Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Day in the Life: Junior High #2

So since I start at Junior High #3 next week, I should tell you about #2 before I forget. But first! A review of important vocabulary and ideas from the last article that is necessary for your understanding and enjoyment:

I am called an ALT: Assistant Language Teacher, and as I am a city ALT I rotate from junior high to junior high every so many months depending on the size of the school. 

School #2 is a decently mid-sized school of about 400 students, not super big but not small or a mountain school by any means.

Junior High is 7-9th grade, and High School is 10-12. In Japanese, ~nensei means year student. So at junior high, there are ichinensei (first graders/ 7th graders), ninensei (second graders/8th graders), and sannensei (third graders/ 9th graders). So it is easiest for me to say ichinensei, ninensei, and sannensei, so this is a helpful key so you know who I am talking about!

At this school, there is 5 classes of ichinensei and ninensei, and 6 classes of sannensei. My first school had 3 of each. So students all over, but still not a super big school.

Also, more vocabulary: JTE= Japanese Teachers of English. These are the English teachers at each school that I work with.

At this school, I have 4 JTEs. One for sannensei, one for ninensei, and two for ichinensei. The sannensei JTE is pretty awesome; she was the easiest to actually team teach with. She would give me liberty to create activities, and we would work together to implement them. Ninensei JTE is an excellent teacher, but I almost never got to make any activities in his classes (not that his activities were bad by any means, it just left me with little to do). For ichinensei JTE #1 (who I saw the most at the end) I was a tape recorder. I read things, and usually did nothing but read things. But JTE #2 for the ichinensei was the worst. There was no control in his classes, and I'm not in charge of discipline in classes, so even if I wanted to do anything I couldn't. It was already difficult enough being a tape recorder in those classes. Those two classes were always a trial, to say the least.

So, a typical day at JH #2! From my apartment, I take a train and a bus to school. However, unlike the last school's bus stop, which was directly in the station, this one required me to stand outside in the cold and rain. Boo. And the bus was usually late too, which was ever so nice. From the time I got on the train, it took about 45 minutes to get to school. Once there I would put my shoes in my cupboard and go to my locker to take off my jacket and put most of my stuff (because there is no permanent ALT at the school, the teacher next to me took the biggest drawer at my desk >.<).

I almost always had classes in the morning, and almost never had any after lunch. So my mornings were usually pretty busy, or I would sit at my desk and write or study. School lunch at this school is not in a separate room. A lady would bring my lunch to me at my desk (usually about 20 minutes before lunch, where it would sit and get cold) and I would eat it right there. Since it was right at my desk, I did have slightly more time to eat it, which is nice. It's still a ridiculous amount of food though.

Now that I've been here long enough, after lunch I now go to the bathroom to happily brush my teeth. My dentist would be so proud, haha. Then I sit at my desk for lunch break. After which is cleaning time! At this school, I help the students and the vice-principal clean the teacher's room. But the students usually pretend to clean / extremely ineffectually clean, so the vice-principal always uses me as an example for the kids ('Don't leave it to Rose!' 'Rose is doing her best! You should too!'). I really wasn't doing anything special, haha.

Then, I would have afternoon classes or study more. I would make myself study, write, or do something productive until 3:30, which is when I would give up and read Game of Thrones. At this school, I did not go visit clubs. Partially because I never got a full tour of the school and didn't know what/where they all were, partially because I could never tell when they started, and partially because I was just really lazy. But going to clubs depends on the school, so it wasn't a big deal. Then I left at 4:45 and got home a bit after 5:30. Yay school!


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