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For all you Junior High ALTers
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:06 am    Post subject: For all you Junior High ALTers Reply with quote

So I just recently switched from Conversation school to being a junior high ALT. I am VERY happy about the switch because now my job is normal and not stressful but I need to know if my junior high ALT experience is normal.
So I have only been an ALT for 3 days and I have not had one single class. I ask if I can do things and one lady let me grade her tests (yah!) but other than that I sit there, prepare my one lesson, surf the web, or read Harry Potter. There is a schedule for me, and it has been to all four of the English teachers and I only have 7 classes...FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH! I mean, I shouldnt be complaining, and I am not, but I need to know if this is normal. I am pretty sure that they will add classes (I mean they have to right?) but still. I want to help and I ask the teachers if they could tell me if they need me to help them and so far all I have gotten to do is grade those tests and help a boy practice for a speech contest (which means that I have to sit there all day and then stay an hour late to help him but today he came 40 mins late so I stayed an extra hour to listen to him read his speech twice). For now I dont mind just sitting there because I have Harry Potter and the teacher lets me grade her tests, but I just want to know if this is normal. And are these teachers getting silently angry/jealous that I can just sit and read basically the whole day?
Oh, I asked if I could observe a teachers classes so I did get to do that to.
So please give me your advice. Or just tell me if this is normal, because if this is normal then I will just live through it but if this is not normal and the teachers are building silent rage towards me then I need to know...lol. (I ask about the silent rage thing because at conversation school this happened alot, I would do something wrong, they would never tell me that they didnt want me to do it, so I kept doing it, and then one day they explode...shew..glad to be away from that).
Oh, also, I only have this school for one month, I switch every month between 3 different schools.
Ok, thanks in advance!
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GambateBingBangBOOM



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 1886
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, normal for some schools- the ones that have learned hard lessons about what they can expect from foreign 'teachers' and so go by the rule that if you want something done right, do it yourself. An issue is that if you don't do something to try to get more hours, then that's about what you can expect from that school pretty much all the time, and the boredom will start to get to you in th same way it does to JETs (oh, BTW ARE you a JET?).

At other schools you may have more than twenty hours a week and be expected to do absolutely everything, with the Japanese teacher doing very little other than standing in the class giving off an angry 'this isn't how the last person did it' vibe but never saying anything (but probably only if you're in a private JHS and not a public one because the private ones often have language lab classes- the foreigner's class- on top of the regular grammar class).
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maya.the.bee



Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Posts: 118
Location: Stgo

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my situation is pretty much the same right now. but...

school just started. and our cultural festival is this weekend. between extended homerooms talking about the coming term, preparing for the festival, and the two holidays this month, not much is going on academically. in 4 weeks we have 3 weeks of classes, all on the shortened schedule (45 min).

if it doesn't change by october...prepare for a very boring year. but this is also a good time to study japanese. you'll have plentity of teachers to ask for help. Razz

congrads on your new job!
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I am not a JET.
Yes, definitley a good time to study Japanese.
So do you feel guilty for just sitting there? Like getting paid to read Harry Potter? I guess I am just not used to this...I am used to earning every stinkin dollar the hard way...lol.
Thanks so much for these responses.
Any other comments?
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maya.the.bee



Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Posts: 118
Location: Stgo

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i feel quilty. i spend alot of time playing with my laptop. but i try to make it not so obvious i quess, no game playing & i try to limit my online shopping. i repeatedly check the news and my less likely to offend fav sites, i live in fear the day they take my LAN away or start blocking sites. right now my fav is the coming typhoon. it almost looked like it was coming my way but has since moved north. not very exciting.

the teachers know that i'm bored, but there's not much they can do to help. but they all make an effort to hang around & talk to me when they're not busy.

hang in there...at worst the 2 of us can take over the j-forum during the day.
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cornishmuppet



Joined: 27 Mar 2004
Posts: 638
Location: Nagano, Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoy it while you can, especially if you`ve just escaped the hell that is eikaiwa. You schedule does seem very light, but don`t worry about it, it varies. My lowest ever was 20 classes in a month, but even at busy times I rarely do more than 15 a week. I think that if you offer to do the work then no one can complain. Most teachers want to do things themselves (it won`t look good to their co-workers if they pass their work off to the ALT!) but don`t worry about it. I tend to study Japanese or write a lot in my spare time. As long as I`m doing something that I feel improves myself I don`t see it as time wasted. If Harry Potter is your thing, just kick back with it and let all the eikawa teachers get jealous. You know that 9/10 of them would trade places with you in an instant, whatever they might say.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quibby,
Just exactly how are you getting paid? I hope it's not per class hour.

And, how are you going to be paid during winter break (if at all)?
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get paid 250,00 yen a month regardless of time off and regardless of the classes I teach. So I just get paid a normal salary every month. I dont get to choose my time off like some ALTs I just get the school holidays off.
I feel much better now. I have three classes tomorrow and I feel nervous because I have had 4 days to prepare...lol. Tomorrow will go by so fast.
I told my husband that I need to build something or do something with all the spare time. Maybe I should go walk around Hanyu and see if they notice me gone...lol.
I am going to start Japanese today so that I dont read/surf the web the entire time. I tried to get involved in a photography forum of some sort but I failed, maybe I will try again.
So Maya, do you have anything interesting to discuss? Or...maybe we can meet up and spend the day together since no one will notice us gone? Lol.
I am still very happy and will stay happy after leaving eikaiwa...it was hell...
Smile
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lets talk about some oddities that I have seen so far:
-Junior High School student (semi-feminine male) massaging a old man's teachers shoulders during cleaning time
-the teacheres tend to talk to themselves
-the girl students seem to flirt with the male teachers (all ages) but I havent seen the men flirt back yet
hmm...I will keep thinking...discuss!
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it is because you are new. When will exams be held?
I assume they haven't had tests yet. I bet after the tests you should be teaching more.

In Japan the school year starts in April, so it is almost the middle of the year for them.
My school has two semesters and exams will be held in two weeks.
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bshabu



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 200
Location: Kumagaya

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all the above, Quibby. I taught for three year in a JH. most of my time was spent fighting the urge to fall asleep at my desk. There are some things you can do to get in good with the teachers.

Bring in some of your favorite coffee and share with the staff. I brought some cherry flavored coffee and it was a big hit. Even if it wasn't their favorite, the gesture was appreciated. Also they will love any snack that might have come from your country...the more local the better.

Another thing you can you do is ask if another teacher needs help. I always asked if teacher needed some help. I sat tests during mid-terms. Also joined a couple of clubs from time to time.

I also talked to a lot of the teachers about their interests. You might find you have a lot in common
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the teachers always look so busy, I feel bad for talking to them at all because I dont want them to be behind in their work. But when I do talk to them I enjoy it a lot BUT they dont speak that good of English so I can tell that sometimes she says Yes and has no clue what I am talking about...
I just brought coffee from home but I think the principle took it home...
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe it is testing...I know that the next two weeks are almost completely empty (one class) and the teacher said something about preparing for a test....when are tests usually held?
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flyer



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 539
Location: Sapporo Japan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

your work load does seem very light

but it will vary (???)

I am also not that busy but I do have a few more lessons
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Quibby84



Joined: 10 Aug 2006
Posts: 643
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it does vary...but if they keep giving me tests to grade I may survive...but like I said earlier, I only have this school for a month and then I switch...
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