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Thread: Some frustrations I need help with.

  1. #1
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    Default Some frustrations I need help with.

    Hi,

    As of late this ALT work has been really frustrating and since the ALTs around me are junior to me, I don't have other people to talk to. If anyone can give me some advice / chastize my mistakes it would be appreciated.

    1: One teacher is frustrating to work with. She speaks to me constantly in Japanese and doesn't tell me what she plans to do until 5 minutes before a lesson. Admittedly, I am fluent in Japanese and she has a very busy schedule (1 no class period each day only) but the frustrating thing is that she speaks to me in Japanese during class and just doesn't care about using english in the class. I mainly just stand there, sometimes read a passage and do conversation activities sometimes. I've brought up my concerns but she says that I should prepare an activity in writing and she'll do it but she doesn't tell me what she plans to do in advance at all so how can I make something relevant if I don't know where she'll be next lesson?

    2: I don't know if I should speak Japanese or not with the kids. I get talked to constantly in Japanese, other subject teachers sometimes tell the kids that they don't need to bother speaking English with me and they know I'm fluent (I taught some of them in Elementary last year, most of which I used Japanese for). It feels like such a waste to use Japanese.

    3: What should I do in my spare time? Last year I had no spare time teaching 4-5 classes a day but now I teach maybe 1-3 and I don't need to plan a thing. I was thinking of drawing some posters, writing a news article in simple english using forms the kids know. I've already set up a non-class time conversation scheme using cards. Any advice?

    That and apart from the fact I have next to no friends is what is grating on me. Any help?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    1: One teacher is frustrating to work with. She speaks to me constantly in Japanese and doesn't tell me what she plans to do until 5 minutes before a lesson. Admittedly, I am fluent in Japanese and she has a very busy schedule (1 no class period each day only) but the frustrating thing is that she speaks to me in Japanese during class and just doesn't care about using english in the class. I mainly just stand there, sometimes read a passage and do conversation activities sometimes. I've brought up my concerns but she says that I should prepare an activity in writing and she'll do it but she doesn't tell me what she plans to do in advance at all so how can I make something relevant if I don't know where she'll be next lesson?
    This describes more than half of my JTEs. If you wait for them to get their act together and tell you what they want you to do then you'll be waiting a long time. You can either define your own job, make your own materials and take responsibility or expect to be gradually ignored. I'm not saying that's something you *have* to do; it isn't written in your contract, but it's the only way you'll feel satisfied with what you're doing.

    2: I don't know if I should speak Japanese or not with the kids. I get talked to constantly in Japanese, other subject teachers sometimes tell the kids that they don't need to bother speaking English with me and they know I'm fluent (I taught some of them in Elementary last year, most of which I used Japanese for). It feels like such a waste to use Japanese.
    Again, it's up to you. The more you speak Japanese, the more they will speak to you in general, but they will speak English less. It's kind of a toss up between whether you want to emphasise communication or English.

    What should I do in my spare time? Last year I had no spare time teaching 4-5 classes a day but now I teach maybe 1-3 and I don't need to plan a thing. I was thinking of drawing some posters, writing a news article in simple english using forms the kids know. I've already set up a non-class time conversation scheme using cards. Any advice?
    I mean, again, it's up to you. Not trying to be a dick but it sounds like you need to start taking a bit more initiative and responsibility for yourself. While I can understand feeling frustrated that no one is telling you what to do, you can either continue to feel bad about it or do something about it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intrepid View Post
    That and apart from the fact I have next to no friends is what is grating on me. Any help?
    Is this your first year? What makes you say you have no friends?

    If you're fluent in Japanese, you have a much better chance at making friends than a lot of other ALTs. Nobody said your friends had to be JETs.

    What do you do in your private time?
    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    It could happen. 1/100.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    1. Probably not that much you can do for now. Shitshows are gonna shit. I'd try to set up a time to meet with her during the summer when she's less busy and discuss your concerns.
    Maybe prepare a number of activities during the summer as well so you can have some ready to go that you can suggest. Getting your hands on a textbook should let you know what they'll be studying the rest of the year.

    2. It is a waste to use Japanese. I'm not an "ALTs should speak zero Japanese" person, but if you're not speaking English with them your job is kind of pointless. And an ALTs job is already too close to pointless. Your Japanese level should work as a bonus, since you can help them if they get stuck easier. But it sounds like you might be letting the kids take advantage of your Japanese. Kids are lazy fucks. They won't speak English if they feel they don't have to.
    Also, tell those co-workers to fuck off. If you say the kids need to speak English, they need to speak English. How would they like it if you were telling the kids they didn't need to break a sweat in PE class or do their homework in math class? That's just ridiculous and unprofessional, and that should be stopped immediately.

    3. Since your Japanese is good, go hang out with the janitor. He's usually the most interesting guy in the school.

    Might solve the no friends problem too.
    Last edited by mothy; June 14th, 2016 at 12:23.

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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    You can either define your own job, make your own materials and take responsibility or expect to be gradually ignored.
    I figured.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    ...whether you want to emphasise communication or English
    That's the ticket, isn't it? At first I was all about using whichever promoted good communication but now seeing the kids using less and less English I've been sticking to strictly English unless necessary.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Not trying to be a dick but it sounds like you need to start taking a bit more initiative and responsibility for yourself.
    Innit. I've been just rubbing up raw against a few older JTEs who want to do things their way so I wasn't sure how to go about suggesting things. I've already been in an arguement with the teacher above who doesn't like me using English in the office. Don't want to rock the boat too much. I'll just produce quality work and see what they say.

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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frap View Post
    Is this your first year? What makes you say you have no friends?

    What do you do in your private time?
    3rd and I have few friends because when I call people they're either busy or don't want to do much. I didn't get along with the previous alts in the town (too many misunderstandings), the fresh batch are cool and I'm semi-dating one but no buds I can call on to go for a beer or play video games. I hear either I'm busy or I'm tired etc.

    I was never a social person back home so I don't know how to make friends locally much either. I play magic the gathering at a store nearby and go out drinking but apart from staying home, going to the gym or playing video games I don't do much else.

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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    I'd try to set up a time to meet with her during the summer when she's less busy and discuss your concerns.
    Good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    2. It is a waste to use Japanese.. it sounds like you might be letting the kids take advantage of your Japanese. Kids are lazy fucks. They won't speak English if they feel they don't have to.
    I ran into some middle schoolers my colleague is teaching while walking with her and she jumped right into Japanese despite them being 3rd year middle. They were yelling at us from across the street and speaking gibberish English when they didn't understand everything. But they understood most of it and my colleague just spoke to them in Japanese. Kids can be lazy as fuck unless they have to do something. Speaking english (or basic manners) wasn't one of those then. You're right.

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    Also, tell those co-workers to fuck off. If you say the kids need to speak English, they need to speak English. How would they like it if you were telling the kids they didn't need to break a sweat in PE class or do their homework in math class? That's just ridiculous and unprofessional, and that should be stopped immediately.
    I thought as much. Thanks for the backup.

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    Since your Japanese is good, go hang out with the janitor. He's usually the most interesting guy in the school.
    Word. Sounds like a plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    Might solve the no friends problem too.
    I might just get drunk instead. That solves stuff, right?
    Last edited by Intrepid; June 14th, 2016 at 14:36. Reason: Quotes are hard

  8. #8

    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    When my JTEs speak Japanese to me, I answer in English. If they want to continue speaking Japanese, they can, but I'm going to speak English.

    Same with the kids. Even if they're not practicing speaking, they can at least practice listening. I also find that they're more likely to try speaking English with me if I'm speaking English. The only time I use Japanese with my JHS kids is if they ask me a question that I can't give is a satisfactory answer in simple English, or sometimes outside of class if we're just chatting, though I think that's laziness on my part.

    I think it's hard to change a teacher already set in their ways. The only thing you can do is have activities already prepared and be ready to show them to her in the 5 minutes before class (which gives zero time for prep/printing/etc.....). Go through the textbook in your free time and starting looking for/ making activities for the grammar points. If she says that you're studying the present perfect that day, whip out your present perfect activity. But some teachers are just going to say no. It's annoying, it's a waste of your time, and it's a waste of the taxpayers money, welcome to JET.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intrepid View Post
    I might just get drunk instead. That solves stuff, right?
    Sure does. Also JET is very good for me since I'm a lazy SOB and have no problem dicking around for days on end and doing nothing useful ever.

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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isola View Post
    Whip out your present perfect activity
    If I whip out anything, it would definately be a present.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isola View Post
    it's a waste... welcome to JET.
    That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me all day. Thanks ;.;

  11. #11

    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intrepid View Post
    If I whip out anything, it would definately be a present.
    you just made your first friend!
    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    It could happen. 1/100.

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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intrepid View Post
    I might just get drunk instead. That solves stuff, right?
    That's what I do. Does it solve anything?

    Eeh?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    It sounds like your school might have requested a Japanese speaking ALT and thus assume you would always use it. Remember a lot of JTEs speak next to zero English in their own lessons and may not really understand or care why they shouldn't.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Which makes it all the more important that the ALT does.

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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    It sounds like your school might have requested a Japanese speaking ALT and thus assume you would always use it. Remember a lot of JTEs speak next to zero English in their own lessons and may not really understand or care why they shouldn't.
    That being said I was hired to this city because I speak good Japanese. The previous ALT to me was pretty bad so I think she stuck to English but that could be a reason why... Hmm the plot thickens...

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    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    I don't disagree.
    Let's disagree to agree.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Some frustrations I need help with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Intrepid View Post



    Innit. I've been just rubbing up raw against a few older JTEs who want to do things their way so I wasn't sure how to go about suggesting things. I've already been in an arguement [sic] with the teacher above who doesn't like me using English in the office. Don't want to rock the boat too much. I'll just produce quality work and see what they say.

    I understand your concerns of course, but don't understand why it's a problem using Japanese in the office if you're more than capable? When I lived in Spain and France I loved it if someone couldn't/didn't speak English as it made me improve my level and in general I would relish those opportunities. I understand in the classroom, but why is it an issue in the office?

    So, what exactly happened? Did the JTE say don't speak English in the office or simply stop speaking too much English in the office? Was this you and him/her talking about planning or in general? I don't know the exact scenario but maybe the other teachers don't understand and by speaking in English excludes them. But, like I say I don't know the ins and outs of it.

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