Pirates game – elementary school lesson

April 17, 2009

Since the start of April I’ve been visiting elementary schools a few times a week. A definite change to my school life routine. For our first lesson I am introducing the kids to a game I used to play as a child which went down really well at the last elementary school I taught at.

It’s based on the game Port and Starboard that I used to play when I was younger. This time round I am calling it the Pirates Game. You can read more details on my ALT Lessons blog.

So far the kids are enjoying running about like crazy as we “learn English”. Going to a variety of schools has definitely spiced up my life working as an ALT in Susono.

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Mobile ALT

April 16, 2009

My school life has changed since the beginning of the new school year at the start of April.

Instead of being at one school almost all the time, I now visit four different schools. When I started as an ALT in Susono I was based at only one school. Then graduated to occassionally visiting an elementary school. Now I’m all over the place.

Initially I was reluctant to leave nishi junior high school. It is so close to my apartment and the teachers were great. However as I had been there for four years I thought trying something different would spice up my ALT lifestyle.

Going to four schools means I get to meet loads of different teachers and students too. Today I was teaching a 5th grade elementary kid who I used to teach at nursery school. Another reminder of just how long I have been living in Susono!

So far I am enjoying my new role as a mobile ALT.


Entrance ceremony

April 11, 2009

The Susono city junior high and elementary schools had their entrance ceremonies – 入学式 (にゅうがくしき) (nyu gaku shiki) – last Monday. This was the first day of school for the Susono ALTs.

The entrance ceremony is much more formal than my recollection of starting school in the UK. They decorate the school with flowers and parents come to watch in suits and kimonos!

As part of the ceremony, existing students welcome the new pupils by singing them a song. Children in Japan seem much more into singing than me and my friends when I was a child.

There is also a speech from the headmaster and PTA chairperson as well as a host of VIPs, e.g. community leaders, someone from the Board of Education, police officers, etc. who come to witness the ceremony. My less than perfect Japanese may have contributed to my understanding of the headmaster’s speech at one of my schools. I thought he said that parents should never take their eyes off their children because of the dangerous times we live in, including the scurge of drugs and violence.

Susono is possibly the safest place I have lived in my whole life!

Although possibly he was merely trying to encourage parents to take an active role in their kids lives?

On this first day fo school, the teachers are treated toa luxury Japanese bento. As there were extra, I got one for my dinner too! Just one of the perks of ALT school life!


The new school year – part 1

April 3, 2009

Some of the ALTs in Susono go back to school a day or two before term officially starts. Today was 親任式 (しんにんしき) (shin nin shiki) – the new staff ceremony.

Along with Japanese teachers, office ladies and tea ladies, the Susono ALTs were also in attendance. For those of us at new schools we did a short self introductory speech in front of the 2nd and 3rd grade students. It’s always funny when you visit a “new” school as an ALT because the students get really excited about meeting a new foreigner!

After the ceremony we prepared for the entrance ceremony where we will welcome the new 1st years to school.

The Susono ALTs are back to work.