Apple Country

Stories of rural life as an ALT in a northern Japanese fishing town.

Bow to your sensei!


I hope everyone got my Napoleon Dynamite reference.

Yesterday was my first day of proper teaching i.e. not just doing my self-introduction power point presentation and going through the terror of having them guess my age and thinking I’m 5 years older than I actually am, and that Lindsey is younger than me!!  They also think mum and dad look young and cool, so not sure what’s going on there.

I had a laugh when I gave the lesson plans I’d prepared to the English teachers, who returned 5 minutes later to ask me what the acronyms I’d written meant – TLW (the learner will) and DOTW (days of the week).  Their eyes widened with delight as I revealed the meaning, and they let out a lengthy “Ehhhhhh! Kakko-iiiii!” (“cool”) then went around the staff room with the lesson plan, whispering to the other teachers what I’d written, which led to another series of fascinated “ehhh!”s and “kakko-ii”s echoing around the room.  I was just being too lazy to write proper words but I’m glad they got something out of it!

The teaching itself went pretty well for my first day of actually standing up in front of a classroom and leading the whole lesson.  I have three lessons per day as there are only three classes in each school, so I didn’t find it too tiring.  Pictionary was a big hit with the first years, the second years didn’t really get my worksheet about ordering in a restaurant (I gave them too many options of things to say when ordering so it got a bit confusing) and I tried Simon Says on the third years which was a partial success…  But overall my first day could have gone a lot worse!  I also found it took a lot longer to do the activities than I had planned, but I made sure we got the main ones done at least.

Today it was the speech contest so I didn’t have to go to school, yaaay!  I watched all the kids from the West-Tsugaru region taking part, with some other ALTs so that was fun.  Three of my kids got placed 2nd or 3rd in their sub-categories, so that was a nice moment, even if they didn’t get through to the next round.  We got ice cream after, and I tried soy sauce flavour, which thankfully didn’t taste too much like soy sauce.

This evening I’m going with my neighbour to help at an Eikaiwa (English conversation class).  She said it’s really just a group of ladies who use it as an excuse to gossip so it could be a laugh!  I will leave you with this photo I took on my way home from calligraphy class on Monday.  Next time I will take one from Senjojiki, where there’s an awesome jagged rock jutting out of the water which makes the sunset look even more fantastic.



2 thoughts on “Bow to your sensei!

  1. Oh been there with the ‘best laid plans’ of a lesson! Easy to get carried away with content. The learnt trick is to have a simple plan (learning target) and have an extension ready should lesson time allow. Great Job though Ellen and glad it is all going well with you. Lots of love x

    • Yeah I’ve found I often over-estimate their English ability or they’re just having too much fun to stop! Better than running out of things to do I suppose! xx

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