A couple of months into teaching, I made a worksheet for a grammar point the ninth graders were learning. I was super proud of this worksheet and was looking forward to using it in class. It was composed of three different parts: matching, composition, and true/false. I passed out the papers and explained the different sections, putting examples on the board. I stood at the front of the class for probably five minutes before walking around to see how they were doing and to help any struggling kids. After doing a few circuits of the room, I was puzzled to find that most students were STILL on section one: matching (in which there were only six questions). Then, I realized that all the students were using their rulers to draw lines between matches and erasing them if they weren’t perfect…
One of the strangest things I’ve found about Japanese students is their love of rulers, something that I rarely used as a student in America. This love becomes very apparent when you give students a worksheet with a matching section, or a word search, or…. Pretty much any worksheet haha. Even if the worksheet has no connection to rulers whatsoever, many students will use them to tear off the edges off of the worksheet so they can glue it into their notebooks. I find this both endearing and annoying, mostly because things take a liiiiittle bit longer when all their lines must be perfectly straight, or it HAS to fit inside the notebook. What section are you on? ….You haven’t started? ……..You’ve spent the last five minutes tearing the edges off your paper? *face palm*
Students also use protractors more than any American student ever. I think I used a protractor like… once? in school and that was it. I did an activity with some eighth graders in which I tell them hints and they use them to draw a snowman. I began the activity with, “If you’re a boy, draw two circles; if you’re a girl, draw three circles.” Out came the protractors. My mouth fell open a little, I couldn’t help it. There was a part of me that was screaming, “JUST DRAW A CIRCLE IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!!!” Oh well, haha. Guess it’s just one of those things.
That is so cute and funny and yes, potentially annoying 🤣