There he stands, a chiseled veteran of the ESL classroom. You can tell by his facial tic. And his hoary beard. And his deep-set eyes — eyes that have spied everything new under the sun. Most of it twice.

Not that he focuses on the past. Even after long years teaching English as a second language (ESL) in Japan, he still views himself as being on the cutting edge, an avant-garde teaching artist, as can be seen by what insists he now be called: The Adjunct Instructor Formerly Known as Bob.

"And yes," he says, "my teaching techniques have changed through the years, always adjusting popular trends to fit with what actually works."