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Thread: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

  1. #1

    Default Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    [Edit] I don't know if there's a Rant thread or anything, so I apologize if there is one and I put this thread in the general JET thread. >__<
    [/Edit]
    Hello guys and gals.

    I've been sitting on this for a day or two now, and it's still bothering me, so I figured I need to get it out somewhere. I'm a 3rd year ALT, and I work at a junior high school where I have 4 classes a day, normally. It's a tiny school with 60 kids, so I know them all. lol I have 3 JTEs, one for each level, with the others working as T2s for some of the English classes, too. One JTE is amazing at English. He studied really hard when he was young until he graduated college (or something), so he's pretty much fluent (with some mistakes here and there, but hey, good enough).

    This JTE I'll call Mr. Ra. I'll refer to myself as Mi (so Mi-sensei).

    The other day in the 3rd year class, I was passing out worksheets to the kids (who were then writing their names on their worksheets and putting them away in their folders/files). So basically, while I was passing out papers, there was some down time where we weren't doing anything (and the teacher was setting up his computer or whatever). As I'm passing out the papers, the kids yell out a joke in Japanese that I know. I laughed and said it back to them in English (that CHOTTO MATTE CHOTTO MATTE ONIISAN, RASSUNGORERAI~~~ which I turned into JUST A MINUTE, JUST A MINUTE, BIG BROTHER, RASSUNGORERAI) to encourage them speaking English in class, and to be silly. Then Mr. Ra said, in Japanese, "Mi-sensei, focus please. Wow, I never thought I would be saying that to you." I felt like a child.

    I brushed it off, though. The next day, I'm in the 1st year class with another JTE I'll call Mr. O. Mr. Ra is the T2 for that class. The kids were given a worksheet they had to do in class about verbs (like, play, have). I walked around the room and noticed one boy was copying answers from the answer book onto his worksheet. I took the book and told him to try it on his own. He erased the answer he wrote because he thought it was wrong. I told him it was right, but to do the rest by himself, and then I put the book back on his desk. He tried to do the next question, but then immediately went for the answer book. I stopped him and said, "Try by yourself. Listen. Tennis. Ten-nis," and I began to pronounce the word for him so he could try to figure out how to spell tennis. Then, Mr. Ra says to me, "Mi-sensei. Please let the students do their worksheets by themselves."

    . . . Okay.

    I was enraged. I wasn't giving the kid answers. I wasn't doing his work for him. He was COPYING the answers. So I stopped him from doing that and gave him some hints so he could figure out the answer on his own. I never just GIVE kids the answers.

    I went home and broke down. I'm not allowed to have fun with the kids in class. God forbid they laugh at something during the lesson, and god forbid they ask me questions about words they want to know in English during DOWN TIME. Then, DURING class, I'm not allowed the help kids with their work. Or correct them with their wrong. I need to let the kids "do it themselves" even if that means COPYING FROM THE BOOK AND THUS, LEARNING NOTHING.

    The next day (today), I resolved to stand around and do nothing. I gave up. If he wants me to be a tape recorder and just stand there and look pretty, I'll do that. So, again, I'm in the 1st year class with Mr. O and Mr. Ra. Let me remind you that the MAIN TEACHER is Mr. O (but Mr. Ra always bosses Mr. O around and acts like it's his class anyway). The students are given a worksheet again, and they start writing down their answers. I stood at the front of the class, just watching the kids. I was going to do that the whole period, but 1 minute in, Mr. Ra comes up to me and says, "Mi-sensei, please check the students' worksheets for mistakes. But if they make a mistake...only give them hints. Just hints. Then give them perfect stamp when finished." I had to clarify what the crap he meant by the last part (when they complete the worksheet and check their answers, give them a ALL DONE, YAY stamp). I was immediately enraged, again. That is all I ever do. I only give them hints. I don't just GIVE THEM the answers.

    I have no idea what to do. In the 3rd year class, my job is to pronounce words and watch this kid who does NOTHING in class (not just English class). He sleeps at his desk and doesn't pay attention, so it is my job to wake him up, make him sit up, make him do his work, GIVE HIM THE ANSWERS (for real, that's what Mr. Ra tells me to do), etc. I did not sign up for this job to stand around and be some kid's babysitter. If you need another person in the class to watch JUST THAT KID, then you need to get someone else to do it (which they did, last year, but then that teacher would just sit next to this kid and fall asleep). I came here to assist in teaching English (and to promote culture awareness and whatever else). I didn't come here to take care of a kid that no one else gives one cent about.

    Back home, I am a teacher. I have a Masters in Education and a Bachelors in English. I teach English. I know that when you are a teacher, it is your job to teach to all your students, including those with learning disabilities. But I also know that when kids have learning disabilities that are so bad, they have an assistant come into the class to assist that student. That, or the student is place in a 1-on-1 classroom with a teacher. So, in some ways, it is my responsibility to tend to this student because I came on JET thinking I would be teaching English (aka be a teacher). That being said, though, I feel like this teacher is throwing his responsibility on me instead of handling it himself. This student is not learning anything. The teacher sometimes doesn't care that the boy sleeps in class and doesn't do anything. It's only when a Learning Disability observer comes into the class to check on the boy that the teacher tells me to "help him." Rather than use me in class, he assigns me to this kid. I can't help the other students or check on them to make sure they're doing their work properly because I'm helping one student. All class. And I fell like that's what Mr. Ra wants. I think he wants me to not interact with the kids at all, and so he just throws me onto the learning disability kid.

    All in all, I am upset. I don't know what to do. I can't have fun with the kids and I can't help the kids (unless he tells me to). More often than not, he tells me to let the kids "do the work themselves" even when I'm only giving hints to them. So hey, if he wants me to stand around and do nothing in class, that's fine. I'm okay with that. It's their tax money and whatever else that is paying me to do nothing in class all day.
    Last edited by LilMitsuko; June 9th, 2015 at 12:52.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    That sounds absolutely infuriating. I couldn't even begin to give you advice, but I would say to just have a conversation with him to clear things up. Make him sit down and talk about what his expectations of you are in class. Apologize for stepping out of bounds (even if you didn't), and realize that even they don't know what they want half of the time.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Pre-emptive mod reminder to everyone to keep your replies civil, please.

    First of all, and I don't mean to patronise, but have you tried talking to him about this? From the way you've written this it seems like you've just been silently fuming. Certainly I can understand your frustration, and this guy may well be a jackass, but that would be the first step if you do so. Ask him what he wants from you in the classroom and what he thinks you're doing that you could improve. Try to figure out what's really going on.

    Secondly,

    Quote Originally Posted by LilMitsuko View Post
    Back home, I am a teacher. I have a Masters in Education and a Bachelors in English. I teach English. I know that when you are a teacher, it is your job to teach to all your students, including those with learning disabilities. But I also know that when kids have learning disabilities that are so bad, they have an assistant come into the class to assist that student. That, or the student is place in a 1-on-1 classroom with a teacher. So, in some ways, it is my responsibility to tend to this student because I came on JET thinking I would be teaching English (aka be a teacher).
    A lot of people are probably going to jump on this, but I'll go first; you are not a teacher here. Your job is to assist the JTE. If he doesn't want you to do anything but read aloud from the textbook then that is his prerogative, no matter how much of a waste of your abilities it may be. Yes there are schools, mostly ES and SHS, where ALTs get more responsibility and freedom, even to the extent of planning all their lessons. That is not and should not be how the ALT system works, and it is certainly not in the stated mission of the programme. It sucks, but that's how it is. Anything extra you get to do is a bonus, and if you're at that kind of school you'll need to be diplomatic to get it.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    First of all, and I don't mean to patronise, but have you tried talking to him about this? From the way you've written this it seems like you've just been silently fuming. Certainly I can understand your frustration, and this guy may well be a jackass, but that would be the first step if you do so. Ask him what he wants from you in the classroom and what he thinks you're doing that you could improve. Try to figure out what's really going on.
    Even though I hit "Reply with Quote" it somehow didn't. lol

    Thanks for your advice. I haven't mentioned this to the teacher yet, though I have asked here and there what he wants me to do in class. Once in awhile, it's "help the students" or "check their work." He tells me to speak ONLY English to the 3rd years, and so I do (begrudgingly). I hate the idea of apologizing for stepping out of bounds in his class, but if I need to do that in order to open a conversation with him, I'll do it. I get mixed messages from him, though, so I guess that's why I'm confused and upset too (help the students, BUT LET THEM DO IT ON THEIR OWN, but help them...WAT).

    A lot of people are probably going to jump on this, but I'll go first; you are not a teacher here. Your job is to assist the JTE. If he doesn't want you to do anything but read aloud from the textbook then that is his prerogative, no matter how much of a waste of your abilities it may be. Yes there are schools, mostly ES and SHS, where ALTs get more responsibility and freedom, even to the extent of planning all their lessons. That is not and should not be how the ALT system works, and it is certainly not in the stated mission of the programme. It sucks, but that's how it is. Anything extra you get to do is a bonus, and if you're at that kind of school you'll need to be diplomatic to get it.
    Yeah, I know I'm not a teacher here, and I tell people this when they flaunt around the "I am a teacher in Japan" opinion. We aren't. We're assistants in the teaching of English. The reason why I mentioned it up there, though, is because given the research and teaching I did, I know certain things to be true (as a teacher, you have to do x and y, etc.). So, if there is a student who has a learning disability, it is you (the JTE's) job as a teacher to cater to that student and somehow teach them. However, I don't think it's appropriate for JTEs to throw that responsibility on an ALT (when most of us AREN'T trained as teachers, let alone know anything about how to handle learning disability students). They need either a professional, a learning disability assistant, or another teacher to come in and assist with that student, NOT the ALT.
    Last edited by LilMitsuko; June 9th, 2015 at 13:11.

  5. #5
    Fit via vi Virgil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Yeah, but there are clear differences between how educators are taught/operate in the US compared to Japan. It is absolutely not our role to come in and tell the heathens (ironic usage here in case you couldn't figure it out) how they SHOULD be operating. I was a teacher in the US, and I came with the attitude that I would be a walking tape recorder. I've been pleasantly surprised by the amount of autonomy I've been given - but it still sucks because they have absolutely no idea what my role should actually be.

    It sounds like the stuff that is getting to you is rather small, albeit irritating. You'll just have to "play the part" and maybe bond with the students outside of class.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by LilMitsuko View Post
    I get mixed messages from him, though, so I guess that's why I'm confused and upset too (help the students, BUT LET THEM DO IT ON THEIR OWN, but help them...WAT).
    I think we all know it can be very difficult to get Japanese people to tell you things in a clear and helpful way, but you should definitely try. It's very likely he hasn't realised this apparent contradiction. Maybe he misunderstood what you were trying to do. You'll never know if you never try to find out, people aren't mindreaders!

    Yeah, I know I'm not a teacher here, and I tell people this when they flaunt around the "I am a teacher in Japan" opinion. We aren't. We're assistants in the teaching of English. The reason why I mentioned it up there, though, is because given the research and studying I did, I know certain things to be true (as a teacher, you have to do x and y, etc.). So, if there is a student who has a learning disability, it is you (the JTE's) job as a teacher to cater to that student and somehow teach them. However, I don't think it's appropriate for JTEs to throw that responsibility on an ALT (when most of us AREN'T trained as teachers, let alone know anything about how to handle learning disability students). They need either a professional, a learning disability assistant, or another teacher to come in and assist with that student, NOT the ALT.
    Right, but then you'll also know that there are many, many things they do in Japanese education that are just wrong and stupid. We all ignore stuff like that every day. I've ignored things far worse than that and I have friends who've ignored even worse at their schools, stuff that would probably have had me quit and leave the country. Trying to fight with them won't work, just think about how you can affect the things you can change.

    I do have a lot of sympathy though, pushing off unpleasant or onerous tasks onto lower ranking teachers is standard practice here, and it does seem female ALTs tend to get more outright bullying from JTEs.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Yeah, but there are clear differences between how educators are taught/operate in the US compared to Japan. It is absolutely not our role to come in and tell the heathens (ironic usage here in case you couldn't figure it out) how they SHOULD be operating. I was a teacher in the US, and I came with the attitude that I would be a walking tape recorder. I've been pleasantly surprised by the amount of autonomy I've been given - but it still sucks because they have absolutely no idea what my role should actually be.
    This is true. Just because I like how we do x things in America, that doesn't mean I get to come in and tell people here that they are wrong because we do it x way. The most I can do is say, "I disagree with what you do here" and they can take it or leave it (I would never even do that lol; I would just say it to myself if I didn't like/agree with something).

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    It sounds like the stuff that is getting to you is rather small, albeit irritating. You'll just have to "play the part" and maybe bond with the students outside of class.
    I certainly don't mind playing the role and just being the tape recorder they can turn on and off at will. But what I do mind is them telling me, "Help the kids" and then "But don't." He tells me, "Help them, but give them hints" so I do that, and then he tells me, "Let them do it by themselves." PICK ONE. lolol Or tell me in advanced whether you want me to help the kids or just ignore them in class even though they're wriggling around and screaming HALP, HALP!!

  8. #8
    Fit via vi Virgil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by LilMitsuko View Post
    I certainly don't mind playing the role and just being the tape recorder they can turn on and off at will. But what I do mind is them telling me, "Help the kids" and then "But don't." He tells me, "Help them, but give them hints" so I do that, and then he tells me, "Let them do it by themselves." PICK ONE. lolol Or tell me in advanced whether you want me to help the kids or just ignore them in class even though they're wriggling around and screaming HALP, HALP!!
    I have one JTE like this. She sends very mixed messages about what she wants me to do. She is just about incomprehensible when it comes to English though, so I write it off pretty easily. It doesn't stop it from being incredibly irritating in class.

    I had a chat with some other ALTs that told me she was a bit of a control freak too. Luckily she is not my supervisor this year.
    Last edited by Virgil; June 9th, 2015 at 13:25.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Right, but then you'll also know that there are many, many things they do in Japanese education that are just wrong and stupid. We all ignore stuff like that every day. I've ignored things far worse than that and I have friends who've ignored even worse at their schools, stuff that would probably have had me quit and leave the country. Trying to fight with them won't work, just think about how you can affect the things you can change.
    Oh my god, this. During my visit to an elementary school's 2nd grade class (special English lesson, wooo), a little boy got upset that he didn't win at whatever game, and started throwing a little fit. The teacher began to scold the kid, and the kid began to swing at the teacher (his stomach because the boy was really short). He's a 2nd grader, so his punches can barely hurt. lol He shouldn't be trying to punch a teacher anyway, but just saying. Anyway, the teacher got upset, grabbed the kid by his shoulders and shoved him down into the wall. The boy hit his head and started crying. Then the teacher dragged the kid out. I stood there petrified and CHOU upset, too. Another teacher was in the room, though, and said nothing, so I was like, "Okay, I guess this is...okay here?" Needless to say, I tried to never have a class with that teacher again. And then he became my school's 5th grade English teacher *RAINBOWS*.

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    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by LilMitsuko View Post
    Oh my god, this. During my visit to an elementary school's 2nd grade class (special English lesson, wooo), a little boy got upset that he didn't win at whatever game, and started throwing a little fit. The teacher began to scold the kid, and the kid began to swing at the teacher (his stomach because the boy was really short). He's a 2nd grader, so his punches can barely hurt. lol He shouldn't be trying to punch a teacher anyway, but just saying. Anyway, the teacher got upset, grabbed the kid by his shoulders and shoved him down into the wall. The boy hit his head and started crying. Then the teacher dragged the kid out. I stood there petrified and CHOU upset, too. Another teacher was in the room, though, and said nothing, so I was like, "Okay, I guess this is...okay here?" Needless to say, I tried to never have a class with that teacher again. And then he became my school's 5th grade English teacher *RAINBOWS*.
    I really doubt physical abuse is OK, even here. It's probably just not talked about, or bothered with unless the parent raises some shit.

    Verbal abuse is no problem though.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    I've had kids picked up, shoved, I've seen teachers kick students out of the way to get to other trouble-making students. Like, it's not legal I don't think, or even okay at all, but people don't usually tend to kick up a fuss. Especially if your kids are yankee.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Honestly I wish I could manhandle some students a bit more back home. I had some downright shitheads that needed a good smacking. I just can't see myself shoving a 2nd grade kid though.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    At my boyfriend's school (not far from mine), a student said something -most likely rude- to the JTE and she picked up the kid's books and papers that were on his desk and smacked him across the face with them. It's funny how teachers have almost no power in the classroom (i.e. removing trouble making kids from the classroom, punishing students who are disrespectful via detention, etc.), but when it comes to smacking kids around (verbally or physically), they seem to get away with A LOT.
    Last edited by LilMitsuko; June 9th, 2015 at 13:37.

  14. #14
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by LilMitsuko View Post
    It's funny how teachers have almost no power in the classroom (i.e. removing trouble making kids from the classroom, punishing students who are disrespectful via detention, etc.), but when it comes to smacking kids around (verbally or physically), they seem to get away with A LOT.
    If you kick a student out of a room, there's clear evidence of that. Other people might see them out in the hall and etc. Who's gonna stay with them in detention?

    As for physical abuse, as long as they don't leave a mark. Who are they going to believe, a snot nosed brat or a "respectable" teacher?

    No one's going to disrupt the flow. They rather evade controversy and keep the status quo.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Angry Rant about a JTE; What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    Who are they going to believe, a snot nosed brat or a "respectable" teacher?
    You're not wrong, but you'd be surprised at the number of Japanese people that are ok with corporal punishment. I've heard Japanese people defending that gym coach in Osaka that beat his kid to suicide. "I sinku maybe he just want student to do zeir besto. It is maybe too strict to lose his job I sinku ..."

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