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Thread: Breaks/Vacation?

  1. #21
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    Or they just ran out of fucks to give about MEXT's "Let's up our English ability v22.349" plan... Hell, my BOE scheduled and English education professor to come from a fairly major university for the same day as SDC. They give zero shits about MEXT crap... which isn't going to be very good in the long run (but I'm out of here in a year or two anyways.)

    Or they realize that you don't control your own schedule, so if you clear it with the teachers and the teachers/kocho doesn't "chotto" it off the agenda, you'll be fine.
    Your first part agrees with me so I don't know why you used the word "or." The second part doesn't make any sense. You don't control your own schedule so you're able to do something that requires controlling your own schedule?
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  2. #22

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    Or they just ran out of fucks to give about MEXT's "Let's up our English ability v22.349" plan... Hell, my BOE scheduled and English education professor to come from a fairly major university for the same day as SDC. They give zero shits about MEXT crap... which isn't going to be very good in the long run (but I'm out of here in a year or two anyways.)
    I've been thinking about your post for quite a while but I can't even parse enough meaning from it to even know if I disagree with it. What are you talking about?

  3. #23

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Sorry, the first part does agree with mothy. In that the BoE/JTEs think that ALTs aren't worth the it. For example - my BOE is having a English education specialist come down to share tips and prepare us for the new MEXT 2015 year English guidelines (and paying heavily for it.) They happened to double book it with SDC, because they don't care enough to look at the calendar for the ALT/TT program's required events. Which might be them not caring, or might just be incompetence.

    The 'or' part is this: Quite a few ALTs don't get to choose which classes they go to or not. This is the case in my base school and the base schools of every ALT I know in person. That is - the JTEs or VP sit down with the schedule at the beginning of the week/month and say - I want the ALT in these x classes (up to whatever.) The ALT simply shows up, gets told - these are your classes for the week/month, talk to the JTEs to start planning for them. So as long as I clear it with everybody up the chain of command from JTEs to VP to Principal and on to BOE well in advance, you don't have a problem unless somebody 'forgets' about your paperwork after you give it to them. (Again, might be malicious, might be incompetence, might actually be a genuine mistake.)

  4. #24
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    That you can get it cleared doesn't mean they are ok with it. I know of JETs that are going along completely oblivious that their school or schools have completely soured on them because of time that they took off.
    Possible or not I would highly recommend not taking time off if it means classes missed or classes rearranged. It's going to be a source of hardship to someone somewhere, even if you don't see it.
    Unless of course they just don't care about your classes. But then that's another problem.
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  5. #25

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    Sorry, the first part does agree with mothy. In that the BoE/JTEs think that ALTs aren't worth the it. For example - my BOE is having a English education specialist come down to share tips and prepare us for the new MEXT 2015 year English guidelines (and paying heavily for it.) They happened to double book it with SDC, because they don't care enough to look at the calendar for the ALT/TT program's required events. Which might be them not caring, or might just be incompetence.
    It seemed like before you were saying the school doesn't care about MEXT guidelines but now it seems like you're saying they don't care about the ALT?

    Honestly I doubt they'd reschedule this dude if a JTE had to go to a conference either tbh. And yeah, no way would they reschedule for an ALT. You are an assistant, it is the JTEs' job to understand the curriculum guidelines and implement them.

    Of course you might have other reasons to accuse them of not caring about that but I don't think this example proves that. Besides isn't this dude just gonna lecture them in Japanese? Do you have the Japanese level to follow that?

  6. #26

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    It seemed like before you were saying the school doesn't care about MEXT guidelines but now it seems like you're saying they don't care about the ALT?
    All signs point to the school administration and the BoE not really caring about English in a very broad sense. The school has other issues that they're tackling. Both JTEs are actively opposed to CAN DO and dread the "JHS classes must be entirely in English" - which is one of the major points this lecturer is coming to talk to them about - and he's coming to talk in English. It'll be the second time they'll get this talk. From what I know, this guy is going to a bunch of schools to give JTEs and ALTs information and tips about conducting a class in English with a student group that doesn't understand a lot of basic English. The lecture is going to be primarily in English, at least according to the paperwork from the University and the BoE (also in English, which someone had to help them translate...)

    In reality, most of it can be attributed to a sort of benign neglect - it isn't so much that they're trying to torpedo English in the school, but there's a huge sort of "focus on EVERYTHING" that things just slip through the cracks. Its an inaka school as well, so there's even less emphasis on English as well, at least compared to more standard subjects. I shouldn't attribute it to malice, as it can easily be explained by incompetence.

    My forecast: JTEs utterly ignore this dude's tips and the whole English only thing except for the 4 classes a year they have any supervisory group visit the class. For which the teachers will pull their hair out and plan elaborate, over the top classes with lesson plans down to the 5 second interval, like usual.

  7. #27
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    It's easy to do lessons that are completely in English... unless you have to try to meet the goals set by Japanese testing in terms of grammar and memorization rather than functionality. Surely MEXT knows this?
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  8. #28
    disobedient avocado Lianwen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    Do you guys ever find the time to travel? Or even have visitors (not like hosting them in the actual shoebox apartment obviously haha)? I know my family really wants to visit me, whichever way I end up getting there.
    HAHAHA. In my 3rd year of JET, I had about 40 days of vacation saved up before I left. Because I am the worst ALT ever, I took two months off and left in early June. Best vacation ever.
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  9. #29
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by SomePeopleJustSaySnow View Post
    It's easy to do lessons that are completely in English... unless you have to try to meet the goals set by Japanese testing in terms of grammar and memorization rather than functionality. Surely MEXT knows this?
    They know it, but for some reason don't bother to actually follow up on those policies by requiring extensive training. They just tell the teachers to do it in English, which leads to teachers attempting to do what they've always done, but in English, which leads to the kids not knowing WTF is going on.

    One of my JTEs is convinced that the current ES kids will have to do some sort of speaking when they do their university entrance exams. There're already plans for universities to accept TOEFL/TEAP/GTEC/whatever scores instead of the center test. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next few years, since the center test itself is being phased out in favor of an SAT style "basic skills" test. Already teachers are freaking out because they don't know what'll be on it. I'm pretty sure even the test designers don't know what's going on.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    which leads to teachers attempting to do what they've always done, but in English
    What kind of fairytale miraclelandJapan do you live in?

  11. #31
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lianwen View Post
    Best vacation ever.
    You are my hero, there's no way I'd ever do something like that.

    Too inconvenient for others xD.

  12. #32
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    What kind of fairytale miraclelandJapan do you live in?
    Never said they stick with it, just attempt. They try to explain grammar in English, then give up after a couple of times because the kids have no idea what "present progressive", "modal", or "subjunctive mood" mean.

  13. #33
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are my hero, there's no way I'd ever do something like that.

    Too inconvenient for others xD.
    It should be pointed out that newnail's coworkers already thought she was an incompetent schlub, so they probably breathed a sigh of relief.
    Last edited by mothy; November 19th, 2014 at 08:23.
    mothy 6.1.12
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  14. #34
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    Never said they stick with it, just attempt. They try to explain grammar in English, then give up after a couple of times because the kids have no idea what "present progressive", "modal", or "subjunctive mood" mean.
    Which is why they fail, because they don't know how to EXPLAIN things in English.

    It's really quite amazing how very little ability Japanese English speakers have at expansionary dialogue and discussion. I mean, as kids we learn how to explain words, write definitions, etc.... but it just doesn't appear to be a skill that most people here have developed in any meaningful sense. It also makes it MUCH harder to teach when you can't use expansion patterns because the student is in no way responsive to processing linear meaning and building an idea in real time as opposed to being told the whole idea and thinking about it.

    I seriously don't understand the purpose of 100% english classrooms. I mean, I did it back in Canada, but I had 6 different language families in my class, and I had to use it as the only common language. In Japan, you have the common language, so why not do the "hard" part, basic grammar explanation in Japanese, and then do the other 80% of the class in English using the tools they have encountered.
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  15. #35

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Which is why they fail, because they don't know how to EXPLAIN things in English.

    It's really quite amazing how very little ability Japanese English speakers have at expansionary dialogue and discussion. I mean, as kids we learn how to explain words, write definitions, etc.... but it just doesn't appear to be a skill that most people here have developed in any meaningful sense. It also makes it MUCH harder to teach when you can't use expansion patterns because the student is in no way responsive to processing linear meaning and building an idea in real time as opposed to being told the whole idea and thinking about it.
    I would say they don't know how to explain things in Japanese either. Like we've discussed before it's like answering the question (to use our textbook as an example) "do you prefer cats or dogs" with "I like dogs because they're cute" vs "I like dogs because of xyz properties intrinsic to dogs".

    I seriously don't understand the purpose of 100% english classrooms. I mean, I did it back in Canada, but I had 6 different language families in my class, and I had to use it as the only common language. In Japan, you have the common language, so why not do the "hard" part, basic grammar explanation in Japanese, and then do the other 80% of the class in English using the tools they have encountered.
    With how their education system is set up right now I completely agree. I think it's just a combination of the government wanting to be able to say what they're doing to improve English speaking ability of Japanese high school graduates + perhaps a hope that if they tell them to use only English they might start using some English.

    I was talking to a new teacher the other day who I know is smart and motivated... but talking about what she does in the lessons I'm not there just gives me a headache. The whole system is just screwed up from the floor to the ceiling.

    I remember when I first came here I wondered why more students didn't say they enjoyed English. Now if a kid tells me their favorite subject is English I wonder just how terrible their other subjects are.

  16. #36
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Which is why they fail, because they don't know how to EXPLAIN things in English.

    It's really quite amazing how very little ability Japanese English speakers have at expansionary dialogue and discussion. I mean, as kids we learn how to explain words, write definitions, etc.... but it just doesn't appear to be a skill that most people here have developed in any meaningful sense.
    To be fair, I think that this is the part of learning Japanese that has been the hardest for me. It takes a lot of accumulated hours of fucking up and having native speakers correct you.

  17. #37
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Part of the problem is that speaking and reasoning skills aren't covered all that well in Japanese classes, either. Sure, they might have the kids do short speeches or presentations every once in a while, but learning how to explain something in a way that people without any prior knowledge of the topic can understand. There's a lot of circular-type reasoning where the listener is supposed to infer the main point by the speaker going around it without actually saying what the main point is.

    As for all English classrooms, I think the only way it'll work is if the teachers get more training and if they're allowed to do an approach that focuses less on form and more on communication.

    And for the original topic, I used to have a shitton of time off as a JET. I traveled and had fun, and I still had money and vacation days left over.

  18. #38

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Personally, I think the biggest issue facing English classes being only taught in English is that JTEs nationwide don't have enough speaking ability - part of that problem is very limited exposure to native speakers, and part of it being a lack of ongoing education. I think both of my JTEs are pretty good teachers, but neither are really prepared to teach 50 minutes of English to Japanese students only using English (or even a 80-20 split.) They still make pretty simple grammatical mistakes, which I try to correct (for their benefit, as they've asked me to do.)

    And yet in the same way, if I've asked my coworkers to correct my very terrible Japanese, and they never say anything. (Except the JTEs, who just ask me to say it in English, and then don't understand.)

    Anyways, I have a ton of vacation days as well. Something like 28 or so left for this year. And I know at least 2 other ALTs that have less than 5 days of nenkyuu left - and it's only 4 months into their contract. I will enjoy their facebook tears as they want to do stuff and find out they're out of nenkyuu.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    Anyways, I have a ton of vacation days as well. Something like 28 or so left for this year. And I know at least 2 other ALTs that have less than 5 days of nenkyuu left - and it's only 4 months into their contract. I will enjoy their facebook tears as they want to do stuff and find out they're out of nenkyuu.
    They'll just go on vacay anyway. If the BoEis lucky they'll tell them first.
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  20. #40

    Default Re: Breaks/Vacation?

    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    They'll just go on vacay anyway. If the BoE is lucky they'll tell them first.
    There was one JET who left this past summer who did this. He figured "I'm leaving anyway, I can burn these bridges." I think he spent every day up until his contract ended sitting in town hall for 7 hours a day doing nothing. And they docked his pay. He was pissed, but deserved every last bit of it.

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