So it’s been awhile… 5 months, give or take. And a lot has happened. This will be separated into parts since it’s been so long.
Let’s start with the basics- Work and Home.
Work has been incredible. It was an interesting learning curve especially trying to navigate most things in Japanese. I have 11 teachers that I work with weekly, plus a few teacher’s assistants that frequently join my classes. Out of all of these teachers about 2 of them are able to speak to me entirely in English. The rest can use one or two set phrases or else just string English words together and pray I understand. Now I’m definitely not complaining- I want to become fluent in Japanese and this is a great way to do just that, but of course with any job (and even being able to communicate it the same language), there is always miscommunications. It definitely keeps my job interesting.
What is also interesting is the vast number of differing teaching styles. I teach grades 1, 2, 5, and 6. I have 3 different classes for grades 1, 2, and 5 (so 3 different grade 1 classes, etc), and 2 different classes for grade 6. I really notice the difference in styles in my 2nd grade classes as I teach them back to back on Thursdays. My first class is with 2-2 (grade 2, class 2) and it is the teachers first year ever teaching. He is quite young and at first would NEVER speak English with me. At first he would just stand at the back of the room and let me lead class (which was completely nerve wracking as a baby JET). But after a few months, he still doesn’t speak English to me but he has become more confident using classroom English and mimicking what I say which has also helped my students become more excited to learn English. This class has probably been the most difficult to teach, mostly due to not being able to communicate and also having two brand new teachers together. After 2-2, I teach 2-3 and this teacher is probably the most confident of the three 2nd grade teachers in understanding English (or my Japenglish). This teacher does more to help me out in the class and helped me ease into teaching her class (especially since they are so crazy ❤ ). Her students and I have the best relationship as well and they always ask me to come play outside with them. They are always so excited for English and it has been wonderful. After lunch I teach 2-1 and again this teacher uses absolutely no English. At first, as soon as I walked into the room she would disappear to the back and would start marking homework. After a few months, she has become more engaged in the class and helps me with organizing students for the games, or getting them excited for class. Thankfully this class is pretty good at listening and understanding my ridiculous pantomiming (since I try not to use Japanese in class).
As you can see, this is only 3 out of 11 teachers and no two classes are the same even though in our weekly meetings we all talk about and plan the lessons together. But again, I think this is why I love my job so much.
Now onto Home life.
I’ve always lived with someone, and have always had or had access to a pet. Now I am living alone, no people, no pets (I tried x.x) and it has been a real learning curve. I’m having to find ways to entertain myself- I can go entire weekends with out actually talking to anyone (probably not a good thing), so I’ve had to find things to do to keep me occupied.
So from September until the end of January I attended physiotherapy once or twice a week. I actually enjoyed going (how many people can say that?) and especially shocking my physiotherapist each time. He would always set a goal (one leg calf raise by the end of the month, strengthen toes, etc) and generally by the next session I’d already be able to do it. By the time I finished physio, my physiotherapist couldn’t believe how fast my ankle healed.
I also had Japanese classes once or twice a week that I really enjoyed going to. They helped me become slightly more confident in my speaking and listening.
And I’ve also been hanging out ridiculous amounts with another ALT (assistant language teacher) which has been amazing. She’s so sweet and kind and I’m astounded at how fast we became friends but also entirely grateful ❤ She’s also introduced me to her friends (Japanese and not) and we often go to events together. And sometimes we drag along our extremely tall friend who occasionally hangs out with us 😛
In the near future I will begin attending hip hop classes (because why not) and starting a new Japanese class 🙂
I will also try to write more often XD
Sayonara for now!