I’m about to finish my first week of training. I’ve been observing the current teacher, Mark (also our neighbor until January 11). The hours are better than I originally thought. I’d put up my full schedule, but I left it downstairs in the school. Basically, I’m working 28 hours a week and making ~$2500 a month. Not bad. The school also pays for my train to & from their other school on Fridays.
The classes are also a bit different than I thought. There’s group and one-to-one for everyone from kindergarten to adults. There’s a lot of reading & dictation and repetition since students at the same English level are on about the same lesson. Hope that makes sense.
Kinder classes consist of songs & playing a flash card game with the kids. There’s also a coloring vocabulary activity. For elementary kids, it’s generally flash cards and reading & repeating from textbooks. They also have workbook where they transcribe a passage we read earlier. There’s always 5 minutes at the end of class for a game (UNO is very popular).
For junior high, it’s about the same but with longer passages & more difficult vocabulary. Then, depending on their level, the students have yet again more work (including advanced expressions & idioms) and a play they read. When they surpass it all, they get a custom program where they choose from a selection of books to study and transcribe short scenes from popular movies. They may also keep diaries.
Finally, adult classes vary by what the student/customer wants, though it seems free-form talk about their lives works best.
So far my most surprising students have been Dr. Terakado, a doctor by day & Italian opera singer by night who studied in Milwaukee for a year when he was 17. The other is Soichirou, an 8 year old studying high school level English. He’s especially cute and sometimes has difficulty with flash cards because he hasn’t learned the Japanese equivalent character (kanji) yet.
On the whole, the little kids are rambunctious and the elementary students like to waste time. The junior high have juku (cram school) in addition to regular school and us, so they’re always tired, serious, and quiet. Some sad, too, because you can tell they don’t want to be there. High school students I don’t know too well. I’ve only had one, Mai, so far, but she’s very talented.
I don’t actually start teaching until January 11, so that gives us time to see more of Oyama and the rest of Japan (we still haven’t decided what to do for Christmas). I only get an hour for dinner and I really need to be in about 10 minutes before class, so I really can’t go far for food. It’s unfortunate because, so far, I’ve really enjoyed trying out the restaurants around here.
Sorry if this post is a little scatter-brained. I really dislike talking about work once I’m home and relaxing. I actually wrote this while I was shadowing Mark earlier today. I’m also too tired to proofread this. Very bad, I know. I’m sorry.