My first week of school was a little different from most people's, I think. Because my school is under construction, they don't have grounds to hold the sports festival (more on that in a later entry). So, they're holding it at the elementary school this coming Thursday, because that's a holiday and school is out. Usually the festival is on a Saturday and class is canceled the following Monday to compensate. Not so much with my school's situation. And as a result, classes are canceled half the time in order to prepare. Which means I don't really have a lot to do.

Additionally, the school year only just started, so there's all the textbooks to hand out and beginning tests to do. So far, I've just given my introduction to each homeroom, which was about 14 times. And I think I still have a couple more third year classes I haven't gotten to yet. I've also assisted in a couple 2nd year classes, which means I read flash cards or lyrics or short paragraphs from the workbook. Nothing terribly exciting, and lots of time in the teachers' room. This week is going to be a lot of the same, but after that, things should go back to normal.

Instead I'll talk about how my school runs, for those who aren't familiar with the Japanese system.
Each grade is divided into homerooms, and those homerooms are where the students stay all day. The teachers switch rooms according to the schedule, and when they aren't in class, they're in the teacher's room. Everyone has their own desk, and students are often in and out. Before a student can enter, they have to announce their grade, homeroom, name, and purpose. At the beginning of each class, students come down to the teacher's room to see if the teacher needs any help carrying materials to class. Sometimes they come down to get the schedule for the following day, to report back to the rest of their class. As you can imagine, it can get very noisy and busy in between classes.

This isn't my picture, it's from wikipedia, but my teachers' room looks almost exactly like that. My desk is on the inside facing away from the window, right in the middle. The other ALT has a desk right across from me, though he's only there on Mondays and Wednesday.

As for class itself, it always starts with the aisatsu, or greeting. The students stand and the script goes like so:
Japanese Language Teacher: Good morning, everyone.
Students: Good morning, Ms ___
Assistant Language Teacher (me): Good morning, everyone.
Students: Good morning, Ms Lauren
ALT: How are you today?
Students: I'm good, thank you. How are you today?
ALT: I'm ____( usually fine, good, or sleepy). What day is it today?
Students: It's *day*
ALT: What's the date today?
Students: It's *date*
ALT: What's the weather like today?
Students: It's *mumble mumble*

And then I repeat all the answers and they repeat after me and then we go into the lesson or warm-up. A couple of my teachers use songs for warm-ups, and as a result, I had ABBA in my head for a couple days. Good times.

I think that's it for one entry. Next time will probably be about the sports festival. Let me know if you have any more questions about the school. :)

Comments (1)

On April 25, 2010 at 12:54 PM , Julie said...

Whoa, that's kinda crazy! I'm kinda glad now that I wasn't an ALT... THat's really weird about the teachers' lounge. Japanese people are just..strange!