PDA

View Full Version : Mending Relationship with Supervisor



Cbill1
March 11th, 2015, 19:03
So, out of curiosity, have any of you ever had a falling out with your supervisor?

What happened? Were you able to mend the relationship afterwards?

Asking for a friend, of course.

uthinkimlost?
March 11th, 2015, 19:15
Your friend needs to provide more context to get decent advice.

word
March 11th, 2015, 19:29
Yeh it kinda depends on the nature of the "falling out."

"I corrected his English front of the students" and "I impregnated his wife" are two very different things.

That said, I recommend the Ben Franklin method. It is f*cked up but it can actually work remarkably well. I had an unpleasant relationship with one of my JTEs when I first started; on a fluke, having just read of the method, I tried it, and was astounded at how well it worked.

Cbill1
March 11th, 2015, 19:32
Context is a little hard, imo, since I'm not exactly sure what it was that set him off?

As far as I can tell, it was a buildup of little things. I think I keep offending him or saying things that he takes the wrong way because of different cultural contexts, but I don't know how to solve that aside from keeping my mouth shut for the next year and a half.

I've also got a pretty bad case of culture shock, which I've tried​ to hint at/explain, but he doesn't see why culture shock is a big deal.

word
March 11th, 2015, 19:38
Sounds pretty typical. I still say go with the Ben Franklin method. Nothing to lose, lots to gain. Be sure to do it right.

The shoxxx, eh? Hang in there. Spring is a couple of weeks away and you'll probably feel a lot better after that.

Cbill1
March 11th, 2015, 19:39
The shoxxx, eh? Hang in there. Spring is a couple of weeks away and you'll probably feel a lot better after that.

Ya. My dreams are already filled with spring.

Between the blistering cold, March snow, and student death that happened this semester, I'm more than happy to welcome the new school year with open arms.

Virgil
March 12th, 2015, 10:58
On the topic of culture shock. I'm convinced that there is a type of culture shock that happens to new teachers no matter where you are. It can be easier or worse depending on the situation. I definitely had it - full on panic attacks and shit. Needless to say, I taught Satan's children. Then things just got better and it was manageable. I didn't recognize it as culture shock until I started reading about CS in preparation for coming to Japan.

It must be a double dose for those who do not know what it is like to be on the other side of the classroom.

Cbill1
March 12th, 2015, 12:00
On the topic of culture shock. I'm convinced that there is a type of culture shock that happens to new teachers no matter where you are. It can be easier or worse depending on the situation. I definitely had it - full on panic attacks and shit. Needless to say, I taught Satan's children. Then things just got better and it was manageable. I didn't recognize it as culture shock until I started reading about CS in preparation for coming to Japan.

It must be a double dose for those who do not know what it is like to be on the other side of the classroom.

Not to mention the huge difference between teaching pedagogy in the US (and I assume many other countries) and Japan.

Ini
March 12th, 2015, 12:01
using words like pedagogy in front of a JTE is the fastest way to get them to hate you.

Jiggit
March 12th, 2015, 12:04
I didn't recognize it as culture shock until I started reading about CS in preparation for coming to Japan.

Or maybe it was just... stress? From having a bad job? Why does everyone have to stick a label on their feels? So you can legitimise them to yourself?

Cbill1
March 12th, 2015, 12:06
using words like pedagogy in front of a JTE is the fastest way to get them to hate you.

Another lesson I've learned the hard way.

I'm curious, though, what exactly do they teach in teacher school in Japan? They have to pass that insanely difficult test to get fully certified so there has to be something ​about teaching methodology on there, right?

Ini
March 12th, 2015, 12:07
Or maybe it was just... stress? From having a bad job? Why does everyone have to stick a label on their feels? So you can legitimise them to yourself?

Because you need something to blame for acting like an arse.

Oh I'm depressed/bi-polar/ADD/culture shocked blah blah blah.

Virgil
March 12th, 2015, 12:16
Or maybe it was just... stress? From having a bad job? Why does everyone have to stick a label on their feels? So you can legitimise them to yourself?
Isn't shock just a specific type of stress?

I wasn't particularly stressed out. It was just the sudden realization that I was not prepared for the job I took. I would not eveneve call it a bad job. Administration was supportive, and worked with me. It was just an environment I was not prepared to be in, and as such I experienced the definition of shock.

Don't we all try to label and define our experiences? To deny that is a bit asinine.

mothy
March 12th, 2015, 12:16
Another lesson I've learned the hard way.

I'm curious, though, what exactly do they teach in teacher school in Japan? They have to pass that insanely difficult test to get fully certified so there has to be something ​about teaching methodology on there, right?

Knowing it doesn't mean likes talking about it, or that they've kept up to date on what people are taught these days.
Also are these conversations in english? For the average JTE having a conversation in english about anything that requires specialized terms is going to be difficult.

Ini
March 12th, 2015, 12:24
nobody in japan likes to have their methods questioned by people of lower status. A newly qualified teacher may give you the time of day but anyone 30+ wont appreciate it.

Cbill1
March 12th, 2015, 13:27
nobody in japan likes to have their methods questioned by people of lower status. A newly qualified teacher may give you the time of day but anyone 30+ wont appreciate it.

But how do you differentiate methods being questioned from just discussing the differences in teaching methods? Or asking for advice on how to better fit those methods to a Japanese classroom?

uthinkimlost?
March 12th, 2015, 13:30
But how do you differentiate methods being questioned from just discussing the differences in teaching methods? Or asking for advice on how to better fit those methods to a Japanese classroom?

In a whir and a click Cbill's drive shaft will engage and s/he will understand why it is so hard for change to happen in Japanese schools!

uthinkimlost?
March 12th, 2015, 14:10
I have moretime to respond properly now, so here goes:

To me, the answer to almost every How-question here is 'time'. Time for them to decide your opinion matters, time to get that opinion worked in, etc, etc.

You want to discuss how the students learn and give your opinion? Ask the teacher how the classes work now, even if you know. Don't overtly compare. Let the fact that you asked and listened seep in to their brains. You can also make casual observations about the students. "A-kun seemed to be very sleepy today, huh?" "B-chan seems to be having trouble, I wonder if she studies enough..." Be careful not to imply that the teacher is at fault, even if they are. Put the responsibility on yourself or perhaps those pesky ne'er-do-well students. Then, let the teacher decide to request your input or compare your teaching ideas to theirs.

-or, you can run in, guns blazing, and fire off some pedagogy rounds at the semi-retired JTE's feet.

mothy
March 12th, 2015, 14:54
Really it's not that different in the US. If some new guy comes in and tells them how they should be doing things, most of the time they'll be hated.

starfish
March 12th, 2015, 15:03
Really it's not that different in the US. If some new guy comes in and tells them how they should be doing things, most of the time they'll be hated.

JETs must be like middle managers and seagulls. They fly in, shit all over everything and leave.

uthinkimlost?
March 12th, 2015, 21:21
JETs must be like middle managers and seagulls. They fly in, shit all over everything and leave.

That's pretty accurate, actually.

webstaa
March 13th, 2015, 08:53
The best way I've found to work myself deeper into the classes is offering to take over the simple parts of the class first (aka the tape-recorder job) and then slowly work my way up from there. If you want to enact changes to the way English is taught on the whole, you're wasting your time unless you're using the stuff handed down from the prefecture or acquired from other ALTs/JTEs during SDC in January.

Asking to teach one 'off-text' lesson a month/term worked as well - I started with holidays/tradition stuff and eventually branched out to stuff the students wanted to study, using music/videos etc. Students loved Taylor Swift, so I made them translate 'I Knew You Were Trouble' for one lesson (primarily so I could convince them to stop playing it every day during lunch. I've used clips/trailers of movies (like Frozen/the Avengers etc) for story comprehension, which is more fun and easier than reading. Making those lessons can be really time consuming, but I think they're worth it for a break from the monotony. These classes work really well if you have them set and ready to go/pull out of nowhere when the JTE is out and you end up teaching with the VP or head teacher.

Ingratiate yourself by offering to make materials for classes too - I've made custom review and flash cards for the introductory section of New Horizon 1 etc. As well as a bunch of other places where the textbook cards are pretty sparse (like -er/-est in NH2.) Anything the JTE doesn't have to spend a few hours on is great, especially when you're sitting there 3 hours a day twiddling your thumbs otherwise.

Virgil
March 13th, 2015, 09:11
to work myself deeper in

Ok, I'm done being immature. For this post.


using music/videos etc. Students loved Taylor Swift, so I made them translate...

I'd love to know the details of some of these lessons using music and videos. I've done lessons like this back home in music classes, but I'm not sure how I would use them in English classes. I think the biggest obstacle in my mind is the level of my students. They don't know much beyond "Hello" "See you!" and how to talk about their favorite stuff. If I asked them to translate lyrics to a song, I think they might be a little above them. Then if I asked them to maybe fill in one word at a time, it might be too easy. Trying to find a happy medium.

webstaa
March 16th, 2015, 08:24
details of some of these lessons using music and videos. .

I, luckily enough, don't have to deal with very low level students in my 3rd year class, as it's split into A/B class by level. So the lower level kids go off with one of the other JTEs to make sure they can pass the English portion of any entrance exam they have to take. So I (usually) only get to teach the upper level kids (the ones that actually do their homework 90% of the time... so it's pretty small classes of 15-20 and 3rd years pretty exclusively, although I've tried a 2nd year class with the Lion King that worked pretty well.) The key to making it work is picking something all the students know - either music or video.

The music classes usually start off with a normal greeting, then lure them into a sense of safety and security by talking about their favorite groups until someone mentions the group in question. Then BAM song and lyrics right in their face. Usually play the song once and ask about what parts they understood. Then hand out the lyrics and play it back again. Encourage the kids to sing along if they want. Then go through it verse by verse and check their understanding of (each) sentence. Since this wasn't Bieber's 'Baby' or a One Direction song, this can take 10-15 minutes. I usually leave the song (or album) running on a loop very quietly in the background. Depending on the song, I might show them the music video as well. (Although one of the first requests I had for this style class was Gangnam Style, which almost torpedoed the whole scheme.)

The video classes are usually a bit easier. I show a 10-20 minute clip of a movie or video they all know - usually a Disney movie. So far, I've used Lion King and Frozen. I wanted to use Aladdin, but that's a bit tough (any scene with the Genie...) Then go through a transcription of a/the scene/s and finally have them do a dramatic reading or act out the script, which they seem to eat up.

One alternative is using a 'viral' video - I used the video with the Japanese guys going around a US city ordering the 'most popular combo' from a bunch of different burger joints and fixing their English/translating their Japanese. Which wasn't bad, but the class ran long, because a lot of the students just wanted to watch the video, while only a few concentrated on fixing/translating it. Although it was a good exercise to find out what slang the students knew.

Virgil
March 16th, 2015, 12:34
Sounds really cool. I love the idea of students learning without realizing it. It's usually the best kind of learning, but it's tricky to keep it on track sometimes. Gangnam Style... lol

Ananasboat
March 16th, 2015, 22:57
I will have conversations in English with students, and at first they're like, "OH GOD I DON'T KNOW." But then after a while they calm down and realize that they DO understand, and it's okay to respond in Japanese for the things they can't express in English, but even a while after that they start practicing responding in English too and they're amazed they can do it. It's such a great feeling to see the look on their face when they've realized they've gotten it.