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THE
March 11th, 2015, 14:36
Graduation and other times of year where I have no work and am doing nothing kinda make me crazy.
Your responses, please, I'll love you forever.

johnny
March 11th, 2015, 14:38
Do you not see what we do? Look at all the posting today.

THE
March 11th, 2015, 14:49
I am literally kinda lost, I'm new here. :v

uthinkimlost?
March 11th, 2015, 14:51
>Enter Alpo911 to save the day

Apollo87
March 11th, 2015, 14:52
- Study Japanese
- Learn a new skill (coding at codeacademy.com or something)
- Print out some music scores and play piano or guitar in the music room.
- Go running around the school grounds
- Join P.E. or Art or ANYTHING outside your regular English classes with one of your classes
- Write (a book, a blog post, a guide for your successor)
- Chat with coworkers
- Sit in the library for a change of scenery
- Play boardgames with the librarian or caretaker
- Get a deck of cards and learn some magic tricks
- Hang out with your special needs students
- Bask in the fact that you are being paid to do whatever you please.

uthinkimlost?
March 11th, 2015, 14:52
- Study Japanese
- Learn a new skill (coding at codeacademy.com or something)
- Print out some music scores and play piano or guitar in the music room.
- Go running around the school grounds
- Join P.E. or Art or ANYTHING outside your regular English classes with one of your classes
- Write (a book, a blog post, a guide for your successor)
- Chat with coworkers
- Sit in the library for a change of scenery
- Play boardgames with the librarian or caretaker
- Get a deck of cards and learn some magic tricks
- Hang out with your special needs students
- Bask in the fact that you are being paid to do whatever you please.

-and boom goes the dynamite.

Apollo87
March 11th, 2015, 14:55
Haha you called it eh

Ini
March 11th, 2015, 14:57
Has graduation happened yet? if not there is plenty you can do to prepare for that.

uthinkimlost?
March 11th, 2015, 15:06
Haha you called it eh

Dude, most people can recognize puppet accounts.

THE
March 11th, 2015, 15:10
A novel it is.
Was genuinely curious if anyone else had the above problems and what their preferred remedies are, not just advice for myself.

Ini
March 11th, 2015, 15:13
there is always something you could be doing at school. reading books, going for a jog, going to play the guitar, hiding in the library etc is insulting to the other members of staff. Go do your job.

mothy
March 11th, 2015, 15:14
You're not alone. Some schools keep ALTs busier than others. Just pursue your interests. Be sure to be prepared for when you have classes again though.

Apollo87
March 11th, 2015, 15:18
there is always something you could be doing at school. reading books, going for a jog, going to play the guitar, hiding in the library etc is insulting to the other members of staff. Go do your job.

What about posting on ITIL all day?

THE
March 11th, 2015, 15:22
'Bowlcut-sensei' is an insult to staff, and I'd die for my own right to say it.

Bowlcut-sensei.

I work at the unbusy kind of school, so I'm going to put my head in a book because it helps with the boredom.

Ini
March 11th, 2015, 15:23
I've observed 4 lessons, gave a presentation on 3/11, had a training meeting and still put up solid gold on popular anti-Saitama site ITIL.com. Its not my fault you cant multitask.

Jiggit
March 11th, 2015, 15:28
I've observed 4 lessons

In one day? Jeez, no wonder you're in such a foul mood all the time.

THE
March 11th, 2015, 15:29
I don't think anybody can multi-task (scholarly proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ).

Are you sure you're an ALT, because it sounds like you have an actual job.

Apollo87
March 11th, 2015, 15:33
Goodjob buddy. Sorry uthinkimlost, but Ini, you da real MVP.

johnny
March 11th, 2015, 15:34
I've observed 4 lessons, gave a presentation on 3/11, had a training meeting and still put up solid gold on popular anti-Saitama site ITIL.com. Its not my fault you cant multitask.

I have to say, that's pretty good. Do you offer to do these things, or do they ask you to do these things?

Jiggit
March 11th, 2015, 15:36
Ini hasn't been an ALT for a while now. That is his job.

Ini
March 11th, 2015, 15:37
Sorry uthinkimlost, but Ini, you da real MVP.


In your face uthinkimlost! Now I'm the one with the signature line of trainers! go back to the farm leagues!

uthinkimlost?
March 11th, 2015, 15:58
In your face uthinkimlost! Now I'm the one with the signature line of trainers! go back to the farm leagues!

http://sonichu.com/w/images/thumb/0/0e/Rawr_fag.jpg/180px-Rawr_fag.jpg

coop52
March 12th, 2015, 09:40
there is always something you could be doing at school. reading books, going for a jog, going to play the guitar, hiding in the library etc is insulting to the other members of staff. Go do your job.

Seriously. Go grab a rag and clean something. Surely your school has a big storage room full of teaching materials that probably needs dusting and organizing.

starfish
March 12th, 2015, 15:35
"In the absence of orders, find something and kill it."

THE
March 12th, 2015, 16:26
Well, as much as I'm enjoying this flogging, I'd appreciate it if anyone actually wanted to answer the question. If not, do me a favor and let the thread die.

mothy
March 12th, 2015, 16:29
Aren't they answering your question?

word
March 12th, 2015, 21:14
They're not answering the question in a manner that could be published on JetCoaster. C'mon, guys; be more genki! Give moar positive suggestions!

mothy
March 12th, 2015, 21:24
Ganbatte ZA! Study Japanese ne! Your time on JET will be over before you know it. Ocha sakura manga anime kyoto shibuya maid cafe geisha kudasai!

uthinkimlost?
March 12th, 2015, 21:30
Oh, right. Better suggestions:

-groom your soup strainer
-write blog entries on someone else's website
-trawl JET sites looking for content to lift for your own
-look for bitching cars to rent
-break into a sweat looking at job search sites

mothy
March 12th, 2015, 21:41
Love it.

New user: question
ITIL: honest answer
New user: don't be an asshole
ITIL: is an asshole

And the beautiful tradition continues.

haitch40
March 13th, 2015, 02:25
I've observed 4 lessons,
You are allowed to observe lessons? That is plenty of entertainment.

Ode to a Grasshopper
March 13th, 2015, 07:13
Maybe this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qkrKTAOv2M) will help.
:022:

Apollo87
March 13th, 2015, 08:10
Have a good day at today's graduation ceremony guys^^

Virgil
March 13th, 2015, 08:48
Love it.

New user: question
ITIL: honest answer
New user: don't be an asshole
ITIL: is an asshole

And the beautiful tradition continues.
It' the circle of liiiiife... and it moves us aaaaall....

webstaa
March 13th, 2015, 08:58
You are allowed to observe lessons? That is plenty of entertainment.

Find the cooking classes smash your way in for free food. Or ask to shadow a gym class when they're doing a sport you're (unknown to the students) good at and then utterly smash any challengers.

Virgil
March 13th, 2015, 17:05
a sport you're (unknown to the students) good at and then utterly smash any challengers.

This first requires that I be good at a sports. Last time I checked... Yep I'm on the JET programme.

Ananasboat
March 13th, 2015, 23:21
This first requires that I be good at a sports. Last time I checked... Yep I'm on the JET programme.

I'm half tempted to crash the chorus because I'm at least AS decent if not SLIGHTLY MORE decent than crying middle schoolers. Seriously, the songs they sang were quiet as hell because everyone was just sobbing.

Virgil
March 14th, 2015, 03:26
I'm half tempted to crash the chorus because I'm at least AS decent if not SLIGHTLY MORE decent than crying middle schoolers. Seriously, the songs they sang were quiet as hell because everyone was just sobbing.
Now chorus I could do. Unfortunately my school does not have one.

patjs
March 17th, 2015, 07:12
Are you at a base school with others that you visit? If you get to a point you really can't take it anymore think about making up a fake class or meeting somewhere else and just go home.

This all depends on how close people are paying attention to your schedule. Most of the time the answer to this is going to be that no one gives a crap about the ALT's schedule.

THE
March 25th, 2015, 08:49
Love it.

New user: question
ITIL: honest answer
New user: don't be an asshole
ITIL: is an asshole

And the beautiful tradition continues.

I thought maybe I wasn't the only person with mind-numbing boredom, so the 'you' in "What do you guys..." was an attempt at making conversation. I get that people sometimes ask for advice indirectly that way, but oh wells.

Ananasboat
March 25th, 2015, 09:19
I power through my boredom by trolling ITIL, drinking coffee and staring at the clock. Sure, I've got my Japanese textbooks right next to me, but that's boring.

johnny
March 25th, 2015, 09:31
I want to use a half-day of nenkyuu to kill boredom today.

Ananasboat
March 25th, 2015, 09:42
I want to use a half-day of nenkyuu to kill boredom today.

But I feel like if I did go home, I'd have wasted a half day of nenkyu to go and do the same shit at my apartment down the street. I MAY have the gumption to clean if I went home on paid time, but I would probably just play video games.

johnny
March 25th, 2015, 09:52
I'd go for a jog at least. Then I'd play video games.

Ananasboat
March 25th, 2015, 09:58
Something something bad knees. Used to be passably athletic and then BAM Osgood-Schlatter f'ed up my knees. Now I've got this crazy knob on my already janky legs.

THE
March 25th, 2015, 10:23
Thanks for chiming in, guys :)

johnny
March 25th, 2015, 10:33
Well, it gives people a good idea of what ALT life is like.

Ananasboat
March 25th, 2015, 10:36
You know what I want to happen? I want my coworkers to come up to me with an English question, or give me a postcard they got from pred and ask me to translate it. Or, have me explain an email or error message they received. These are all things that I've had asked of me, but I want that to happen all day. I want translation projects out the butt, and I want people to ask me "why do you say 'on a team' instead of 'in a team?" That's the kind of nerddom I thrive in.

johnny
March 25th, 2015, 10:45
That would be nice. I'm told to "just relax".

Ananasboat
March 25th, 2015, 10:52
That would be nice. I'm told to "just relax".

You're always so antsy, Johnny, you making the people around you antsy. Just take a chill pill. If you need, take a run around the building. But please, for god sake, just calm down a minute.

This is what I do when I'm bored and isolated at work.

MikeCarter
March 25th, 2015, 10:53
You know what I want to happen? I want my coworkers to come up to me with an English question, or give me a postcard they got from pred and ask me to translate it. Or, have me explain an email or error message they received. These are all things that I've had asked of me, but I want that to happen all day. I want translation projects out the butt, and I want people to ask me "why do you say 'on a team' instead of 'in a team?" That's the kind of nerddom I thrive in.

You should take up knitting.

Why DO we say on a team instead of in a team?

Ananasboat
March 25th, 2015, 11:05
You should take up knitting.

Why DO we say on a team instead of in a team?

Would love to. I just think that me taking out knitting needles and thread in the middle of the office is a huge fuck you to my coworkers. So that's why I maniacally type and read lots. I even have my textbook open in front of me from time to time.

As for the question, the answer had something to do with psychology, and that I think at least in the UK it's the other way around. I don't know. I've been looking for the link but I can't seem to find it.

Jiggit
March 25th, 2015, 11:07
Would love to. I just think that me taking out knitting needles and thread in the middle of the office is a huge fuck you to my coworkers.

Pretty sure they'd just think you were cute.

Ananasboat
March 25th, 2015, 11:11
Pretty sure they'd just think you were cute.

Maybe cute as in, "oh, look at that kid knitting while the adults are working. I wish I was that oblivious and could get away with it. See how she doesn't pick up on social cues? Ahh, innocence."

uthinkimlost?
March 25th, 2015, 11:29
Maybe cute as in, "oh, look at that kid knitting while the adults are working. I wish I was that oblivious and could get away with it. See how she doesn't pick up on social cues? Ahh, innocence."

Thats the only kind of cute gaijin achieve.

jigglypuff
March 25th, 2015, 14:21
Hello,

I was actually the first ALT at my high school, so this whole process was new for me and my JTEs as well, and really different from what I expected. Sometimes I seriously feel like I'm dying away slowly at my desk because I don't have anything to do and like I have no purpose, just wasting away while Japanese people scurry here and there around me xD And sometimes the loneliness is really overbearing, especially when people are just having fun conversations all around you but no one really speaks to you. It's been difficult trying to stay driven and positive while trying to resist apathy, resentment, depression, insanity... But thankfully, things have changed (albeit at a snail's pace) for the better! I know your situation is different, but here are some of the things I've done that have been really helpful:

--Have meetings with your JTEs and brainstorm ideas about how you can be more involved (make sure you have a clear idea about what you want to talk about and also present your own ideas). This was perhaps the best thing I was able to talk about how I felt, about what I wanted to do, and get a clearer picture about what I could and couldn't do. Before I had meetings with my JTEs, all I had was a bunch of ideas and casual conversations with them--after the meetings, things became official, we hashed out the practical steps we needed to take, and we could hold each other accountable for getting things done.
--Construct a postbox to exchange letters and pictures with students, and you can respond to letters in your spare time.
--Ask your JTEs if you can have a poster board, you can make posters monthly or weekly about your home country. This takes a lot of time to research what you'll do and then make the actual posters themselves, good for days with no classes.
--If you have a particular hobby or skill (I play volleyball, guitar, and I paint), ask about how you can use it to be more involved in your school (sometimes I help play volleyball or just watch games, I go to the music club and watch performances, I sometimes play songs in class, I join the art club sometimes, and I've started a monthly English comic).
--Start an English Newspaper for your school and publish it monthly or weekly, preparation to completion can take about 1-2 days.
--Talk with your teachers about lesson planning for the next year/month/week
--Ask your JTEs if they need help with grading or if they can help you with your projects
--Ask your JTEs if they are tutoring any students, and if they need help tutoring
--Research English camps and promote them among your students, submit applications, do testing, volunteer (here in Hokkaido, we have the Hokkaido English Camp hosted by HAJET, maybe there's something similar in your prefecture)
--Research activities and worksheets, create a folder of teaching resources

For improving relationships in the office without much Japanese skill (I just started learning Japanese when I came to Japan!):
--Ask your JTEs if you can start an Eikaiwa with the teachers in the office--you can meet during the holiday seasons when there are no classes.
--Bake cookies/brownies/etc. for the people at your table
--Give them omiyage after your trips, talk to them about your trips and ask them about their vacations
--Randomly give them treats like chocolate or something when you have some to spare
--Ask other non-English teachers to help you when you have simple questions that can be asked and understood in Japanese
--Ask club teachers when students will have games or activities, ask them to keep you as informed as possible
--Share pictures of your family and your life in America with the people at your table
--Share music you like with people at your table

For getting through the days when there literally is nothing to do:
--Bring headphones and your mp3 player. It really helps drown everything else out and put you in your own world.
--Read a book, catch up on your favorite stories (currently going through The Lord of the Rings again hehe)
--Research everything!
--Plan your next vacation. Golden Week is coming up soon!
--Study Japanese (and ask your coworkers for help)
--Write letters or emails home and to friends
--Practice origami
--Go on this website and respond to forums
--See how you can get involved in your prefectural AJET organization

Perhaps the biggest factor was that I stopped expecting and depending on my JTEs to just give me the meaningful work and the purpose that I wanted. This change in perspective really empowered me to take more control over what I could, and be more proactive in doing what I wanted to do. Meeting with my JTEs and just letting my ideas and feelings be known was also another huge factor, it involved them in what I did and it also kind of bound them to helping me do these things. Plus, I think it was good for the JTEs to know that I was serious about my work and doing the best that I could--it helped build trust and also motivated them to help me. I feel like my JTEs are just so much more open to my ideas now and they respect me a lot more as a person and coworker, and I've noticed that this has in turn affected how the other Japanese teachers view me and approach me as well.

Of course there are still days when I feel like total shit, but overall things have gotten better. This week and next are spring break--I'll be making posters, working on a newspaper for the new school year starting next month, making a new English comic for next month, grading tests, conducting tests for an English camp, meeting with some JTEs to discuss lesson plans for next month, baking cookies for the leaving teachers and helping them move out of their houses, and if I have extra free time then I'll finalize my Golden Week plans, join a club for a bit, or make a new spring playlist x)

Hopefully this will give you some ideas on how to make the most of your situation! Depending on what you like to do and what you're good at, things will definitely look differently. Well, this turned out much longer than I expected lol ... Good luck and ganbatte :D

hypatia
March 26th, 2015, 14:47
Maybe cute as in, "oh, look at that kid knitting while the adults are working. I wish I was that oblivious and could get away with it. See how she doesn't pick up on social cues? Ahh, innocence."

There's a math teacher at one of my schools who does embroidery at her desk when she's really bored. I brought in my knitting once after observing her do this, and she was pretty amused, but I stopped because I kept losing my place by carrying it around in my bag. This same teacher also sleeps at her desk occasionally, so it's pretty clear she just dgaf.

Ananasboat
March 26th, 2015, 14:51
There's a math teacher at one of my schools who does embroidery at her desk when she's really bored. I brought in my knitting once after observing her do this, and she was pretty amused, but I stopped because I kept losing my place by carrying it around in my bag. This same teacher also sleeps at her desk occasionally, so it's pretty clear she just dgaf.

I've fallen asleep at my desk a couple times. I was sick both times and on some pretty heavy sleep inducing pills. I'm always on pills, wow. But anyway, my JTE was like, "are you okay? If you're this sick you can go home, I'll tell people you've gone to the bathroom if they ask." He's my bro, but I stayed at school in order to look tough. Sleepy tough.

Recently though at cute JTE's school I've been challenging the other teachers to sudoku competitions. That fills up time nicely, and I include the other teachers in my boredom fighting.

Virgil
March 26th, 2015, 14:56
Jesus, I don't know how you can sleep with so many people around. I must have a sick survival instinct, because I can't sleep if there is another person in the room. I recently stayed at a hostel. It was awful. I mean, it was OK except for the fact that all I could do was lay there instead of sleep.

hypatia
March 26th, 2015, 15:10
I've fallen asleep at my desk a couple times. I was sick both times and on some pretty heavy sleep inducing pills. I'm always on pills, wow. But anyway, my JTE was like, "are you okay? If you're this sick you can go home, I'll tell people you've gone to the bathroom if they ask." He's my bro, but I stayed at school in order to look tough. Sleepy tough.

Recently though at cute JTE's school I've been challenging the other teachers to sudoku competitions. That fills up time nicely, and I include the other teachers in my boredom fighting.

Haha, it's funny you mention that. Said math teacher was making some sudoku puzzles for the students a few weeks ago(I'm not entirely clear if it was for homework or just for giggles). When I saw her making them I asked for one, and completed it rather quickly. After that she gave me a sheet of really difficult ones to work on, which is what I've been doing in my off time at that school the past couple of weeks.

THE
March 26th, 2015, 16:19
Thanks, Jig.

As I keep trying to clarify, I wasn't asking for personal advice, but I appreciate the time you spent on that monster post, and letting me know I'm not alone. There is some good advice in there though, but I'm a crusty curmudgeon with a heart of coal, and at this point, I'm just waiting for the next job, really. I have gladly been helping out here or there this week when asked, but otherwise I'm listening to beats and writing.

MikeCarter
March 27th, 2015, 00:28
Jesus, I don't know how you can sleep with so many people around. I must have a sick survival instinct, because I can't sleep if there is another person in the room. I recently stayed at a hostel. It was awful. I mean, it was OK except for the fact that all I could do was lay there instead of sleep.

You've never been truly tired then.

I once basically collapsed from exhaustion in an airport. It was a 2ish long hour transfer from a morning flight, and I had made the mistake of thinking I could sleep on the plane so I had stayed up all night before then. Was wide awake on the plane, but as soon as we arrived at the terminal for a layover I was feeling fatigued. Walked around until I found a chair, sat down, and moments later I woke up again and it was almost time for my flight.

I had never slept in a remotely public place until this time.

weepinbell
March 27th, 2015, 00:59
You've never been truly tired then.

I once basically collapsed from exhaustion in an airport. It was a 2ish long hour transfer from a morning flight, and I had made the mistake of thinking I could sleep on the plane so I had stayed up all night before then. Was wide awake on the plane, but as soon as we arrived at the terminal for a layover I was feeling fatigued. Walked around until I found a chair, sat down, and moments later I woke up again and it was almost time for my flight.

I had never slept in a remotely public place until this time.

That's what sleeping pills (and booze) are for on those long flights. The only reliable sleeping aids on planes tbh...

Apollo87
March 28th, 2015, 22:45
Perhaps the biggest factor was that I stopped expecting and depending on my JTEs to just give me the meaningful work and the purpose that I wanted. This change in perspective really empowered me to take more control over what I could, and be more proactive in doing what I wanted to do. Meeting with my JTEs and just letting my ideas and feelings be known was also another huge factor, it involved them in what I did and it also kind of bound them to helping me do these things. Plus, I think it was good for the JTEs to know that I was serious about my work and doing the best that I could--it helped build trust and also motivated them to help me. I feel like my JTEs are just so much more open to my ideas now and they respect me a lot more as a person and coworker, and I've noticed that this has in turn affected how the other Japanese teachers view me and approach me as well.



Awesome post, and you echo pretty much exactly how I feel about this issue as well.

I feel like for someone stuck in a rut, they may look at your post and be like "woah, look at dis here super ALT, I'm not one of those go-getters, F dat noise", but I challenge people to pick just ONE of those things you listed everyday and try it. Build things up slowly. As the school year is starting over, you've got a fresh start now to drop the lazyness and apathy and be more proactive.

Seriously, if someone did all those things you listed, they would have a tremendously rewarding school life.

mothy
March 28th, 2015, 23:46
Seriously, if someone did all those things you listed, they would have a tremendously rewarding school life.

I did all those things he listed my first year because I thought my school wanted someone to act professionally in a learning environment. I became a hated trouble maker for daring to disturb the status quo. The next two years I did nothing but diddle around on the internet all day and be seen but not heard and became everyones favorite ALT.

I know you believe the world is made out of sunshine, rainbows, and gummy bears and if you do everything the right way it'll all work out, but some of us have our eyes open and see the real world where the result of our efforts is entirely out of our hands. This hard cruel world that looks at the best we offer and returns to us at random life and death, joy and sorrow, heartbreak and triumph doesn't care about justice.
So what can we do then? Sure we can try to do our job to the best of our abilities. Then if we, through pure chance, have things go well, we can pat ourselves on the back and with the smug pridefulness of a religious zealot who believes their deity has answered their prayers to save their loved one while allowing millions of others to die say to ourselves it was our activity that made it all work out. Or we can accept that nothing an ALT can do is of significance and do what we'd really like, which is masturbate in the girls toilet.

Virgil
March 29th, 2015, 00:52
ESID, yo.

Virgil
March 29th, 2015, 00:54
You've never been truly tired then.

I've fallen asleep while driving before. That was pretty dangerous.