Elementary Dynamics

English teaching in elementary school here is focused mainly on the last two years: fifth and sixth grade. Intensive English learning and testing doesn’t really kick off until students move up to junior high school, where they have two English classes, one taught by their Japanese English teacher and one with an ALT. This is set to…

Sports Day Olympic Ceremony Style

When I returned to school after the summer break (way back in September ’16, with the worst of the summer heat abated, thank goodness), I found that my number of lessons had been cut in half at what was normally my busiest school. It turned out that this was to make time for the sports day preparations….

A Day in the Life: Mountain School 2

A while back I had a particularly eventful lunchtime at my second mountain school which I thought earned the time to type, which I did, and then promptly forgot to edit and post. Shocking. I get assigned to various classes for lunch time, to share around the ‘foreigner experience’ and to practice English in an informal…

Good Days

There are some days when teaching elementary here is a struggle, like most jobs really. It can be hard to be motivated for the day, students can be difficult, lunch can sometimes be superbly unappealing…the list goes on. There are so many factors making the difference between a bad, mediocre or good day. Today was a good…

T-Shirt Tuesday

The strange messages that manage to find their way onto the kids’ T-shirts bring me no end of entertainment. Most lessons involve trying not to laugh at, or trying to work out what the person who chose the weird combination of words was aiming for. Most of them look like a dictionary has been sick…

Non-Apology of a Terrible Role Model

I’ve apologised a few times for not updating regularly, so I’ve found a solution. I’m going to try and do more regular little snippet posts in-between my longer ones from now on. So, to start: MS2: The other day I was assigned to eat lunch with the 1st graders. We were given sweet potato mochi (pictured) for dessert…

An Ode To How Much I Dislike Being Cooked Alive In My Own Clothes

For my first few weeks of teaching the very last of the spring weather held fair, but as the summer holidays (natsuyasumi) drew near, the summer heat hit with a fury. Even during my 7am commute the temperature was borderline unbearable, just getting to the station made me feel like I’d wandered into a sauna fully clothed….

Gifu City

I am cringing over how old these drafted posts are. My bad, please forgive. My first weekend excursion took me to Gifu City with Nelson and Mai. We took our time getting there; after an exhausting week and the summer heat, on top of which Mai was fasting for Ramadan, we were in no rush!…

Belated Birthday

Five months after the fact, my 25th birthday fell on my second week here (I have so many drafted posts and I am finally working through them, sorry!). Being a school day (a first-day-at-that-school day) and a long one, it didn’t feel much like a birthday – although that is probably more to do with how much…

Thrown to the (Little) Lions

So, several months later and about to start my second term, I’m finally getting round to telling you about the start of my first term at school. With so many schools I had three days of ‘first days’ in one week (with two of my mountain schools on the second). For these days my trainer (C-san)…

Meeting the Rabble

I was back in the office the day after the move (Saturday), leaving my apartment in the barely-moved-in shambles you might expect (or just expect anyway if you know me). All the Seto ALTs had been called in for a refresher training day, as we were mid-way through term, which gave me the perfect chance to…