(I had a special request to do a blog on what my daily life is like, so here it is!)
*Note: ALT=Assistant Language Teacher (aka me), JTE=Japanese Teacher of English
7:00a.m. Wake-up, get ready
7:30a.m. Skype calls and webcam to friends/family back home
8:15/8:30a.m. Arrive at junior high school teacher’s room
8:30a.m.-2:30p.m. Grade/correct homework, discuss lesson plans with JTEs, have nothing to do, read for pleasure, go to three or four classes.
• Greetings (JTE & ALT)
• Warm-up (usually asking the questions like “What day is it?” “What’s the date?” “What’s the weather today?” or questions relating to a new grammar point like “What’s your favorite ~~?” “What will you do after school?” etc) (JTE & ALT)
• Introduce the day’s aim (JTE)
• Review previous class’ vocabularly/grammar (JTE & ALT)
• Introduce new grammar or reading (this will often be with a skit, story, picture cards, etc) (JTE & ALT)
• Students practice the reading/grammar/vocabulary (JTE facilitates, ALT usually pronounces words/readings, checks students’ pronunciation, etc.)
• Activity (speed reading/partner skits/game/worksheet/etc) (JTE & ALT)
• Goodbyes (JTE & ALT)
→ This is a very barebones structure of what we actually do, as classes definitely vary depending on the JTE, the grade level, the lesson, and amount of preparation time.
Elementary and Junior High students all eat school-provided lunch, and therefore, so do the teachers. (It’s a cheap way to make sure you get at least one balanced meal a day!) Most schools don’t have a cafeteria, so students serve each other and eat in the classrooms. As for the teachers, one of the office ladies prepares trays for all the staff. The meals vary by day of the week (Monday is bread day, Wednesday is noodle day, the rest are rice days!), but usually include soup (which they claim is different every day… but I swear it’s just slight variations of miso every time), a box of rice, fish (sometimes pork) – usually battered/fried, a vegetable “medley” (slightly overcooked mix of vegetables that always includes mushrooms, carrots and what I think is okra), some sort of fruit/yogurt/dessert, and a carton of whole milk. I’ve learned that is usually way too much food for me, and I don’t really like to eat soup everyday (it gets boring), so I usually don’t take the soup. I also ditch the milk because whole milk makes me sick. Some days the food is pretty yucky, but then some days it’s great. My favorite days are when they spice things up and we get a Chinese style meal (like chow mein looking stuff or fried rice), or instead of soup we have curry, or noodle day turns out to be a plate of spaghetti instead of udon. One day we had “roll your own sushi” day, which was particularly fantastic. Anyway, as far as I can tell, students and teachers both like the lunches.
2:30-4:30p.m. Classes are usually over for the day. Students clean the school (while cool, pop music plays over the intercom) and head off to their respective club activities. My teachers’ room is right near the band room, so that means the last hours of work are usually contain brass band background music.
4:30p.m. Go home, have a snack, catch up with emails, etc.
7:00-9:00p.m. Evening activity (karate class, dance class, dinner with friends, eikaiwa)
9:00-11:30p.m. Wind-down, prepare things for the next day, go to bed.