a decision if I had any money of course. But reality is harsh. Having very little cash means I probably won’t be able to retire at all (according to my wife at least). However, I guess I might not have many English students when I’m too old and weak to get the pen tops off my whiteboard markers. So, it seems I may soon be forced to look for alternative employment.

When I want to think deeply about something (a very rare occurrence) I sometimes go for a long scooter ride in the countryside. The open spaces, general greenery, and numerous mosquito bites seem to stimulate those parts of my brain which are usually floating in beer. There’s also the added nervousness of wondering whether my 14-year-old scooter (and in human years that’s about a hundred and fifty) will actually make it back to my house again.

My 150-year-old scooter
150-year-old scooter

It was on one such ride, when I was pondering my future job prospects, that something caught my eye in a rice field. It seems local farmers have trouble keeping hungry birds from eating their crops, so one enterprising farmer had created a fabulous “high-tech” scarecrow – equipped with a DVD, naturally.

My future job
My future job

It then occurred to me that I already have a DVD and the right hairstyle, so all I need to do is to practice freeze-frame Radio Taiso, dig out my old vests and underpants for a uniform, and buy a shotgun from the local yakuza for shooting the birds. Not only would I get to work in the countryside, but I’d give those pesky little birds a reality check, too.

So, if you see me standing in a field in my old underpants with a shotgun under my arm, don’t forget to stop by and say hello.

And, in return, I’ll give you a couple of birds to take home for dinner. (Don’t forget to take the lead out of them before cooking)


ACE English はこちら
ご質問・お問い合わせはメールにて大絶賛受付中info@aceenglish1995.com



ブログランキング参加中 ACEはいったい何位
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にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 英会話スクール・教室へ
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テーマ: 英語・英会話学習 - ジャンル:学校・教育

Trapped routinely
There’s an old English saying that “Life is what you make it.” But is it true? Do we make our lives or are we shaped by the hidden forces of routine? Let’s face it, our lives are rather simple: we work, we play, we eat, we sleep and then we do it all over again the next day. It seems we are controlled by our routines.

The problem with routines is they keep us firmly in our comfort zones so we don’t need to think creatively – or, in fact, to really think at all. Not that I’m suggesting we chuck out all our routines with our Hokka Hokka Tei boxes. Life would be very tiring if we had to continually come up with new actions. But routines, like weeds in a garden, have a tendency to creep up on us and take over if left unchecked.


Unhealthy routine

Of course, not all routines deserve a bad press. There are countless healthy routines like cleaning our teeth or studying English every day for an hour . These should be continued (or started!).

Healthy routine
Healthy routine

Obviously, the trick is to discriminate between healthy routines (studying English) and unhealthy routines (drinking seven pints of Guinness before bedtime).

In order to determine whether a routine is healthy or not, we simply need to ask two questions:

“Why do I do this routine?” And “What will happen if I stop?”

Of course, if your answers are positive, pat yourself on the back and carry on. If not, then stop. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But most routines have both aspects. Take my wife’s shopping routine for example (and this brings a tear to my eye). She thinks it’s good for the economy and I think it’s bad for my wallet.

So, the moral of the story is: take a good look at your routines and be more creative with your life.

Just like I have.

Yeh, right.


Absolutely fabulous routine
Fabulously healthy routine


ACE English はこちら
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ブログランキング参加中 ACEはいったい何位
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テーマ: 英語・英会話学習 - ジャンル:学校・教育

The truth about ACE staff (Part 1): Is Takahiro real?
Recently, I’ve noticed that Takahiro never seems to get tired. He’s always painfully positive and spends most of his time running around the school with a big smile on his face attending to urgent matters. Except that the school never has any urgent matters. Let’s face it; we’re an English school not a fire station.

It’s a worry. I mean how can one person have so much energy?

Robostaff ready for action
Robostaff ready for action

So here’s my theory: Takahiro is not real. He’s “Made in Japan”: A robot running around on thermo-nuclear batteries of some sort. He must be. The only time he ever sleeps is when I’m teaching classes, and who sleeps sitting up? Other supporting evidence for the robot theory is his hair. Electro-magnetic radiation is obviously leaking out of his head. No normal person has a hairstyle like that (in fact, some normal people don’t have hairstyles at all). No, I guess Takahiro’s real name is Robostaff or something equally uncreative.

Robostaff recharging his batteries
Robostaff recharging his batteries

But is having a robot as staff such a bad thing? Probably not. Except that I’m wasting my money by paying a salary instead of just plugging him (it?) into a mains socket every night for a quick recharge like my mobile phone.

On the downside though, Robostaff does have some drawbacks (maybe he’s a Window’s ’97 model?). He can only type with two fingers and he’s learned really bad English expressions like “Where’s my bonus?” and “When do I get a pay rise?” (And if F-chan had any digital DNA whatsoever, I’d suspect she might have been involved with Robostaff’s language-learning programming.)

Robostaff calculates his next pay increase
Robostaff calculates his next pay increase

Anyway, as soon as I’ve had his language skills corrected – and his typing skills upgraded – I’ll have a much improved employee. Perhaps even a Robostaff Deluxe (Windows 7?). Now that would be fabulous.

Then all I’ll need to do is find a few fires for him to put out.


ロボもいるぞ ACE Englishこちら
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ランキング参加中 ACEはいったい何位
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にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 英会話スクール・教室へ
Thanks a lot for your kind support



テーマ: 英語・英会話学習 - ジャンル:学校・教育



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ACE English

Author:ACE English
福岡市天神地区の英会話
スクール・ACE English。
たくさんの生徒さんに
支えられて、おかげさまで
今年24歳になりました。

「HPだけじゃ伝えきれない
ACEのウラの顔をタレ込みたい!」
というスタッフの願望から、
スタートしたこのブログ。

日本一おもしろい(?)
スクールブログを目指しています。



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