With the JET program, you arrive in the summer and begin teaching in September which is the start of the second term. Students have already met their teachers and classmates. As a new ALT, you get to prepare a self introduction lesson to share with the class. Since I am at a school with 1000 kids and I see all classes, I will present this lesson 33 times. I’m going to talk about myself a lot. I made my lesson into a game where they have to work in groups and guess which thing I like to do or what I like to eat etc. the students are into it because they are excited to have a new foreign teacher and they get to miss a regular English class. But the kids were really excited and competitive even though they just won a small sticker.
Even though there are two of us at our school, it’s difficult to make a schedule where we each see just half the school. Students have six periods per day and ten or more different classes. Students see the core classes almost every day but the schedule is not like schools I’ve worked at before. Therefore, I will probably never have the same classes at the same time a second time. My day will always be a different three to four classes which makes things exciting. There are 33 English sections and sometimes here is a lot to help grade so it can be difficult to find teachers and help make plans for the classes your in.
The Japanese school itself is an interesting place. Students stay in the same room all day with their same class except for specials. Students have ten minutes in between every class to take a break or do homework. They also have a twenty minute break after lunch to just relax, study, or practice for an event. Students eat lunch in their classroom without supervision and they move their desks and serve everyone. They clean up their lunch and then clean the rest of the school after lunch time. Students are expected to help take care of their school and they seem to respect the classrooms more. Students also help teachers prepare or clean up the classroom after a class. For example, students helped get a TV for my presentation and then erased the board at the end of class.
Since teachers travel from class to class they don’t have their own room. The room is a home room and the home room teacher meets with the class daily in addition to the subject the teach. Teachers have a spot to write homework and the lesson on the board. Some teachers bring a magnet and write the objective but not all do. It’s nothing compared to the set up I had to do in Texas.
Classrooms at my school have chalkboards and the students erase hem between classes. Then they clean the eraser with this dust vacuum thing. I am thankful that the school is heated and filled in the classrooms…just not hallways but that’s fine.
Students are always prepared with an entire pen case of writing utensils, erasers, glue, and whiteout. Students are good about taking notes and working neatly.