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JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 06:30
I'm in the boat with the people who are starting the JET Program with zero teaching experience. I'm curious as to how people generally prepare themselves for the JET Program prior to arriving in Japan.
I'm aware that we should be prepared to give a self-introduction, and in some cases a 50-minute self-introduction lesson. I also realize that we should bring some items from our home country to use as teaching material. (btw, if someone can give me some recommendations on what I should bring as a teaching resource, it will be much appreciated. I just moved across country about a few months ago, so I don't think "local" items will do me any good in representing myself)

However, what else do JETs generally do in order to prepare themselves for working as an ALT? Are we expected to know how to create and implement lesson plans right off the bat? Or are we given time to observe the class for awhile first before we have to start preparing our own lessons? In general, what is the work like for an ALT? Do we have to prepare for the next day's lessons every night, or does the JTE usually just prepare all the lessons themselves and just preps the ALT about the lessons the morning of? ESID, I know, but it seems to me that a lot of JETs are saying that all ALTs have to do is show up to school and do whatever the JTE tells them to do that day. Is this really true?

Above all, can you also tell me what you did in order to prepare for the JET program and what your first few weeks were like?

Thank you in advance!

Ini
June 22nd, 2016, 07:16
Will you be teaching SHS, JHS, ES or JHS/ES?

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 07:44
Will you be teaching SHS, JHS, ES or JHS/ES?

I haven't been told what schools I'll be working at. I don't have an actual predecessor, so they are still deciding which school(s) they'll have me work in.

Could be anything. I requested Elementary, but could be either elementary or junior high (or both). I'm a municipal JET, by the way.

mothy
June 22nd, 2016, 07:48
This seems like a question that's better to ask your pred. You say ESID yourself, so I don't really need to.

For me, a high school JET, I was just thrown in. But I had some teaching training beforehand. Also, I say thrown in, but I arrived at the beginning of August and school doesn't start until September. So it's not like I didn't have time to bounce some ideas off teachers.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 07:56
This seems like a question that's better to ask your pred. You say ESID yourself, so I don't really need to.

For me, a high school JET, I was just thrown in. But I had some teaching training beforehand. Also, I say thrown in, but I arrived at the beginning of August and school doesn't start until September. So it's not like I didn't have time to bounce some ideas off teachers.

I don't have a predecessor in which to ask these questions. So I had to turn to asking on this forum.

mothy
June 22nd, 2016, 07:58
Yeah, I started posting before you had added that information.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 08:04
Yeah, I started posting before you had added that information.

Alright. So you said your situation was pretty much just a throw in? Could you tell me a little bit about what your daily life was life and what you were expected to prepare during your first month of work? If it's not too much trouble.

mrcharisma
June 22nd, 2016, 08:06
I don't have a predecessor in which to ask these questions. So I had to turn to asking on this forum.

So little will be expected of you that I wouldn't sweat it. Just turn up on time, print off a few worksheets from the internet if you're asked to prepare anything, and don't get in anyone's way.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 08:12
So little will be expected of you that I wouldn't sweat it. Just turn up on time, print off a few worksheets from the internet if you're asked to prepare anything, and don't get in anyone's way.

hmm. Will I have access to the school's printer or will I need to buy one?

mrcharisma
June 22nd, 2016, 08:15
hmm. Will I have access to the school's printer or will I need to buy one?

Yes.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 08:17
Yes.

yes to which one? Using the schools printer, or having to buy one?

webstaa
June 22nd, 2016, 08:25
Don't worry too much about the "introductory lesson" stuff. You'll have a month to prepare for it once your on the ground in Japan, if you need to do one. Arrival is in the middle of summer vacation.

I'd recommend bringing stuff that you'd only use for an introductory lesson anyways. Pictures of your hometown will probably be more than sufficient.

How JTEs work with ALTs is up to pretty much each and every JTE and school. You'll have to wait and be "surprised" by how every every school and every teacher is different. Some JTEs (at JHS and SHS level) will want you to prep stuff, either a teaching plan, goals-oriented curriculum statement, or just a worksheet or activity. Others will want you to be there as a human CD-player for the 5 minutes when they aren't trying to explain the grammar in Japanese. Some ES teachers will want you to plan, prepare, and run the entire lesson with them sitting in the back. Others will be up there with you leading a lesson they planned with you in mind that makes perfect use of the time available and is right on topic. If you haven't heard it already "ESID."

Although I've heard some horror stories from a Nagahama ES ALT (in terms of Japanese teachers/school organization.) But you only hear/remember the negative, so I wouldn't take it to heart.

uthinkimlost?
June 22nd, 2016, 08:26
yes to which one? Using the schools printer, or having to buy one?

Maybe both?

You'll probably be able to use the school's, but some BoEs strictly regulate printing because of budget issues, so if you want high quality for flash cards, etc, you may need your own.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 08:35
Don't worry too much about the "introductory lesson" stuff. You'll have a month to prepare for it once your on the ground in Japan, if you need to do one. Arrival is in the middle of summer vacation.

I'd recommend bringing stuff that you'd only use for an introductory lesson anyways. Pictures of your hometown will probably be more than sufficient.

How JTEs work with ALTs is up to pretty much each and every JTE and school. You'll have to wait and be "surprised" by how every every school and every teacher is different. Some JTEs (at JHS and SHS level) will want you to prep stuff, either a teaching plan, goals-oriented curriculum statement, or just a worksheet or activity. Others will want you to be there as a human CD-player for the 5 minutes when they aren't trying to explain the grammar in Japanese. Some ES teachers will want you to plan, prepare, and run the entire lesson with them sitting in the back. Others will be up there with you leading a lesson they planned with you in mind that makes perfect use of the time available and is right on topic. If you haven't heard it already "ESID."

Although I've heard some horror stories from a Nagahama ES ALT (in terms of Japanese teachers/school organization.) But you only hear/remember the negative, so I wouldn't take it to heart.

Oh? I didn't know we arrived during summer vacation. I thought I'd arrive in my city and then the next day I would be expected to go to class. What do ALTs do then during that time before school starts? Other than preparing the lesson introduction, of course.

Also, horror stories from a Nagahama JET?! My placement is Nagahama, and most likely I'll be working in an elementary school. Umm, what kind of horror stories are these? Is it something I could possibly prepare myself for? I'm insanely curious.

uthinkimlost?
June 22nd, 2016, 08:37
Oh? I didn't know we arrived during summer vacation. I thought I'd arrive in my city and then the next day I would be expected to go to work. What do ALTs do then during that time before school starts? Other than preparing the lesson introduction, of course.

You do go to work. You just don't teach.

Most ALTs start posting vlogs and wanking FB posts during that period.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 08:50
You do go to work. You just don't teach.

Most ALTs start posting vlogs and wanking FB posts during that period.

Sorry, "work" was the wrong word. I meant "class", but you posted before I could fix it.

So, ALTs go to work but don't really have anything to do? I'd at least hope I can use that time to get to know my JTE(s), and talk to them about what I'll be doing or the like. And I'm not really a vlog or FB person, but I guess I should learn to make a blog or something. But honestly, I'd probably only update it once a month. lol

I'd rather use that time to be more productive (Probably study Japanese if I have nothing else to do). Are you a current/past JET? How did you usually spend your time during this period?

uthinkimlost?
June 22nd, 2016, 08:57
Studying is fine, and you can also burn vacation time if you like.

If you're ES, I don't think you have true JTEs to get to know. you have homeroom teachers, but I'm not an ES ALT so can't say for sure.

webstaa
June 22nd, 2016, 09:37
Oh? I didn't know we arrived during summer vacation. I thought I'd arrive in my city and then the next day I would be expected to go to class. What do ALTs do then during that time before school starts? Other than preparing the lesson introduction, of course.

Also, horror stories from a Nagahama JET?! My placement is Nagahama, and most likely I'll be working in an elementary school. Umm, what kind of horror stories are these? Is it something I could possibly prepare myself for? I'm insanely curious.

You'll be expected to work quietly (appear busy) in whatever staffroom you are put in. What you actually do is up to you and what you need to get done. If you're in a JHS, talk to the JTEs, look at the school's yearly schedule to find out when events are, familiarize yourself with the textbooks and curriculum etc. If you're in an ES, you'll probably do a bit of the same, but there aren't specialized English teachers - each homeroom teacher (HRT) is responsible for English like most other classes (except that you're there to team teach with them.)

Some simple goals would be: Get a copy of the school map and learn your way around - you might want to do the same with a town map to learn what shops are where (and what restaurants etc.) Get a copy of the school's yearly calendar and figure out what major school events (sports day, school/class trips, chorus contest, culture day, PTA participation days) fall when. See if you can meet with the JTEs or the head teacher for English and see if you can set up a weekly or monthly schedule (to make everything easier - they already might have one set up.) If you have an English bulletin board, you'll probably want to create something for that and something for your introduction (even if it isn't a full lesson.)

As far as horror stories go, it's mostly the same as anywhere: classes get changed and the ALT doesn't realize it or isn't notified, HRT/JTE doesn't want to use ALT in class, so they end up wasting time and the students don't learn anything, etc. I went back and looked at the ALT's feed and it's actually mostly positive. I just brush over the "cute kids actually like me" kind of message - only the bad ones stick in the mind. Although, I'd suggest asking them about the town or the area - or even the schools if they've been to the one(s) you'll be working at.

Jiggit
June 22nd, 2016, 09:40
So, ALTs go to work but don't really have anything to do?

It's so cute watching them grow up, isn't it?

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 10:02
You'll be expected to work quietly (appear busy) in whatever staffroom you are put in. What you actually do is up to you and what you need to get done. If you're in a JHS, talk to the JTEs, look at the school's yearly schedule to find out when events are, familiarize yourself with the textbooks and curriculum etc. If you're in an ES, you'll probably do a bit of the same, but there aren't specialized English teachers - each homeroom teacher (HRT) is responsible for English like most other classes (except that you're there to team teach with them.)

Some simple goals would be: Get a copy of the school map and learn your way around - you might want to do the same with a town map to learn what shops are where (and what restaurants etc.) Get a copy of the school's yearly calendar and figure out what major school events (sports day, school/class trips, chorus contest, culture day, PTA participation days) fall when. See if you can meet with the JTEs or the head teacher for English and see if you can set up a weekly or monthly schedule (to make everything easier - they already might have one set up.) If you have an English bulletin board, you'll probably want to create something for that and something for your introduction (even if it isn't a full lesson.)

As far as horror stories go, it's mostly the same as anywhere: classes get changed and the ALT doesn't realize it or isn't notified, HRT/JTE doesn't want to use ALT in class, so they end up wasting time and the students don't learn anything, etc. I went back and looked at the ALT's feed and it's actually mostly positive. I just brush over the "cute kids actually like me" kind of message - only the bad ones stick in the mind. Although, I'd suggest asking them about the town or the area - or even the schools if they've been to the one(s) you'll be working at.

Wow, this was very informational and very helpful! Thank you so much webstaa! Could you give me a link to this person's blog? Since they are from Nagahama, which is my placement, it will probably be very helpful for me.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 10:23
It's so cute watching them grow up, isn't it?

What? New ALTs or the children?

By the way, your signature is strange. Seems like the result of someone using google translate to translate something from Japanese to English. I've read it about 10 times now and still can't figure out what they were trying to say. lol

uthinkimlost?
June 22nd, 2016, 10:31
What? New ALTs or the children?

You. The slow awakening that the "youth exchange programme" you're embarking on is a lie.

It IS pretty fun to watch, especially in real life.

Jiggit
June 22nd, 2016, 10:38
What? New ALTs or the children?

By the way, your signature is strange. Seems like the result of someone using google translate to translate something from Japanese to English. I've read it about 10 times now and still can't figure out what they were trying to say. lol

Click on it.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 10:42
You. The slow awakening that the "youth exchange programme" you're embarking on is a lie.

It IS pretty fun to watch, especially in real life.

Ah. I figured that was what jiggit was referring to. Well, I suppose it won't be too much of a shock to me as many JETs on this forum have stated that they think the JET Program is a joke. I'm still hanging onto the hope that I'll still enjoy it though. But to be honest, I never really expected much for my first full-time job right out of college, especially since this is just a temporary position. I really just hope I'll be able to survive with the least amount of stress possible, and to make the most out of my time in Japan.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 10:43
Click on it.

oh I had already.

Jiggit
June 22nd, 2016, 11:03
Well, I suppose it won't be too much of a shock to me as many JETs on this forum have stated that they think the JET Program is a joke.

It's not a joke, necessarily, it's just that some contracting organisations give little to no thought as to how they want to use an ALT, some outright don't want one at all, and some think that the ALT is a qualified teacher come to teach lessons practically by themselves. It's all a bit of a toss up basically. Sometimes the stars align and you get a decent ALT matched with a decent school, but I've seen a lot of lazy asses at good schools and hardworking idealists at shit schools. It's a system desperately in need of better management but CLAIR has only taken steps to distance themselves even further from COs in the past few years. So a lot of people are understandably bitter.

Ini
June 22nd, 2016, 11:04
Its good that you are thinking about this stuff now but I would worry about it after you arrive and have anything from 3-6 weeks before your first class. It'll be easier to work out where you stand once you have arrived and know if you are based in one school or visiting several, if you are doing elementary or not, if your area has an english program in place at elementary or not, if your JHS JTEs are super pro ALT or if they are dried up old husks of pure evil waiting for retirement, if the JHS is expecting you to run lunchtime conversation classes/maintain an English noticeboard/service the principal with sexual favours etc etc. Use your remaining time in your home country to spend time with friends and family, eat food you wont be able to get, take lots of photos of your town/city/house/family/pets blah blah blah.

uthinkimlost?
June 22nd, 2016, 11:17
service the principal with sexual favours etc etc.

I do wish my pred had mentioned that bit.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 11:26
service the principal with sexual favours

What?

fryfry
June 22nd, 2016, 11:30
You. The slow awakening that the "youth exchange programme" you're embarking on is a lie.

It IS pretty fun to watch, especially in real life.

I feel like I should be stepping back while making some kind of knowing gesture and saying, "yeah, you got me".

uthinkimlost?
June 22nd, 2016, 11:47
What?

Just bring your riding crop and it'll all be okay.

JPNLKatie
June 22nd, 2016, 12:04
Just bring your riding crop and it'll all be okay.

:lol:

ambrosse
June 22nd, 2016, 16:08
I had teaching experience before I came, but only with adults.
I teach JHS and ES here. They each are their own beast.
Just show up and try your best. You can prepare all you want, but being an ALT is a learn-on-the-job position unless your pred gives you lesson plans ahead of time and actually explains them in detail (I'm still wondering what "Bulldog Clips" are on my pred's old lesson plans).
Don't waste luggage space for stupid teaching stuff. My kids could give two shits about stickers (even the little ones). I could have brought more shoes...

Fantasylife
June 22nd, 2016, 19:16
I was thrown into the pit and have 0 teaching experience. I didn't get any guidance from my pred and the JTEs rely on me to do everything, so no help there either. Between Google, a free lesson planning book from a JET summer conference, and my own imagination, I somehow fumbled through it. As Ambrosse said, it really is a learn-on-the-job position.

moonbeam
June 23rd, 2016, 10:12
I was taken to all of my schools the day after I arrived in my town but didn't see three of them (ES) until over a month later. I was thrown into lessons right off the bat. I had my pred's old lesson plans to help me out but if you don't have a pred then I'd talk to the other teachers to figure out what they've been learning and what they want from you. The lack of communication wasn't ideal but the teachers helped me out for the first few lessons. After that I was on my own.

I actually spent my first month at the JHSs doing speech contest practice. I used my free time to look through the textbooks and look through my pred's old materials so I could get an idea of what to except. Again, you don't have a pred, so I'd talk to your JTEs as much as possible.

I also quickly found out that I can't connect to any of my school's internet because of 'security' reasons. Instead I use my phone for tethering. If I want to print something, I save it to a USB and print it from the school's public PC (which I can use, but it's ancient, so). That might be the case for you, it might not, but you won't find out until you arrive. Just ask the other teachers if you need help. My JTEs were pretty understanding that I hadn't had any teaching experience and didn't ask too much of me at first.

I also brought a few teaching materials but I haven't used them at all and haven't needed to. I usually go on Englipedia for ideas and tailor them to fit my classes. The HRTs might also have a few activities (at least for ES) that they know work with the students so ask about those as well. Overall, I think you'll be okay. It might seem daunting at first but once you find your groove it'll be fine.

weepinbell
June 29th, 2016, 13:25
My kids could give two shits about stickers (even the little ones). I could have brought more shoes...

Damn my JHS kids go nuts for them. I'm gonna have to restock at Walmart when I go home next month lol. They're so expensive here... How many did you bring that it took up the space of a pair of shoes?!!

Frap
June 29th, 2016, 13:27
They're so expensive here...

?!

ambrosse
July 1st, 2016, 07:14
Damn my JHS kids go nuts for them. I'm gonna have to restock at Walmart when I go home next month lol. They're so expensive here... How many did you bring that it took up the space of a pair of shoes?!!

My JHS kids are wild and prefer to break windows and punch each other than collect stickers, haha!
Sticker books and packs can weigh a lot after a certain amount.

You can get a ton of stickers from Daiso for cheap.

Fantasylife
July 1st, 2016, 18:13
I recently bought 250 stickers on eBay for $10 for a sticker bombing project. Shipping was free and because it shipped from China it arrived pretty quickly. They are some nice stickers too, and featuring characters from random series like marvel comics, pooh bear, Totoro, super Mario, sponge bob, the Simpsons, and many others.