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View Full Version : Current/former JETs: How many schools do/did you teach in?



elmaldito
April 19th, 2015, 23:17
Hi all

Sorry if this has been answered before but I did a search and couldn't find anything. Anyway, can any JETs (current or former) tell me how many schools they had to teach in? I saw a Youtube video of a JET who seemed to have a pretty nice apartment and even got a free car from BoE with petrol paid for and I thought that sounds great...but a few minutes later in the video he said "I teach in 9 schools" (so that is why he got the car I realised).

I was quite ignorant about this and naively imagined you taught in one school or maybe 2-3 maximum - I didn't realise you could be teaching in so many. I thought to myself 9 isn't good for developing a meaningful relationship with the students; furthermore if you're doing 9 schools aren't you going to be introducing yourself, your hometown, things from your country to dozens and dozens of classes (i.e. the same thing over and over). So, it would be interesting to hear from the various JETs to see what average amount of schools is. Thanks!

ambrosse
April 19th, 2015, 23:30
My ex-JET friend said that her first year she had three junior highs and one elementary school.

hypatia
April 20th, 2015, 00:48
5 junior high schools. I don't have a base school. Instead I have a schedule where I visit each school on a certain day of the week. I bike and take a bus. It took about a month to get through introducing myself to all of my classes.

Sent from my KFTHWI using Tapatalk

Wasabi
April 20th, 2015, 00:49
I have 7 - 5 elementary and 2 junior high schools. The ES feed into my JHS, but sometimes that's not the case.

BifCarbet
April 20th, 2015, 01:06
approximate number of students in parentheses

year one: 3 JHS (150 base school, 250-300, 15), 5 ES (100, 200, 150, 13, 22), one kindergarten I only visited three times (100 or so)
years two and three: 2 HS (600, 300), 2 ES (1000, 750), one special needs school for kids who didn't do well in regular school for one reason or another which I visited once a month (usually 3-6 kids)

I was still able to build relationships with many of the students and teachers.

Ode to a Grasshopper
April 20th, 2015, 07:02
1 jr high and 2 elementaries, ~20 classes per week. It's on the lower side for my city, most ALTs have 4, a few 3, and currently 1 has 5 because another ALT has quit so the BoE has had to fill their schools.

Ananasboat
April 20th, 2015, 08:10
I have two middle schools and two elementary schools. Every week is the same schedule, with one school getting me twice a week. My middle schools in total have 6 3rd year classes, 5 2nd year classes and 5 1st year classes. My elementary schools have 4 6th year classes and 3 5th year classes.

I see all of my elementary classes each week, but in middle school I see them a lot less. This is my third day at one of my middle schools since the term started and I'm just seeing my 1st years for the first time.

Gizmotech
April 20th, 2015, 09:49
I teach in three, but really I have a main school for 4 days and a visit for 1.

My friend who taught in the same town taught at I think... 12?

If you're Senior High school you often have at most 3 or 4 schools, many times you will have only 1. If you're Elementar/Junior you could end up teaching at so many schools that you could do your self introduction for an entire year.

word
April 20th, 2015, 10:37
Previous placement: 2 JHSs and their matching 2 ESs. Occasional visits to a local preschool. Obligatory eikaiwa.

Current placement: 2 SHSs, no eikaiwa.

greyjoy
April 20th, 2015, 11:02
Three shos and a chu. A friend of mine has ~18 schools. He's the only guy in his town though, so he goes to pretty much every kindergarten to jhs in it.

Apollo87
April 20th, 2015, 12:29
Base JHS Mon-thurs, then I rotate every other week between two different elementary schools on Fridays. However, in my city the ALTs rotate base schools every year, so some years I've worked kindergarden/preschool instead of elementary school.

Cbill1
April 20th, 2015, 12:54
one

Libellule
April 20th, 2015, 14:04
Last school year I had 7 schools: 4 high schools, two junior highs, and one elementary. I also occasionally did visits at other schools, but this only happened twice.

This school year it looks like I'll be at 8 with the addition of a new high school.

ALTs employed by my BOE typically have many schools, and some of them require a fair amount of travel time as we aren't allowed to drive (most people break that rule though). I don't mind long commutes because all of them (except one) occur during working hours. I do wish I had fewer schools so that I was able to develop meaningful relationships with students and my JTEs.

Satori Shinobi
April 20th, 2015, 14:12
primary shs that focuses on entrance examinations, so maybe 7 classes a week thus so far? Although I don't do my own lessons, I mostly correct student's writing on the chalkboard. Once a month I have a special needs school where they tell me what the lesson plan is, I'm mostly along for the ride.

sourdoughsushi
April 20th, 2015, 17:27
1 JHS, 4 elementaries, 4 preschools/kindergartens.

elmaldito
April 21st, 2015, 01:26
Thanks a lot for the replies guys. I appreciate it!!



I teach in three, but really I have a main school for 4 days and a visit for 1.

My friend who taught in the same town taught at I think... 12?



Is that a joke!?

But, then I guess this tops it


A friend of mine has ~18 schools. He's the only guy in his town though, so he goes to pretty much every kindergarten to jhs in it.

Maybe some people don't mind so many schools that much if they're travelling during office hours, but I don't see it as good for teacher development if you're doing your introductions for months and months and maybe doing the same thing over and over (which is what puts me off a little).

I wonder did the people who have many schools write on their application that they have a driving license?



If you're Senior High school you often have at most 3 or 4 schools, many times you will have only 1. If you're Elementar/Junior you could end up teaching at so many schools that you could do your self introduction for an entire year.

Do you know if you have much control where you go: elementary, senior high school etc? Just wondering if people who say they'd prefer senior high school on their application form for example actually get put there or is it a bit like the placements?


Base JHS Mon-thurs, then I rotate every other week between two different elementary schools on Fridays. However, in my city the ALTs rotate base schools every year, so some years I've worked kindergarden/preschool instead of elementary school.

I guess it doesn't sound too bad having a base school and alternating between different schools one day a week. But ideally I'd prefer to avoid kindergarten. Maybe that's just something you just have to accept if it's one of your placements?!

Having not known the amount of schools before it does kind of put me off applying. I wouldn't mind 3 or so, but if it's going up to 6-7 it's quite a lot. Is it just luck how many you have?

BifCarbet
April 21st, 2015, 02:00
Is it just luck how many you have?

Pretty much luck of the draw. There's no way they could give you that information beforehand because each contracting organization's needs are totally unique, and recruiting individually would be really difficult and defeat the purpose of the program.

One reason it's good to have multiple schools is that you get breaks from certain people. People who chew loudly at the next desk, kids who try to check your prostate every day, and other annoyances can be left behind a few days a week. Another reason is that your pool of potentially cool/hot teachers increases.

You just take it one day at a time and go to whichever school you're assigned to. Having 8 schools isn't really an added burden or anything. It might add some confusion or set your lessons back a bit, but it doesn't really add to your workload or anything.

nostos
April 21st, 2015, 09:29
There was a former JET at my pre-departure orientation who worked at like 38 schools or something ridiculous. It was because every month (week?) the ALTs rotated visiting a different elementary school.

Personally, I have 2 schools. However, my position used to have 7, but the 6 elementary schools consolidated into 1 a few years ago.

greyjoy
April 21st, 2015, 10:15
Thanks a lot for the replies guys. I appreciate it!!




Is that a joke!?

But, then I guess this tops it



Maybe some people don't mind so many schools that much if they're travelling during office hours, but I don't see it as good for teacher development if you're doing your introductions for months and months and maybe doing the same thing over and over (which is what puts me off a little).

I wonder did the people who have many schools write on their application that they have a driving license?



Do you know if you have much control where you go: elementary, senior high school etc? Just wondering if people who say they'd prefer senior high school on their application form for example actually get put there or is it a bit like the placements?



I guess it doesn't sound too bad having a base school and alternating between different schools one day a week. But ideally I'd prefer to avoid kindergarten. Maybe that's just something you just have to accept if it's one of your placements?!

Having not known the amount of schools before it does kind of put me off applying. I wouldn't mind 3 or so, but if it's going up to 6-7 it's quite a lot. Is it just luck how many you have?

It's really not so bad however many schools you have. How many connections you make depends entirely upon you. Don't make the mistake of thinking you're going to be best friends with any of the students. I got to know a few of my students better through speech contests, but for the most part, even at my base school where I spend most of my time, students still greet me with "Hellohowareyouimfinenicetomeetyou", mostly because I'm the worst alt ever. It's not that they don't know me or aren't excited to see me, it's just that they're 13, so they don't really give a shit about anyone but themselves and their friends.

Introductions can be boring, but once they're over, they're pretty much done for good, except for a random few every now and then. They don't even have to be that tedious. If it turns out you have to do a lot of them, once you get the hang of it, you can just improvise.

No matter what, you'll be doing the same thing over and over again even after your introductions. That's basically what teaching and learning is. Even if you have just one school, odds are you'll be doing the same lessons for different classes three or four times a day. Elementary is particularly bad because the text book is very light, and so the material is repeated a lot even in the same class.

I don't know that very many people are actually assigned a kindergarten. My friend seems to be a rare case. A lot of people near me have gone to one at least once though, and it's actually loads of fun. You just run around with them for a few hours and play games. You won't regret it even if you're assigned one.

Come to think of it, there's a list published somewhere of how many people get how many schools, and what kind. Shouldn't be too hard to find.

BifCarbet
April 21st, 2015, 10:17
I met a northern-Hokkaido JET who worked at a gazillion schools. He had travel days during the week, for which he was paid, and was put up in ryokans or hotels.

Zolrak 22
April 21st, 2015, 13:24
He had travel days during the week, for which he was paid, and was put up in ryokans or hotels.

That sounds pretty cool, like a traveling salesman.

BifCarbet
April 21st, 2015, 13:27
Yeah and one of my favorite things to do in Japan is drive around the countryside. Hokk is particularly beautiful. I'd probably take that placement if I was gonna be an ALT again.

elmaldito
April 22nd, 2015, 02:55
Thanks BifCarbet. That's really useful info. I asked that question thinking possibly x placement has x schools so anyone placed there would know.

I understand having 8 schools more than likely reduces workload if anything. Repetition, repetition, repetition! I am teaching at the moment doing more or less the same lesson several times each week for different conversation classes so it saves me a lot on preparation time for sure. So, I know what that's like.


Another reason is that your pool of potentially cool/hot teachers increases.


;)

Thanks for the information Greyjoy. I didn't mean for a second becoming best friends with students. I work part-time in a secondary school, so I know what early teens can be like!

@Nostos, 38 sounds crazy!

Jedirust
April 22nd, 2015, 12:10
1 jhs 3 elementary and 1 eikaiwa. I teach about 16-18 classes a week plus beginner and advance eikaiwa.

All my schools are 5 minutes from my home except 1 elementary that's 20 minutes away by car (I go there twice a month.)

Aqua
April 22nd, 2015, 13:27
Holy shit, I had no idea someone could have that many schools. My area is pretty uniform with the majority 2-3.

I have one junior high (20 minute drive) and two elementary schools (20 and 40 minute drives) each week. One of them feeds into the junior high, so I'll see these kids forever. I bought my own car, but I am reimbursed every month for the one that's 40 minutes away.

richief_611
April 22nd, 2015, 14:53
The poll makes no sense b/c the numbers overlap. I have 7 schools now, but my first year, I had 9 schools. So I put 7+ since the average number of my schools was more than 7.

I teach at ES and JHS now. My 1st year, I had 9 schools because I had a special needs school, which went from 1st grade to high school. Be aware that many special needs schools exist in Japan too. I was surprised when I got one. The experience was quite unique.

My city also has high school ALTs, where they only have 1 or 2 schools. If 2, one school is their main school, and the other is one they visit only sometimes.

Overall, the average number of schools in my city is about 6 or 7 schools.

The JHS’s are in clusters with ES’s. So for me, I have 3 elementary schools connected to 1 JHS and 2 elementary schools connected to 1 JHS. That makes 7 schools total for me. When an ES is connected to a JHS, most of those ES students will go to that JHS. I’ve taught students for almost 3 years now, who went from ES to JHS.

elmaldito
April 24th, 2015, 01:04
Richief, sorry about that. I should have done it like 1, 2-3, 4-6, 7+ or something. It was too late to edit it after the first person answered. Thanks for your info!

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
April 25th, 2015, 02:08
I had 11 ES when I first started. My second year that switched to 5 ES and 1 JHS for the majority of my time. Towards the very end of my 3rd year I had 5 JHS.

I thought I had a lot, but there was another JET in the northern part of my prefecture who had something like 18-22 schools he went to. I'm sure as the number of ES JETs steadily increase over the years we'll see less JETs like me who had a massive amount of ES and start to see more ES JETs going to ~3-4 schools on a regular basis.

singinglupines
April 25th, 2015, 07:19
Woah, that is a lot. When I worked for a language school I had about 20 lessons at different locations, but never got paid for traveling and the lessons barely overlapped in terms of material. This sounds at least more manageable. Does your travel time count as work? I hope I get elementary schools!

Ebi
April 25th, 2015, 07:23
I have just two schools now, one JHS and one elementary. Almost everyone in my area is based at just one JHS or HS and occasionally visit elementary schools nearby. I really like this system since my schools have all been great and I'm treated like a regular member of the faculty. But it can be awful if you end up based at a school with JTEs who never want to bring you to class. I know of at least one school where the ALT is basically a perpetual desk-warmer. (That may sound ideal for some people, but it becomes pretty mind-numbing in reality.)

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
April 28th, 2015, 01:39
Singinglupines - Haha no, travel time isn't factored into work. Most of my schools though were within a 20 minute drive from my apartment. I only had one that was a 45 minute drive away but I only went there once a month.

Ebi's right, there are pros and cons to both types of ALTs. Single-school ALTs get to know the students and staff really well and really become part of the family...but if you don't get along with the teachers or school environment, you're outta luck. One-shot ALTs may never get to learn all the names of the students and teachers and never feel like you're part of the school, especially when you have a LOT of schools - but then you also don't have to worry about schools and JTEs that you don't particularly like, and the kids are always super stoked to see you because they've been waiting for two weeks for their fun English time. I definitely miss going to schools and having all the kids excitedly run up to you - your ego never really fully deflates from that ;)

singinglupines
April 28th, 2015, 01:52
That makes sense. But then do you only stay at one location for that day or switch around?

BifCarbet
April 28th, 2015, 01:59
I sometimes had to change schools at lunch. The two schools were 20 minutes apart by car.

Libellule
April 28th, 2015, 11:18
I wonder did the people who have many schools write on their application that they have a driving license?

I wrote that I have a driver's license, but I'm not allowed to drive to any of my schools (I have 8).


Do you know if you have much control where you go: elementary, senior high school etc? Just wondering if people who say they'd prefer senior high school on their application form for example actually get put there or is it a bit like the placements?

No, I requested elementary and I have a degree in elementary but I have mostly high school and have only visited an elementary twice.


Does your travel time count as work?

My travel time counts as work. I'm never commuting to a school unless it's during working hours (except for my base school and another school I visit once a month with a crazy long commute). I also get reimbursed for bus/train fare as I'm not allowed to drive to any of my schools. My commutes range from 30 mins to two hours one way.

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
April 29th, 2015, 02:51
^ As Libellule's post shows, ESID all around. Whether or not your travel time factors into your job depends on where you're placed - If you're taking a ferry to work because you live on an island, your travel time might be factored in. I think I could say that for most cases travel time isn't factored in, though.

Also, it's not unheard of, like in Libellule's case, to be prohibited from driving to work. I've also heard of BoEs prohibiting their ALTs from owning cars, but I don't really know if they can actually do that. And age range isn't determined by your driver's license or previous history or anything - I'm pretty sure Tokyo just has to match your traits with the requirements set by the COs. That's it. If a CO says that they need someone with a DL, and you have a DL, then you're eligible to be placed there; if you don't have a DL, then you're not. It's probably the case that because ES and JHS ALTs have to travel to multiple schools, one or more of those schools will be far away, so the CO will require a JET with a DL. That means that if you have a DL the chance of you being placed at an ES / JHS may be slightly higher, but in no way guaranteed.

I think it's really important for new JETs to understand what the JET Program actually does logistically. All the JET Program really does is play the middle man between connecting you with a local Japanese government office. We also guarantee certain contract points, such as your salary, insurance, and travel costs, and we do a lot of community development, but that's about it. Asking what's standard for JETs is like asking what's standard for American teachers - like, ALL teachers, in the entirety of America. Japan is an entire nation and we're working in nearly every part of it. Teachers working in Chicago are going to have a vastly different experience than teachers working in Idaho. So for all new folk, just remember that when you hear our stories, these are only anecdotes, not things set in stone. To get the best idea of life on the program you should hear from as many alumni as possible and then use all those different stories to find patterns and construct an image for yourself.

Virgil
May 1st, 2015, 10:47
Asking what's standard for JETs is like asking what's standard for American teachers - like, ALL teachers, in the entirety of America. Japan is an entire nation and we're working in nearly every part of it. Teachers working in Chicago are going to have a vastly different experience than teachers working in Idaho. So for all new folk, just remember that when you hear our stories, these are only anecdotes, not things set in stone. To get the best idea of life on the program you should hear from as many alumni as possible and then use all those different stories to find patterns and construct an image for yourself.

This is so true. When reflecting on my experience with US public schools I have to always consider if it was a Texas thing, or if it was as small as a district thing. I only worked for one district so it's sometimes hard for me to tell how much of it is experienced across the state. Sometimes there are procedures or quirks unique to the school.

Every BOE is going to have different requirements and restrictions - there is no way to guess how you might end up.

After talking with several other ALTs that are in my area, I've determined that many of the quirks of my experience here are restricted to my school. It just goes to show why ESID is such a popular phrase! It's really hard to predict anything, and you'll just have to know that you need to be flexible.

captainseery
May 1st, 2015, 18:40
My pred started out with five ES and two JHS. Then there were school combinations and she left/I arrived with four ES (~30, 50, 120, and 170人) and one JHS (~200).

Last year my schools combined again to give me one JHS and one ES, except my BoE figured that was too little and gave me one other ES from a different ALT.

So now, one JHS (~200) and two ES (~320 and 170). I have fewer schools but more students than the average ALT in my city, which is rural and very spread out.

JestersJ
May 2nd, 2015, 10:42
got to Japan last week Thursday. I teach in one school, approx 16 classes a week (3 classes a day except one day)
I teach Senior high school, but there's a second ALT in my school who does junior. and we're actually getting a third junior ALT in late may. Approx 1000 students in my school

Ebi
May 2nd, 2015, 11:06
My pred started out with five ES and two JHS. Then there were school combinations and she left/I arrived with four ES (~30, 50, 120, and 170人) and one JHS (~200).

Last year my schools combined again to give me one JHS and one ES, except my BoE figured that was too little and gave me one other ES from a different ALT.

So now, one JHS (~200) and two ES (~320 and 170). I have fewer schools but more students than the average ALT in my city, which is rural and very spread out.
Combining schools seems to be pretty common. The smallest school I ever taught at was about 90 students and they recently merged with a nearby school.

On the flip side, on the opposite side of my city there has been a big boom in housing developments so they just opened a new elementary school since the three elementary schools already in the area couldn't handle the influx of new students. Rumor has it the JHS will be splitting soon too since they also have about 1,000 kids (and only one ALT).

nibbletbunny
May 19th, 2015, 11:47
Senior HS ALT here! I typically visit 3 different HS a week, which are my usual schools. It's really nice because I work at different kinds of schools, so I get to work with both focused, college-bound students as well as more fun-loving, agricultural students.

However, I also have several "one-shot," schools that I visit a few different times a year. I'd say I visit those schools at most about 6 different times a year. Some of these are high schools waaaaay out in the boonies, while a few of them are schools for special needs students. Some of the schools require that I teach a variety of age-groups, so if you are a Prefectural ALT, you may not only work with the older students. :)

I also know other High School ALTs who only work at one school, or who visit other satellite schools on a semi-regular basis.

sloth
May 19th, 2015, 17:12
I work at 6 schools. 1 JHS, 4 Elementary and 1 special education. My schedule is that I'm at the biggest elementary 3 days a month, and the other schools once amonth. And if I'm not at elementary/yougo I'm at my JHS.

Saga
May 19th, 2015, 21:46
I have two possibilities of towns I'm going to be placed in, but it looks like I'll be teaching at between two to four schools. One placement is two ES and two JHS, and the other is either one ES and one JHS, or one JHS and two-three ES. It's hard to tell, as two of the elementary schools are not part of the village itself but rather somewhere between the village and the next city over.

The size of the schools is really small! The largest is 154 students, and the smallest is 18, and class sizes could be anywhere from 31 to three students. Luckily, it looks like none of my schools will be more than 20-30 minutes away from each other.

ander
May 20th, 2015, 17:21
1 joint Junior High/Elementary school. I usually only teach JHS, but often spend my free time with my cute Elementary school students :3

LilMitsuko
May 22nd, 2015, 10:29
It really depends on where you are placed. I was placed in a small mountain town that only has three schools (not counting the kindergarten). However, my boyfriend was placed in a town not far from me that has about 8 schools (used to be 10, but some combined into just 1 school here and there). He has to drive while I don't. It just depends on your placement. :]

Liamers
May 22nd, 2015, 15:34
I have 1 JHS and 3 ES, next year 2 of my elementaries are merging so it should streamline my schedule more