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.
With a new school year that means that I’ll also have another round of self-introduction lessons to go through. As an ALT your self-introduction lesson is the one lesson you’ll hone to a fine point shortly after arriving in Japan. Mainly because it’s a lesson you will do so many times for each new school or class that by the end of your first year you can recite it backwards in your sleep. For me though it’s always been one of my favorite lessons seeing that I don’t come from America or England or any of the other more ‘popular’ countries that take part in JET. That means that everything I talk about is a learning experience for my students and is full of info and stories that they won’t have been exposed to a million times before on TV or in books.
At the moment though school is rather quiet and relaxed seeing that we’re in that space between years in terms of teaching. The new teachers are still moving in and the new students have not yet arrived. In the meantime some of the staff are slogging their way through the frustrations of sorting out the school lesson timetable or getting their desks and lessons sorted out.
As an ALT there’s not much you can help out with in school downtime seeing as though most of the teachers are busy with admin tasks. Usually this means you’ll either try to join the students in their club activities during the day or you’ll get your head deep down into your Japanese studies as much as you possibly can. I also try to write out some ideas for the coming year about lessons I think might be interesting or points I want to try to focus on in my lessons. It helps me later on in the year when I start to write out my actual lesson plans and need to refer back to my notes.
So here’s to a whole new academic year of lessons, adventures and laughs in Japan. One thing you can be certain of when it comes to teaching in Japan as an ALT is that ESID (Every Situation Is Different).