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madwithpower
August 23rd, 2011, 10:33
Last April my school got a new JTE. Since my school is so small, I would usually go to all the English classes and assist the teachers on my JHS days. A few weeks into the school year, the new JTE informed me that he only wanted me to come to class when he requested me. The few times he has requested me, he only wants me to read the book and not work with the students.

I had such a good relationship with my JTEs last year and now going to JHS is such a pain. I miss being able to work with my students in the classroom. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can talk to the JTE (or any of my JTEs) about this?

MixedNuts
August 24th, 2011, 00:39
That sucks. I've been there too. JTEs who act like that are usually the ones who feel that English education means memorizing grammar for tests and entrance exams, not a real live language, and see any time spent on team teaching or communicative English as detracting from "real" English education. Or maybe the JTE is insecure about his own English abilities and uncomfortable with having a native speaker present in his class.

I think that in Japan following the chain of command is important, so start by talking with the JTE. Maybe you can take the beginning of the new semester as an opportunity to approach him and say something like "hey, you know the semester is beginning and I would like to talk with you about what we'll be doing this fall." Maybe ask him if there's anything specific that you can do to help him with his classes. Or show him ideas that you've done with other JTEs in the past and if any of them could be used or modified for his classes. Show that you're willing to adjust to the needs of the class, then maybe the JTE will be willing to bring you to class more. And then once you do that you can slowly try to suggest more interactive activities than being the mere tape recorder. If talking with your JTE directly doesn't really help, then maybe you can next try talking to other JTEs or the head English teacher of that grade or school. You could say something like how you want to make sure all the students have an equal opportunity to take part in team teaching classes but you've noticed you visit some classes more than others, or whatever you feel comfortable saying.

Just remember that not all JTEs are willing to work with an ALT despite their best efforts, so if things improve that's great but if nothing changes don't take it personally.

jwkelley
August 26th, 2011, 02:08
Be funny to say OK and then start trying to be friendly with that JTE more and see what happens without ever bringing up the issue. Maybe ask him for help with doing an online transaction or something. Maybe hang out at the club he teaches, seeing you interact with students there might change his mind. Get him comfortable around you and with his english. Not sure it would work but it would be interesting