Finished my first day at my new
Going to write in English since it's faster and
there's a lot to write. They said not to put too
much info on the internet but since this is a Chinese website I
doubt any of my students or potential ALTs will see
Anyway, so my new job is at a public junior
high school in a very small town. I'm not really
the English teacher, but I'm the Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
meaning I assistant Japanese English teachers, checking homework,
helping the kids do worksheets, coming up with activities,
I take the train from my apartment to the
town, about 10minutes. I woke up at 6am today
because I wanted to make sure I get there with plenty of time to
spare. I got to the school around 8am.
I only had 1 class today, 2nd year junior high
students, so they knew a little English already.
The Japanese school year starts in April,
so now in September it's 2nd term. Their previous
ALT quit over summer break so I'm actually a replacement, so I was
a little nervous what the students might think or how the other
teachers would treat another ALT when one had quit so
everyone was really nice, some teachers came over to introduce
themselves, and I met the other English teachers (I think there are
3 in total at this school).
I went with the Japanese English teacher to
first class. It was so intimidating standing in
front of 30+ students
Oh my god, I thought I was prepared but holy hell, having them all
looking at you is so nerve wrecking. I did a
short, 10minute self introduction and afterwards the Japanese
English teacher asked them some questions to make sure the students
understood what I said.
Then class began. I guess
they had homework about [to+infinitive] verbs so the teacher gave
out a worksheet and the students began to work on it.
I just walked up and down between the desks,
checking the students' answers, helping if they needed it.
It was really easy to see which students were
good at English and liked to study it and which ones didn't.
Some students finished in no time, others
couldn't even finish half.
Then the teacher took up the worksheet.
The students were so quiet. I
don't know if they were just tired or shy (but they should know the
Japanese teacher already, plus she speaks Japanese, so I don't know
why they would be shy), but the teacher would ask for an answer and
you'd hear silence. Then after the teacher
persists a few times you'd hear a small, small voice say the answer
from one of the students
So that was the entire class, super easy
for me. After class, as the Japanese English
teacher was moving her stuff (in Japan teachers change classes,
unlike in Canada where students change classes) one of the students
came up to me and introduced
She was right in the front row and I could see
from when she was doing the worksheet that she was someone who was
quite good at English. We talked for about 5
minutes or so, she was really shy but she tried hard to speak with
me. I felt kind of bad because I would ask her
something and maybe I spoke too fast or it was too noisy (the other
kids were running around, chatting with friends since class was
other) so she would ask me to repeat, and every time she would say
"sorry". I wanted to tell her that she didn't
have to be sorry, that I'm more than happy to repeat because it's
great she's even trying to communicate with
So anyway, that was my first and only class
today. Later, we went outside to practice for
Sports Day. In Japan every year schools have a
Sports Festival and a Cultural Festival. Sports
Festival is coming up soon so they had to practice.
Today they rehearsed a Japanese dance and I went
outside to watch. One of the students caught a
cold and couldn't participate today, so she sat next to me.
Initially I tried to talk to her in English but
she was painfully shy and barely answered, so I switched to
Japanese (ALTs are allowed to use Japanese outside of classroom,
unlike at my previous job). She opened up a lot
more and told me she liked English and thought it'd be cool to be
able to speak it. She was a little negative about
school in general though, she said she didn't like the city (she
had moved from a much bigger city when she was in elementary
school) and she didn't like the teachers because they were
She also said something about bullying which worries me a bit, but
I couldn't catch exactly what she said. I'll have
to keep an eye on her. Later, I told the head
English teacher that I chatted with the girl (I didn't tell her
about what, though) and the head English teacher said that girl was
so, so, so shy. I got the feeling she wasn't so
much shy as maybe just not enjoying her time in school and so she's
unwilling to participate in class.
Then we had school lunch. The school provided
lunch for students and teachers, so I ate with the other teachers,
and after that was cleaning. In Canada schools
hire janitors to clean, in Japan the students clean.
So for 10 minutes or so they grabbed mops,
brooms, rags, and started cleaning from the classroom to the
washroom to the teachers' room. They refilled the
toilet paper, took out the trash, scrubbed the floors, I was
thinking I had never done any of those things until
like...university when I started living on my own, and these kids
do this everyday
After that, since they had the Sports
Festival coming up the afternoon was used to rehearse more for it.
The head English teacher told me I could leave
early if I wanted to, so I finished correcting some of the kids'
English writing homework (one of the Japanese English teachers
asked me to help correct it) and then headed home around
Pretty easy day, it was actually pretty fun
although I was nervous as hell. I'm actually
looking forward to tomorrow. Tomorrow I have 2
classes, and again I can come home early.
This is going to be really interesting
going back to school, lol