The Annual Migration of ALTs

The month of March marks both the end and beginning of the Japanese school year. As a result some ALTs (Assistant Learning Teachers) will decide to leave, meaning that new recruits will soon start to arrive. Understandably, various companies’ Facebook pages have been flooded with question about visas, training and suggestions on what to bring. But amongst them, as always, have been some bewildering questions or statements; Continue reading “The Annual Migration of ALTs”

Correcting the Teacher, as an Assistant Teacher.

As an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) at junior high school level (JHS), I work with a Japanese Teacher of English (JTE). There really are too many abbreviations in this job. Anyway, this invites a “team teaching” approach to our lessons that thankfully doesn’t make me just a human tape player reciting from the crappy textbooks. We’ll prepare activities, present dialogue to give students a better understanding of “naturally” spoken English, and attempt to create a more involved learning atmosphere. But like anyone who is studying or teaching a second language, mistakes are bound to occur. The students present their own range of challenges, as I’ve discussed, but the teachers also can create some unique situations in the classroom. Continue reading “Correcting the Teacher, as an Assistant Teacher.”

Valentines in Japan: An obligation to love and work

Up until last year I had never been in a relationship during Valentines Day. Not that I really cared. In fact like with everything these days, it’s just another example of mass commercialisation in our consumerist society. Now that I’m in a relationship, I still harbour the cynicism towards it. But I put in some effort to make it a special occasion. Last year my girlfriend and I took a weekend trip to Osaka, but unfortunately this year it’s on a Tuesday. So I’ll probably end up getting her some flowers and taking her to dinner. Continue reading “Valentines in Japan: An obligation to love and work”