School days, school days

6 Sep

While I’ve been teaching lessons in middle school for more than a week now, yesterday was my first day of elementary school classes.  I had been dreading the day due to horror stories about homeroom teachers who didn’t do anything and let the students run wild on the ALT, but actually, it was fine! While I would have liked it if some of the homeroom teachers were a little more involved, one thing they did mostly do was discipline; making the students quiet down or controlling the ones who got wild.  Since that’s my absolute least favourite part of teaching, I was glad that that was taken care of.  Actually, since teaching English in elementary school involves a lot of games (the goal of the government is to make English fun and accessible for the kids, though I don’t know how much they’re succeeding) and it was somewhat like teaching dance, so it felt surprisingly natural to me.  I think I’m fairly decent at enunciating and speaking in a loud and clear voice, and it seemed like the kids liked me well enough and understood my class. Certainly, some teachers were more involved in the class than others, and some classes were more engaged or well behaved than others, but all in all, I felt like it was a successful first day!

I also had lunch with the fourth graders.  Luckily for me, I get to eat lunch at my desk at middle school, but at elementary school, to make kids more enthused about internationalism and allow them to learn about non-Japanese people, ALTs are encouraged if not required to eat lunch with the children.  Apparently, at my elementary school, I have a rotation schedule, and yesterday, I was to eat lunch with the 4th graders.  While I had been dreading the kids under ten, I found that the 4th graders were actually the idea class– they were enthusiastic without being too out of control, and didn’t sit and stare at me without interacting like some of the older kids.  And at lunch, they were eager to ask me questions about America and were surprised when I could converse with them in Japanese.  They were actually really cute (this is coming from someone who isn’t really a “kid person”) and I had a great time answering their questions and teaching them new things.  They were amazed that hanbagu and onigiri (Japanese rice balls with nori or dried seaweed on the outside, a common food for meals or snacks) weren’t readily available in America, and were surprised when I said trains were much nicer, faster, and cheaper in Japan.  I’m looking forward to chatting with them again.

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2 Responses to “School days, school days”

  1. suzuki September 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    いよいよ本格的に仕事が始まりましたね。
    学生との給食が楽しくてよかったですね!!

    • jetsetjoshu September 13, 2012 at 1:10 am #

      アメリカの州立学校と比べて日本の給食は本当に美味しいと思います。楽しんでいます!

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