Silver Chips Online

Seat, Kenneth

By Mary Donahue, Online Managing Features Editor
November 18, 2005
Name: Kenneth Seat
Department: History (Modern World classes)
Education: high school; International Christian Academy in Japan college; William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri
Masters in International Relations at Boston University and Johns Hopkins University
Year started at MBHS: 2000
Previous Jobs: Little America School (1995-1996), Taise (1998-2000)
Hobbies: Judo, spending time with child, movies, music

Kenneth Seat does not like to talk about himself. "I've never really felt comfortable talking about my personal life," he said, taking a sip from his mug, which is adorned with Japanese characters. "But if you want to get personal, here's a recent picture of my daughter."

His daughter, Naomi, is twenty months old and already bilingual. While Seat talks to his daughter in English, his wife, who he met in Japan while teaching there, talks to their daughter in Japanese. Seat hopes she'll pick up both languages.

Though willing to talk about Naomi (to a point), Seat takes a while to become comfortable talking about his high school self. "I was a big-time wrestler," he laughed, miming quotes around "big-time." "In my high school we had competitions with military schools. We were a Christian school and we'd go to these military schools and it was like getting a slice of American. They had Baskin Robbins!"

Seat was very involved in his high school, which was very small. His senior class had only around 30 students. "I knew I had to go to college - that was a no brainer," he said. "Everyone in my family went to college. I was an okay student. I had other things I was interested in. I didn't become really interested in academics until college."

Not only was he on the wrestling team, but he also played saxophone in his school's jazz band and had parts in a couple of school plays. "I was a horrible actor," he laughed.

Seat also took Judo, but with his hectic schedule, he does not find much time to practice. "Between the baby and teaching, I don't have much time to do that anymore," Seat said, with disappointment.

Since he grew up in Japan, Seat has seen the differences between the cultures of Japan and America. "It's very different from here," said Seat. "There are a lot of superficial differences. There's a lot more respect for elders there. The teacher's more powerful. The students just sit there while the teacher lectures and take notes. There's no group work. It isn't all like people think, though. The students sometimes revolt against the teacher. There's either complete order or complete disorder."

Though he does see the influence of being a "third culture kid," as he calls them, Seat does not seem to be having trouble adjusting to American culture. "Third culture kids -kids who grew up in between two cultures, like Japan and America for me - supposedly don't have as hard a time adjusting to other cultures. So I guess I didn't have a hard time adjusting," Seat shrugged. "But because my wife's Japanese I feel like my house isn't completely American. We still take our shoes off before going inside."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/5911