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Amount of free time
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zbird



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:51 am    Post subject: Amount of free time Reply with quote

While I like teaching and that's a big part of the reason I'd like to go into it, another part of the reason I'm considering teaching abroad is so I'll have more free time to pursue my personal interests and goals than what I have right now.

So I'd like to ask, how much free time exactly do you have as an eikawa teacher? How much time is spent working on lesson plans? Besides that, are you pretty much free after work and on weekends? How much free time do you have each day and does the job tire you out to the extent that you don't feel like you can devote time to personal interests?
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It may depend on a couple of things.

1. If your employer wants you to work 5 consecutive days or 6, and whether those 5 days fall on a Sat/Sun (when many people are free).

2. If you have never planned a lesson and want to do well, you might spend some time at home preparing.

3. If you are a nightowl or an earlybird, what may be available to you could be different. Movie rentals, late night bars/restaurants, etc.

4. What sort of transportation is available to you (car, bike, scooter, public), and where you are located (rural area, suburbs, inner city) will affect what's accessible.

When I did eikaiwa, I had Mon-Fri classes, noon to 9pm and got home around 10pm. I spent my mornings with household chores, banking, and some shopping. My weekends were 2 consecutive days, and I had a bicycle to get me around my neighborhood.
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zbird



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Were you really tired after work? Did you have energy to do anything? And how much time is spent lesson planning outside work? I hope I'm not coming across like I want to work as little as possible or anything, just want to get an idea of what I can reasonably expect and whether it would be compatible with my interests outside of work.
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steki47



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 680
Location: BFE Inaka

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are thinking of personal interests and time for hobbies, errands and such, the teaching jobs differ greatly.

As Glenski mentioned, most of the conversation schools have afternoon to evening classes. 12-9, etc. Having mornings off is great for going to the bank and post office but a 7pm karate class-sorry.

ALT jobs are usually 8-4 or thereabouts. Going to the bank can be a problem but your evenings are free.

EDIT: I just re-read your post. I'm an idiot. The eikaiwa schedule still gives you plenty of time for studying and reading. Socially, I found it a bit tricky as many of my Japanese friends had 9-5 schedules and I only saw them on weekends (which you may or not work).
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zbird



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aren't eikawas the same as conversation schools? So you feel a 12-9 schedule gives you plenty of personal time?
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ssjup81



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 561
Location: Tendo, Yamagata, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work for an eikaiwa, but my hours are a bit different. 10:00 - 9:00 and get home after 10:00. I do have Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays off. Personally, I think I prefer to have a normal 8-hour day five days a week. I can never seem to get myself together.
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steki47



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 680
Location: BFE Inaka

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zbird wrote:
Aren't eikawas the same as conversation schools? So you feel a 12-9 schedule gives you plenty of personal time?


Yes, the same. I liked the 12-9 schedule as I could take Japanese lessons in the morning. Lots of time to go out at night, exercise in the morning, etc.

The downside was that I couldn't do early evening things. Aikido class, etc. Could only go on the weekends. Socially, I met Japanese people who also had similar schedules.
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zbird



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steki47 wrote:
zbird wrote:
Aren't eikawas the same as conversation schools? So you feel a 12-9 schedule gives you plenty of personal time?


Yes, the same. I liked the 12-9 schedule as I could take Japanese lessons in the morning. Lots of time to go out at night, exercise in the morning, etc.

The downside was that I couldn't do early evening things. Aikido class, etc. Could only go on the weekends. Socially, I met Japanese people who also had similar schedules.


Thanks. And did you feel too tired after work to do stuff (how tiring is eikawa work?) and how much time is spent lesson planning outside work?
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zbird wrote:
Were you really tired after work? Did you have energy to do anything? And how much time is spent lesson planning outside work?
I'm a nightowl (not a bar person), so yes, I had energy for movies, Internet surfing, reading, etc. Weekends were very open, and I did a lot of exploring on my bike, which spurred me to start writing a monthly newsletter (going on 12 years now).

Quote:
And how much time is spent lesson planning outside work?
Nobody can answer that. You and I are different creatures. Have you ever planned a lesson for a class of foreign students? How much of a perfectionist are you? What sort of training do you have?

Also, your employer may have a set plan of lessons for you already and may not want you to deviate from them, so all you would have to do in that case is know what you have to do in advance. Minimal planning there. I had total freedom as long as I covered a certain no. of pages in the text.

Quote:
Aren't eikawas the same as conversation schools? So you feel a 12-9 schedule gives you plenty of personal time?
Yes, eikaiwa are conversation schools. As I wrote earlier, how much "free time" you have will depend on several factors. I had plenty. Your mileage may vary.

Just what sort of "personal time" did you want, and how do you want to pursue it? Wildlife photography? Working out? Long walks in the woods? Dance classes? Teaching on the side? Writing/researching a novel? Taking extension courses? Dating a stable of partners? Not that we can truly answer, but it would help to know more of where you are coming from.
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zbird



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I'd like to know how much time it takes you and other people to plan lessons outside work, then that gives me a rough idea of what the average amount of time is. I'm asking this partly as a survey question. I don't have ESL teaching experience although I do have some other teaching experience.

I have personal interests and goals related to the creative arts.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zbird wrote:
Actually, I'd like to know how much time it takes you and other people to plan lessons outside work, then that gives me a rough idea of what the average amount of time is. I'm asking this partly as a survey question. I don't have ESL teaching experience although I do have some other teaching experience.
It will vary incredibly on what you need to prepare and how good you are at it, how persnickety you are at perfection, and what materials you have at hand. I'd say anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours per lesson. Perhaps a rough average would be 1.5 hours.
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DtlaCuriousity



Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zbird wrote:
steki47 wrote:
zbird wrote:
Aren't eikawas the same as conversation schools? So you feel a 12-9 schedule gives you plenty of personal time?


Yes, the same. I liked the 12-9 schedule as I could take Japanese lessons in the morning. Lots of time to go out at night, exercise in the morning, etc.

The downside was that I couldn't do early evening things. Aikido class, etc. Could only go on the weekends. Socially, I met Japanese people who also had similar schedules.


Thanks. And did you feel too tired after work to do stuff (how tiring is eikawa work?) and how much time is spent lesson planning outside work?


I find eikaiwa work to be very tiring. Exhausting would be more accurate. It isn't too difficult, but I find it to be too repetitive and mind numbing. I work for one of the big chains, so planning outside of work is non existent. Each lesson is 40 minutes and after a while, your energy gets depleted, and it becomes harder and harder to smile and be genki (genuinely at least). This is why I think it is a great idea to actually spend your free time pursuing other social and personal interests. Unfortunately, the usual schedule is pretty anti-social and like I said, it leaves me drained of energy and motivation sometimes. I would say more importantly though is building your social network, location of where you live, and actually putting in work into pursuing your interests.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if this will be relevant for you zbird or not, but public school teaching with a much shorter working day in the US or Canada - in my experience - was a much more tiring and stressful day than Eikawa work (in my case with former GEOS) in Japan. I took a lot of work home with me as a public school teacher - and even with generous holiday time there was a serious amount of paperwork to do and lesson planning which needed to documented with lengthy paperwork. My experience in Japan is that I could arrive about an hour early for work to do my prep in the morning (if I didn't have time during the work day to do so the day before). I didn't - ever - need to take work home with me.

JET experiences vary - but you may consider that route. Many JETS that I hear about follow very regular schedules. And - therefore a good amount of free-time...

For that matter, ALTS do too - with a caution that the quality of ALT companies (and the schools that they place you in - sometimes several at once) varies...
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ssjup81



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 561
Location: Tendo, Yamagata, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can write a bit more now, and compose my thoughts better.

Okay, in my opinion, I feel that eikaiwa work is much more tiring and stressful than ALT work, in my experience so far, but of course, every situation is different.

As for planning for the eikaiwa lessons, it's not necessarily the time for planning the lessons that's time-consuming, it's deciding on what to teach in the first place because the place I work for is so small that it really doesn't have much of a curriculum. I decide on the lessons and the content of said lessons. So for me, compared to the ALT work I did, this eikaiwa work is highly stressful and time consuming. I do find things to do on my days off, sometimes, but I still need at least an entire day (or two) devoted to just lesson planning and brainstorming...which I'm doing now.

With ALT work, I got home earlier, could usually run more errands, it was easier to grocery shop (seeing as how I start work before the grocery store opens, and it closes before I finish), studying was easier for me to do too.

But of course, every situation is different and can vary. For me, so far, I prefer ALT work to eikaiwa work, but only because of how this eikaiwa is set up.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ssjup81 wrote:
As for planning for the eikaiwa lessons, it's not necessarily the time for planning the lessons that's time-consuming, it's deciding on what to teach in the first place because the place I work for is so small that it really doesn't have much of a curriculum. I decide on the lessons and the content of said lessons.


Maybe you could talk to the owner about using a textbook or two. It doesn't need to cost loads, and the students wouldn't have to fork out for them as you could use photocopies.
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