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University jobs for August 2017
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1423
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly. I am looking for full time work. Part-time is tough as I have no classes on Monday for the fall.
I used to teach writing but got sick of almost 40 per class at 10,000 yen for 90 minutes.

Show Women's University limits part-timers to 5 years and Waseda limits teachers to ten years.
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Jagariko



Joined: 14 Oct 2013
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, one of my writing classes started off at 44 this year - I was told it would be 35. I complained as I'd had 28 last year. Some were given to other teachers - lucky them - and there are now 37 students. The salary is the same no matter the amount of time spent reading and checking essays.

I used to really enjoy teaching writing but one year I worked out I had read something like 180,000 words after teaching over 40 in a university class and 3 high school classes of 25. Ah, add 75.000 words to account for the four high school writing tests!

That year burnt me out and now I just do the one uni writing class and, to the students' detriment, I try to get them to hand in as little work as I can.
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kzjohn



Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 227

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a nice writing activity. Chain Stories.

For your class of 37, divide them into four groups: 9-9-9-10.

Pass out a sheet of B5/A4 paper to everyone. Put "Once upon a time" on the board and have everyone start with that.

Explain the idea of chain stories. The first person has two minutes to start, and can write one or two sentences. Then the papers are passed to the next person in the group, who, in two minutes, reads the beginning and adds another sentence or two. Rinse and repeat, and as this progresses you might go to three minutes.

Tell them that anything magical, fantasy-like, sci-fi, fairy tale, talking animals, time travel, etc., is okay. "Be creative."

When the papers come back to the 'original' person, it becomes that student's job to finish the story--to provide an end, conclusion, closure. You can do this there in class or have them do it for homework. (You can eventually 'correct' these if you want, I only mark them very sparingly. And obviously, you can't score these in the normal way since they're collaborative and not individual.)

You could add some peer editing, maybe everyone in pairs (and from different groups).

Once they've been polished a little and you've read them, pick a couple good ones from each group to read aloud.

No, this can't really fit into an academic writing course or something that's strongly programmed from week to week. But once they get the idea of this (about the third turn) you should be seeing some excitement.

This activity can be use twice or so with the same group, early and then late in the term, or spring and then fall.
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Jagariko



Joined: 14 Oct 2013
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No, this can't really fit into an academic writing course or something that's strongly programmed from week to week.


And there's the rub!

Yes, I've done that before with younger students but they always get bored waiting for the paper (as you say, you need to give them at least two-three minutes to be able to write at least a few sentences so they have to be doing something else at the same time, probably reading); someone would always "cheat" and turn the paper back and spoil the "reveal" and there was always a date with an unpopular maths teacher - not so much fun if someone yells out that that is what they are writing about!

It's an OK activity but the average younger student doesn't have the ability/maturity to do it well and it's not suitable for academic uni classes where the students are classmates for that period only so don't feel as comfortable writing funny stuff or having others read what they wrote in case it was "wrong" or are not as amused as the younger ones should be.

Besides, for high school writing classes, the Japanese staff very reluctantly gave up their grammar translation "writing" classes for the foreign teachers to actual teach them how to write. It is all about perception: if they think you are just playing games in a class which is aimed to help students be able to write the English paragraph on the university entrance exam, they would snatch back those classes.

I must say though, I did all kinds of activities in those high school classes and enjoyed them so much more than the prescriptive syllabus I am now following. The students also enjoyed them much more and made huge advances. The uni ones are just going through the motions.
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kzjohn



Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 227

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jagariko wrote:
Quote:
No, this can't really fit into an academic writing course or something that's strongly programmed from week to week.


And there's the rub!

Yes, I've done that before with younger students but they always get bored waiting for the paper (as you say, you need to give them at least two-three minutes to be able to write at least a few sentences so they have to be doing something else at the same time, probably reading); someone would always "cheat" and turn the paper back and spoil the "reveal" and there was always a date with an unpopular maths teacher - not so much fun if someone yells out that that is what they are writing about!

It's an OK activity but the average younger student doesn't have the ability/maturity to do it well and it's not suitable for academic uni classes where the students are classmates for that period only so don't feel as comfortable writing funny stuff or having others read what they wrote in case it was "wrong" or are not as amused as the younger ones should be.

Besides, for high school writing classes, the Japanese staff very reluctantly gave up their grammar translation "writing" classes for the foreign teachers to actual teach them how to write. It is all about perception: if they think you are just playing games in a class which is aimed to help students be able to write the English paragraph on the university entrance exam, they would snatch back those classes.

I must say though, I did all kinds of activities in those high school classes and enjoyed them so much more than the prescriptive syllabus I am now following. The students also enjoyed them much more and made huge advances. The uni ones are just going through the motions.


While your response seems mostly directed to the high school level, uni level was my focus. I've had excellent results with this at the uni level, for English majors, non-majors, and even non-non-majors (pharmacy students). They seem genuinely interested/activated. The most flak I have had, and only from a very few, is something to the effect that they're not comfortable getting an individual grade on something that was collaborative.

My response is that (a) I will be very generous in marking, and (b) they can re-write (personalize) the story however they want when it comes back to them.
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Vince



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 537
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

taikibansei wrote:
Life being another one. Wink

My reason for distancing myself from TEFL in Japan (unless it's a plum position in terms of pay, security, and quality of work) boils down to that - not wanting my life to take on the tone of a four-letter word.

Another thread here prompted me to look up somebody who hired me for one of my part-time college positions many moons ago. He had an office position, as well as an active hand in TEFL. It seemed like he built a nice position for himself in the in non-professor Japanese TEFL world, and it gave me hope that I could work toward something like that. A lot of time has passed since then, and my current perspective on Japanese TEFL led me to think he had probably been banging his head against the ¥300K ceiling and left Japan years ago. It turns out he's still at the same school, has a PhD now (back then, he had a masters unrelated to education), and is quite active in TEFL. So here I sit impressed by his example once again. Granted, he established himself back when there was more latitude to do so. Who knows if he would have done it today. But it still has me thinking, What if?
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1423
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want a PhD you must realize the amount of work required.
If you are not interested in a type of research, do not do it.
It is true that having a doctorate can help getting a job here, but not always.
Having just a MA can be a disadvantage.

Being over 50 is an issue. Just having a doctorate is not enough. I know two teachers who are stuck teaching part-time, despite doing a PhD.
Age discrimination is a reality.
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Vince



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 537
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
If you want a PhD you must realize the amount of work required.
If you are not interested in a type of research, do not do it.
It is true that having a doctorate can help getting a job here, but not always.
Having just a MA can be a disadvantage.

Being over 50 is an issue. Just having a doctorate is not enough. I know two teachers who are stuck teaching part-time, despite doing a PhD.
Age discrimination is a reality.

I know people who got PhDs and saw how much those programs required. For years, they were constantly swamped with research, teaching, etc. A student clearly wouldn't get very far if the research wasn't interesting. As a doctorate holder once advised a few of us who were talking about grad school, review the literature before committing to a program.

The US is in a similar situation. Lots of people go for PhDs in fields that have much more supply than demand, so of course many of them end up piecing together non-tenure-track work at several positions. They hope to add experience to their resume and finally realize the dream, but too often end up being typecast as that non-tenure level of academic. The difference in the US is that you can refocus your expertise toward a career in industry.

Back to that person who has been at the college for all these years. I'd want to know more before getting excited about the example he sets. How much is he being paid? Is it enough to make the PhD worthwhile? Has he gotten to the point that he's compensated and respected at the same level that a Japanese PhD in that position would be?
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taikibansei



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 716
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vince wrote:


Back to that person who has been at the college for all these years. I'd want to know more before getting excited about the example he sets. How much is he being paid? Is it enough to make the PhD worthwhile? Has he gotten to the point that he's compensated and respected at the same level that a Japanese PhD in that position would be?


If he's a tenured faculty member (and it sounds like he is), then yes, he's being paid enough to make a PhD worthwhile financially. I've posted the salary averages before. They are higher (often much higher) than similar positions in the US. (The only exceptions would be faculty in the hard sciences and/or so-called "stars" at the top-ranked humanities programs--these people earn much, much more in the US.)

Again, though, getting a PhD does not automatically get you a good job here--far from it. My post on the first page of this thread discusses the hiring criteria, the odds, and some of the steps one can take to better position oneself.

Good luck.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1423
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As tough as things are here the US can be worse. One teacher told me about being part-time in Illinois. He was in the middle of teaching a class when he was interrupted and told he had lost his job due to budget cuts. PhD in literature. Brutal.
Being over 50 makes it harder, and being a white male.
So he prefers Japan, even though he teaches big writing classes, with almost 40 students.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
Being over 50 makes it harder, and being a white male.


I can understand age discrimination and getting somebody in who's younger for long-term, permanent roles, but I don't agree with enforced diversity, prioritizing ethnic minorities and women over whites and males. Job recruitment should discriminate purely on merit, not race or sex.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1423
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So as that teacher said, get a doctorate when you are younger, or don't bother.
But even then, I wonder. My cousin got a PhD in German and she could not get
a job so she is an actuary or works in insurance.

Frankly there is a glut of people in the US with PhDs. English lit is about as competitive as it gets.
So, I have seen more Americans here over the past several years.
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