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Thread: Frustration

  1. #1
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    Default Frustration

    As most of you know, my job is rather unique. With so many schools to go to, I feel really stretched out. I am hoping that there may be other people on the board in a similar situation (based out of a Regional BOE, rather than a school) who can give me advice.

    I think perhaps that my biggest problem is that I want to do a really good job. But in order to do that, I have to give 110% everyday because I may only go to a particular school two or three times a year. I really want to help the kids and teach them something, but the education system here is so backward (WTF is up with teaching have and has separately?!? they are the same verb) it's like running my head into a brick wall. Every...single...day. It doesn't help that running through my introduction game over and over again has numbed my brain. I feel so useless, and that's the last thing I want to be because I really want to do something good for these kids.

    I guess what I really need is some sort of balance between doing a good job and not running myself through a gristmill. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Congratulations! You've hit what is probably the biggest frustration among JETs! Woohoo!

    My advice is to take the job for what it is. Do what's expected of you and put in effort where you think you'll get results. Don't get stressed out for a job where you feel nobody gives a shit.
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dobharrison
    Congratulations! You've hit what is probably the biggest frustration among JETs! Woohoo!

    My advice is to take the job for what it is. Do what's expected of you and put in effort where you think you'll get results. Don't get stressed out for a job where you feel nobody gives a shit.
    Basically, it seems like I won't get results anywhere. If I only go to a school at most once week (and even that will only last for four months), then what results can I possibily get? I might as well just go home. If I didn't think JET would back charge me for bringing me here in the first place, I probably would. As it is, I'm stuck here, and I'm not the type who can just smile and look pretty and not care that I'm wasting my time. Honestly, I looked forward to the job as much as anything. I really love teaching, but when I can't accomplish anything, it becomes an exercise in futility rather than a job. I really like my supervisors-- they are top notch guys--and the schools have all been really nice too. If I felt differently about those people, I might be more willing to just not give a shit. However, I like them and I don't want to make things harder for them by doing a crappy job. But I can't do a good job either with things the way they are. I'm stuck between a rock and hard place, so I'm hoping for a way to squeeze out from between the two!
    "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Find things to do in your spare time Cynth...Im sure you have a couple of things that you do but maybe you should go out with your hubby more...is there a big city nearby with lots of cool stuff that you could go see? Do you have a hobby that you brought from home maybe? (i have my warhammer painting)...stop worrying so much about your job...though you may be there 5 days a week you still spend more time somewhere else...find an interesting way to use that time...it saddens me that your not enjoying this place the way you thought you would...on the other hand...you might just be experiencing culture shock...and if that is the case itll pass...anyways ask some of your JTEs (supervisors, the top notch guys) and see if they can think of things for you to do to make your stay more interesting...and if youre hankerin to see Kyoto while your here drop me a PM...you and Eric can stay with me...Im only 2 hours away by train...1450 there and 1450 back and you can stay in Kyoto all day...Ill even feed ya!!!
    You got the BFG 9000...Oh yes!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia
    However, I like them and I don't want to make things harder for them by doing a crappy job. But I can't do a good job either with things the way they are.
    Don't do either! Do what is expected of you and channel your energy into things that make you happy (that don't involve teaching). JET can be a great opportunity for a number of reasons, but teaching isn't always one of them.
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    I share your pain. I am like a leaf caught in the wind, blowing from school to school. At elementary school the wisest sages with a love for languages are trained in the muntains by master juku so focus ones energys on providing an enjoyable environment. Leave the horrors of grammer and drilling vocab to the dark lords of JHS. When you wash up on the shores of the dark lords domain realise that your nobel efforts will be wasted in the classroom. You will be abused and harrassed when their other whipping boy, the cd player, has finally risen up in revolt at saying "I am yuki" for the 1000000 time. The best use of your time is to go out and explore the kingdom of art class, the warm valleys of cookery class and the open plains of PE. Stride to enter any and all classes you can for the little people who are inprisioned there will gladly try and communicate whereas the deadly eigo cliffs are barren and silent places.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    If making the most use of your free time isn't enough to distract you from the current ineffective education system and feelings in making a difference in their English language education is heavy within you, there's always taking the initiative to go beyond the call of duty.

    There are some teachers who love what they do and spend their extra time teaching/tutoring kids after school hours. Answering questions they might have that may have otherwise have gone unnoticed or unanswered in class. But most of all, teaching kids who wish to learn more than what was given to them in class. I think this what after school clubs are for.

    If this appeals to you but would cut too much into your free time doing it to every school (or even just one school) you teach at, you can always setup a website/messageboard for your kids. Post up discussions for the week on common phrases/sayings in English, cultural differences in speech and mannerisms or even the whole logic and structure of the language.

    The more students you're able to have participate on the messageboard from the various schools you frequent, the less ignorant the students you teach will become. As a bonus, the advanced kids can help the other kids who aren't so quick to pick it up. With the whole anonymity factor of a messageboard setup, you can eliminate barriers in learning and participation which would otherwise by frowned upon among their peers and/or society.

    In the end, its a symbiotic reward, the kids get to know more about the English language and western culture while you get the satisfaction of having affected someone elses life in a positive way.

    It's all about taking the initiative, having the confidence and doing whatever makes you happy. Don't let the frustration takeover you, take action to remedy it or do something else. It's best not to dwell on the negative. Think positive, act positive, do positive and be positive.
    Your confidence is disproportionate to your abilities

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxCapacitor
    There are some teachers who love what they do and spend their extra time teaching/tutoring kids after school hours. Answering questions they might have that may have otherwise have gone unnoticed or unanswered in class. But most of all, teaching kids who wish to learn more than what was given to them in class. I think this what after school clubs are for.
    japanese kids hae no spare time after school for they are enslaved by the gods of the baseball and volleyball clubs
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Max has some good points, but it all depends on your school. None of my kids have the time to do much outside of class!
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by IniKamoze
    I share your pain. I am like a leaf caught in the wind, blowing from school to school. At elementary school the wisest sages with a love for languages are trained in the muntains by master juku so focus ones energys on providing an enjoyable environment. Leave the horrors of grammer and drilling vocab to the dark lords of JHS. When you wash up on the shores of the dark lords domain realise that your nobel efforts will be wasted in the classroom. You will be abused and harrassed when their other whipping boy, the cd player, has finally risen up in revolt at saying "I am yuki" for the 1000000 time. The best use of your time is to go out and explore the kingdom of art class, the warm valleys of cookery class and the open plains of PE. Stride to enter any and all classes you can for the little people who are inprisioned there will gladly try and communicate whereas the deadly eigo cliffs are barren and silent places.
    :smt005

    I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. A lot of what you say makes sense though, Ini.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Max. Unfortunately, the students I've taught so far all seem so intent on NOT doing well in English that I doubt many would be interested in spending their precious free time on a web board. Maybe if I had highschools, it would be a lil easier for them, but I don't.

    My husband and I do spend a lot of free time together. If it wasn't for him, I'd probably be a lot worse off than I am. Unfortunately our main fun things to do have all been stripped away over here. Movies are far too expensive, there are no malls to walk around that are reachable by public transport, and we only have one computer so we can't play WoW together. We wouldn't mind traveling more, but moving here siphoned off all of our savings and since my husband still hasn't found any work, we are just making ends meet. Fortunately, the main city in our prefecture has an international center with an English library so I at least have plenty of reading material.

    I basically kind of get the feeling like I'm just gonna have to grin and bear it for the next nine months. I'll get what enjoyment I can when I can, but I don't really expect things to get better. Then again, maybe it *is* culture shock and I'll get over it. Only time will tell.
    "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Don't make the mistake of taking the Jet job seriously. Make sure you don't mind looking like a prick 99.% of the time, are a fun source of entertainment for the kids while teaching the odd english slang and do what Ini says -get to know the kids outside eigoheights -it'll improve your relationship with them (even if you're only gonna see em once a year)
    "I don't want to go to Waitrose, I want a fuck buddy."

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    I feel your pain and i will be back later. Not enough time to post right now. But Ini has some good advice if you can read between the rather flowery lines!

    I'll be back...

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    Hi Cynthia, it sounds like you have the same job as me. I went through a phase of being frustrated/depressed at not being able to affect English education that much.

    What I realised though is that i have to look at it all in a different light. I no longer go to my three times a year schools intending to teach English. I intend to associate the concepts of "fun" and "English" in their malleable little 7 year old minds. So when they hit the dull grey of JHS/SHS, they hopefully have a much more positive take on english. Effectively i try and set them off on the right foot at the start of their english learning career. So to speak. (Damn, the floweryness in this thread is catching)

    If you look at it that way, you could be the only foreignor the kids in that class speak to for the next 6 years of school. They will definitely remember meeting you, so if you make it fun, you can give them some good memories, and some future JHS ALT will be blessing you when they put their hand up to answer questions in class.

    So, i take my job seriously, but that means making the classes fun! I dont care if they can still remember the colours of the rainbow tomorrow, what matters is that the whole class is smiling.

    So, give up trying to teach English, and get the kids to want to learn English for themselves, and you'll have more effect on their English than anthing else.

    Matt

    PS.. You play WoW! What server??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamis
    Hi Cynthia, it sounds like you have the same job as me. I went through a phase of being frustrated/depressed at not being able to affect English education that much.

    What I realised though is that I have to look at it all in a different light. I no longer go to my three times a year schools intending to teach English. I intend to associate the concepts of "fun" and "English" in their malleable little 7 year old minds. So when they hit the dull grey of JHS/SHS, they hopefully have a much more positive take on english. Effectively i try and set them off on the right foot at the start of their english learning career. So to speak. (Damn, the floweryness in this thread is catching)

    If you look at it that way, you could be the only foreignor the kids in that class speak to for the next 6 years of school. They will definitely remember meeting you, so if you make it fun, you can give them some good memories, and some future JHS ALT will be blessing you when they put their hand up to answer questions in class.

    So, i take my job seriously, but that means making the classes fun! I dont care if they can still remember the colours of the rainbow tomorrow, what matters is that the whole class is smiling.

    So, give up trying to teach English, and get the kids to want to learn English for themselves, and you'll have more effect on their English than anthing else.

    Matt

    PS.. You play WoW! What server??
    Hey Matt! When I posted earlier, I wasn't actually complaining about elementary school. The young kids are way fun, and since I get free reign in the class we have a really good time. I do my intro to the youngest ones (1-4 nenseis) through coloring sheets, and then I give them a sheet to draw a picture of themselves and the things they like. My hope is to teach them that you can communicate even if you don't always know the word. The rest of the time we just play games.

    JHS, on the other hand, I kind of dread. The textbooks are insipid, and the way they teach grammar is painful. Also, most of my JHS teachers don't bother to fill me in on the lessons until five minutes before class, so I have to scramble to turn it into anything fun.

    How far is you farthest school? I have several that are an hour bus ride. I think the traveling is more irritating than anything else. But oh well, I'm just trying to enjoy what I can for now.

    My husband and I play on Zul'jin. He plays a lot more than me atm since he doesn't work, so he's got a 60 priest and a 40 rogue. I have a 23 hunter. you?
    "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    do u do anything with the kids outside of class? i mean join a club or just wander in after school to see what there doing?

    outside the class enviroment you'd be amazed how much english they know, and how many personal questions they can ask you...

    the classroom sucks. sometimes i get to play a game and its fun. my teachers don't tell me whats going on either but when they ask me to make a game or acivity i don't tell them about it anyway (cos when i do they end up changing and ruining it with *suck breath through teeth* oooh this is much too difficult! easy activity is best!!! doh! >.<)

    i've also found i am absolutely uselss when it comes to teaching grammer, or understanding exactly what grammer point is been taught in the text book.

    my teacher just asked me about the to infinitive, fine i think, to be, to drink, to have, to watch. i give him my examples and hes all like no no no thats not the to infinitive and points out the 3 chapters in the text book all dealing with "to something" but said differently in japanese...

    i also hit a brick wall when they want me to do a skit or activity with the text book grammer point because i always use conversation english or what I would say in the situation. and just get told that this will confuse the students.

    its a pain having to make activities for the lazy arseholes who just don't want to be in class when the other half are bored silly and could do much more advanced stuff no problem. the idea of having ability based classes is horrific here though! but trying to teach 40+ kids of hugely different levels anything in 45minutes (less when you factor in the compulsory bingo and text reading) is pretty impossible.

    so now i relax, don't worry about teaching. talk to the kids, help any that ask for it. make an effort with the ones that want to learn and pretty much ignore the ones that sleep or just don't care. the teachers will like you more because they don't feel threratened or think your trying to show them up, the kids like you more because your not hassling them and just want to have fun with them, and all in all the atmosphere and your stress levels will be greatly improved.

    crap advice if making a big difference in your job is important to you though (in which case did you read anything about jet before you came on it?!?!?!)

    and wow blows, FFXI all the way baby!
    If i told you you had a good body, would you take your clothes off and dance around for me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by adammoogle
    so now i relax, don't worry about teaching. talk to the kids, help any that ask for it. make an effort with the ones that want to learn and pretty much ignore the ones that sleep or just don't care. the teachers will like you more because they don't feel threratened or think your trying to show them up, the kids like you more because your not hassling them and just want to have fun with them, and all in all the atmosphere and your stress levels will be greatly improved.
    This should be on the front page of the site!
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    Quote Originally Posted by adammoogle
    do u do anything with the kids outside of class? i mean join a club or just wander in after school to see what there doing?

    outside the class enviroment you'd be amazed how much english they know, and how many personal questions they can ask you...
    I'm actually kind of limited with what I can do outside of the class and afterschool. Many of my schools take between 1-2 hours of travel time from my apartment, so my travel time is often factored in to the work day. This is itself is pretty cool, because I get paid to sit on the train or bus and read a book. It sucks because the nearest train station is a half hour walk, so I do a LOT of walking.

    With my local schools that I visit once a week, I have a bit more leeway. I don't like staying late very much (it gets hard to catch the bus), but I will try going into other classes more.
    "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia

    The textbooks are insipid, and the way they teach grammar is painful.
    What??? You don't love the text book?? What about that poetic gem from the ichinensei New Crown, "Together in Nature"

    "I am a boy. You are a bird.
    We are together, together in nature..."

    Pure Shakespeare, it is, and rivalled only by the brillance of " I am a kendama champion".


    On a related note, has anyone else noticed how the JTEs react if someone dares to criticze the textbook? At our brush up seminar, one of the ALTs said the textbook made it more difficult for the students to learn English, and a dead silence fell over the room...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kristybruce
    On a related note, has anyone else noticed how the JTEs react if someone dares to criticze the textbook? At our brush up seminar, one of the ALTs said the textbook made it more difficult for the students to learn English, and a dead silence fell over the room...
    That sucks! Most of my JTEs hate the textbooks too (though we also use some good ones). Do your teachers really like them or are they just too afraid to vent their opinions?
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    Now with 25% less sugar! Auburn's Avatar
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    It's hard to say whether they are just keeping quiet.

    They use them anyway, so whether or not they actually like them seems to be a moot point.

    I wonder who wrote the books, anyway.

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