“All students must play with their cellphones constantly for 90 minutes” and “Any student bringing the appropriate textbook will be removed from the classroom” were among the new rules announced in a Japanese university English class last week as one lecturer attempted to tackle lazy, inattentive students who text in class and forget homework. The beleaguered teacher distributed her new anti-manifesto for classroom behaviour along with a gloriously bizarre expletive-laden worksheet, both of which were posted by a student on Twitter with the caption “Sensei finally cracked”.

I did say expletive-laden. So if you’re reading this in class, make sure your teacher doesn’t catch you reading the swear words.

The missive, which was distributed in Japanese at Tōkai University last week, begins ominously: “The talk I gave you about this behaviour back in October seems to have been forgotten.” As punishment, the teacher continues:

I have decided to start using my phone constantly in class, so you can see how it feels to be ignored.”

Ooh, this sounds fun already. We can get a pretty good mental image of the English teacher staring intensely at her screen, lining up coloured virtual candy whilst also half-heartedly attempting to teach today’s lesson.

That’s not the only phone-related rule coming into play, though:

“To show you how important it is to turn off your phone, and also make you think about the fact that charging your phone at school is effectively stealing from the university, I will be reversing the rules regarding cellphones. With immediate effect:

All students must play with their phones throughout class. All students must charge their phones in the classroom. Any students found not to be charging their phone in the classroom will receive zero credits for this class.”

▼ Well, that’s gonna be a logistical nightmare.


(Just kidding. The teacher actually sets out a schedule for sharing chargers in another part of the document).

But there’s more:

“To foster an understanding of the value of using English class to actually study the language, all English textbooks and dictionaries are hereby banned. Anyone found with an English textbook or dictionary in class between now and December 19th will be removed from the classroom.”

▼ Good luck studying without any books, suckers!

640px-Oxford_Advanced_Learner's_Dictionary_of_Current_EnglishWikipedia/Victor Korniyenko

Homework is being reformed, too:

“Many of you seem unable to keep to deadlines or to complete assignments properly. To make you appreciate the effort involved on my part – making worksheets, lovingly marking your work, and lovingly returning it to you, I have deliberately made you a completely terrible worksheet for Unit 5.”

And the pop music listening component of class is facing sweeping changes:

“Seeing as many of you seem to think it’s ok to lose the lyrics sheets I prepare for you in my free time – which often take a whole day to make – I will henceforth be distributing worksheets with writing so tiny you can barely read it, made by photocopying the CD booklet.”

The best bit of the dossier handed out to students, though, is this expletive-laden model answer sheet that comes with it (the aforementioned Unit 5).

First, we start off with a vocab check, in which “sour”, “round” and “bitter” are translated as three offensive Japanese words that you should probably forget as soon as you read them. We also learn how to say “watermelon” in English (“damn”, apparently), and that the English word for pineapple is “Oh my god”.

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Next up, it’s Pre-Listening, which comes with the reminder, “Do not look these words up in the dictionary!” (Presumably, students are usually tasked with finding the meaning of new words before they listen to the audio). We are also treated to such choice example phrases as “I bitch what you call it”.

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Getting into the swing of things, Sensei (who we now discover is called Noriko) really goes for it with the following answers to the “fill in the blanks” exercise.

▼ We can’t decide whether “Noriko f***s on you” is a genius use of original language, or a nonsense construction that requires a referral to that book on cussing correctly. Possibly a bit of both.

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And finally Noriko signs off with a friendly “You don’t need to hand this in! I’ll mark it and give it back to you…NOT.”

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As hilarious as this angry lecturer’s outburst of rage is, we couldn’t help but be distracted by the content of the material being studied. Among the comments from Japanese netizens, many referred to Tōkai’s reputation as an “F-rank” university – the slang term for low-level institutions, notorious for their minimal entry requirements and poor quality. Let’s take another look at the list of new words on the worksheet:

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When, at the end of six years of compulsory English education, students have to look up the word “pencil” in a dictionary, there’s a bigger picture we should be worried about here.

Of course, we don’t actually know whether the teacher attempted to enforce any of these rules; perhaps it was a stunt to get students to reconsider their behaviour. In which case, we sincerely hope it worked!

Source and images: Twipple JP, Pika Sokuhou