Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teaching Update: After a Year

It's been a while since my last update and I've completed one year as an English teacher with the JET Program, so it's time for an update! To check out my last update, click here!

M. Elementary
Kindergarden = Weekly
1st - 4th = Holidays
5th & 6th= Weekly

Although I got along well the 6th grade substitute teacher, who temporarily took over for the homeroom teacher when he was out for intestinal surgery, English class became disaster due to one misbehaved boy named Fumiya. Whether it was a hormonal imbalance or a lack of respect for female teachers, Fumiya created a dangerous situation and was subsequently removed from all English classes. Any efforts, including my own, to correct his behavior were met with half-assed apologizes. I don't know whether he was trying to get a laugh, but even his classmates defended me and ostracized him. His behavior extended out of English class, as he ran away from school several times before graduation. My board of education became involved as well, and apologized for any discomfort caused by his disrespectful behavior. I was told recently that he has calmed down since entering middle school. A lot of students, including Fumiya, aspire to be pro-baseball players, and he was told that he couldn't be a delinquent and play on the school's baseball team. 

(Update: I just heard Fumiya is still acting up, and driving the middle school ALT crazy) 

When the new school year commenced, the 6th grade homeroom teacher returned from his sick leave and now teaches the new 6th grade class. A new set of kinderbabies arrived as well, and they have been an absolute joy. In pre-school they learned how to say, "Thank you for your lesson, we are happy today," which they always use as a goodbye chant. I also work very well with the kindergarten teacher and she's intends to reschedule field trips so that I can help chaperone. The new 5th graders are very genki about English, but there are some boys have developed teacher crushes. Yikes! Since March, I only teach 1st - 4th grade during holidays, which gives me too much free time. However, I understand that more time is need for their other studies.

K. Elementary
Kindergarden = Weekly
1st - 4th = Monthly
5th & 6th= Weekly

Not much has changed in this school aside form the 6th graders graduation, which made way to a  new set of 5th and 6th graders. The new 5th graders are more difficult to teach because they have only nine students, including one girl who is half American. However, I was told they have a general lack of interest in all classes and because of this, their homeroom teacher will update me on their genki-ness (energy level) before each English class. Some days are better than others but, generally, they finish the lessons and retain the information. Moreover, the Japanese-American girl confessed that I inspire her to speak more English at home. That means I'm doing something right, right?

Although a few teachers have changed, I remain very close with the faculty and staff. My favorite is the vice principal who is a very fatherly and does his best to use English. During the teacher's meeting on Tuesdays, I give a one-point English lesson on a random phrase or word. It's cute to hear them use it throughout the day, and I am glad they've taken up such an interest in English. There is also one new staff hire who's speaks fluent Spanish because her husband is Mexican. It's  a Godsend! We chit chat during our breaks in Spanish, which helps me feel more at home. Now, the faculty and staff want to learn some Spanish as well! Viva el Español! 

Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays!

Oh! Remember the 4th grade teacher that I supposedly had a major crush on? He switched  schools! To G. Elementary, as the new science teacher! 

G. Elementary
Kindergarten = Never
1st - 4th = Bi-weekly
5th & 6th = Weekly

The rumor of my crush continued at G. Elementary with all the school girls hounding me about my supposed love affair with their new science teacher. Good Grief! The girls know I have a boyfriend, who they refer to by name (Maikeru-san, lol), but they still have this crazy idea that I am uwaki-ing (extramarital sexy timing) with every male teacher around. However, at this point I've given up on trying to convince them and just switch my crushes" on a weekly bases to keep things interesting.

What my students think of me -_____-

It was pretty clear in my last update that Thursdays and Fridays were my least favorite workdays due to dealing with the Satan 6th graders and a couple staff members who had it out for me. However, I can happily report that the demon children graduated, and the others either retired or moved on to different schools. What a fucking difference!  

This year, they split up the 6th graders into two sections and although they have two different homerooms, I teach English with one homeroom teacher while the other covers Social Studies. Having this class split up into two sections helps with classroom management, but that doesn't make English class successful. The 6A class remains silent with only one star student answering all the questions. However, they will repeat a word or sentence after me and answer questions when asked individually. The 6B class is more active, but has a few pranksters like Rin-chan. What sets them apart from the previous Satan 6th graders is their lack of animosity towards me. I'll take that as a success! So far, my favorite class is the 4th grade. I am convinced that their homeroom teacher, Mika-sensei, will become Japan's first female prime minister. She's a tough lady and has a handle on her 40-student class! They have the best English out of all 3 schools and it's because she makes sure they both understand and diligently complete the activities. I do more advanced English with them and it's been a lot of fun! 

Overall, I have a feeling this year be stress free. Wish me luck!

Happy Dance

 Side note: The purpose of this entirey is not to fiercely criticize the Japanese workplace, as issues can arise in any job, but instead share my experiences with family, friends, and those interested in the JET Program or working in Japan.

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