Saying Goodbye

April is a time of year in Japanese schools that I’ve written about before, but despite that it still hasn’t gotten any easier every year to see teachers I’ve come to know well move on to other schools.

This year I’ve had to say goodbye to one of my favorite teachers at my visit school as she has had to move on to a new school after 8 years of teaching at my current visit school. Continue reading Saying Goodbye

The Transfer Turntable

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my blog much to my shame. There are many, many reasons why I haven’t had a chance to set aside some time to sit down and knock out a short post or two.

I’ve recently changed schools (for the third time during my JET programme career!) and that means that there’s been a lot of organization and paperwork to get out of the way and it’s only now that I’ve managed to get settled in at my new school. This is the first actual free time I’ve had since then while the summer holidays are in full swing with September being the start of my actual classes with all my new students. Continue reading The Transfer Turntable

Of Parties and Fish

So after all the movement of teachers and students during the end of March and the start of April it’s finally gotten a bit more settled at school with only the final welcome enkai later today remaining before the new school year starts in full earnest with the official opening ceremony.

Not a moment too soon either! My wallet has taken a beating over the last week or so with an almost never-ending stream of 送別会 (farewell parties) to say goodbye to the teachers moving on to greener pastures as well as 歓迎会 (welcome parties) to welcome in the new teachers. Continue reading Of Parties and Fish

To New Beginnings

With the end on March finally here the school year is now officially over and us teachers have to get ready for a new group of students to arrive and try our best to make sure that they can cope with their school lives and start their journey to university and an eventual career in whatever field they choose.

We also have a new group of teachers arriving and for me this means that I’ll be getting a new supervisor since that’s the responsibility that’s usually foisted on the youngest member of the English department as the other teachers don’t really have time for it. It also means that I’ll be teaching with different teachers but that’s a more than welcome change for me after a lot of issues I had with how the first year English course was run last year. Continue reading To New Beginnings

The Annual Teacher Swap

Every year at the end of March there’s a lot of important events in schools around Japan. Not only are the students finally coming to the end of the academic year and the hundreds of tests that they have had to endure but the teachers themselves find out if they will be staying or transfer to another school.

Now this was something as a surprise to me since South Africa doesn’t have a teacher transfer system and it’s extremely common in SA for teachers to spend almost all their professional lives at the same school. In Japan though teachers are frequently transferred between schools. Junior teachers can only spend up to four years at a single school while senior teachers can spend up to 9 years although that is pretty uncommon. Continue reading The Annual Teacher Swap

Graduation Day

This week was the graduation ceremony for the third years at my main high school. It’s the main event of the school year and all the staff and students try their best to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

As with most ceremonies in Japan it’s a very formal affair with all the teachers and parents dressed as smart as possible. The teachers also make sure that all the kids are behaving themselves and not falling asleep during the ceremony (something they seem able to with alacrity). Continue reading Graduation Day