Back in the saddle

So after a long break that started at the end of July when JET contract ended, I’ve had to finally get back into the groove of waking up early and going in to work.

After the wonderful holiday I had back in South Africa and the relaxing week I had back in Nagano, it’s a bit of a shock to my system to go back into school and nothing much has changed. Other than my desk being full of newspapers from the last month or so it could have been just yesterday that I had last come into work. Continue reading Back in the saddle

Farewell JET!

Five years on the JET programme has now officially passed with my final JET contract coming to an end at the end of July this year. Whenever you come to the end of five years in any sort of job it is a big adjustment to move on to the next thing in your life.

That’s part of the reason why I’ve been so scarce with spots over the last several months. I’ve had to go through for interviews and check into studying for a postgrad degree all while still trying to juggle my day to day classes and lesson planning. Not the easiest of schedules as you might well imagine! Continue reading Farewell JET!

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

Friday Ramblings

It just struck me today that in a few months I’ll be entering my fifth year as a JET ALT this coming July.

I stumbled on the email I got from the South African embassy all the way back in 2011 to tell us the details of our final arrangements which was pretty nostalgic to read. At that point I had no idea what my school would be like or what my town was like or how to even teach English classes! Continue reading Friday Ramblings

The End of Summer

With the end of August in sight it means that in the next few weeks classes will start up and the summer holidays will be a thing of the past.

It also means that I’ll get to start teaching at my new school and get an idea of what the teachers and students will be like. So far my main school seems rather high level compared to where I taught previously and it also looks like I’m going to have to be far more active in terms of creating materials and activities rather than relying on the lessons I did over the past three years. I think that’s a good thing though, because if there is no challenge to your job then your motivation to push yourself begins to wane a little. Continue reading The End of Summer

In the Heat of Summer

I’m just about all set up in my new ALT position after a few busy weeks of paperwork, moving and what feels like a thousand other things that are all part and parcel of moving work & home in Japan.

The school I’m working at now is pretty high level and offers not just English but several other language courses for kids such as Spanish and Korean. Continue reading In the Heat of Summer

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