As you’ve probably seen I’m really, really busy this summer. And apart from the Maruzen gig on August 21st in Fukuoka I’ve had to cut all the usual commercial presentations in order to fit in all the free elementary school workshops. Most days are doubled booked and I don’t really have time to move around too much. But this is cool as helping elementary schools is the main part of what I do.

So today’s gig was presented to me as being set up by the setting Board of Education in Izumi ( Osaka) and was to be for all 300 teachers in the city. I’m in Fukuoka either side of this date, but as it’s such a perfect Genki English workshop ( i.e. all the teachers at once so I only have to do one workshop and they’ll all be cool) then of course I said yes.

Now I should have been suspicious when I got the emails this week saying that other publishers would also be presenting today. These other publishers have nothing to do with elementary schools, so why were they there??? But I rang up and checked and was indeed assured that there will be all 300 elementary school teachers there. So after 6 hours of workshops yesterday I set off on the 3 hour ride to Osaka.

And guess what happens this morning….. they suddenly decided that they had changed things and did the big workshop yesterday and today they basically wanted me to do a free English lesson ( despite the fact that all the forms say I only present in Japanese)!!!!! And there were 2, yes 2 elementary school teachers there!!!!!!!! YOU WHAT!!!! In the middle of everything else I came all the way for this??? Needless to say I was not happy….. Now there were also 30 private English teachers present, and with the staff there were around 40 people. But I had prepared an elementary school workshop, and these people were just not interested in slightest. Which is fair enough! If I’d have known it was only private teachers I wouldn’t have come ( certainly not for free), but if I had agreed I would have prepared something that was suitable for them! So it was the worst presentation ever, because elem school and private teaching are so, so different they just weren’t responding at all. Ridiculous. They had said that they couldn’t pay travel expenses, but I agreed to come anyway as elementary school teachers always want to buy superpacks when they see my presentation ( as it just take away all their worries!) so figured that would more than cover the expenses. But of course there were no sales either.

I was not very happy at all. Basically they just used me. Now 2 years ago this used to happen all the time as nobody knew who I was or the work I do, but this time they knew, or rather were told, what I do and they just decided to ignore it!!!!! Man, I thought I’d got past this stage. But no, it’s the same story whenever I get a first gig in a prefecture, until they’ve actually seen it they won’t believe that someone like me can help them out!! As soon as I get that first gig, word gets round like wildfire and I’m called back for loads of stuff, but getting that first shot is so much hard work!

So I came back to Fukuoka absolutely shattered, skint and very annoyed, but determined to work even harder so the when the town finally gets round to inviting me they’ll see what they missed, and next time they’ll have to pay for it!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!