The Current Situation

I would like to be writing a lot more than I am, but at the moment that’s an impossibility. My schedule has me working grades one through six at five elementary schools, each with their own needs and requests, Monday through Friday. Every day I teach at least four classes, though five is the norm and six isn’t uncommon. There are only six periods in any school day. Needless to say, I’m somewhat busy. This is about double the normal load for an ALT, but I don’t want that to seem like I’m complaining. This is wholly manageable, and elementary schools are fairly low pressure. It just takes time.

This week about an hour or so of my evenings are taken up with lesson planning. I would like to recycle the same lessons from each grade from school to school, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes the schools don’t want the same lessons, or the students aren’t at the same level. For example, one of my elementary schools has three fifth grade classes of twenty five students. Another one of my elementary schools has only one fifth grade class with only three students. I can’t use the same games and lesson plans as the classrooms dynamics are completely different. This first week is crucial in assessing the needs of each classroom as I meet the students for the first time. Once I have a better grasp of that, I can plan ahead for the rest of the year.

This Saturday is an open house for all of my elementary schools, though I’ll only be attending one (I can only imagine trying to attend all of them without my head exploding.) As a result I have Monday off, and I plan on spending most of it making lesson plans for all grades at all schools for the next three months. In some cases I’ll be able to recycle lessons, in others I will have to make new ones. But if I do it all at once I should be able to save myself a lot of time and be more prepared for the coming weeks.

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3 responses

  1. Amy

    Welcome to the world of teaching. Imagine doing that & taking classes to get credentialed?

    April 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm

  2. How much help is your JTE? Are you free to lesson plan alone, or is most co-planned with the JTE?
    –I’m an interested future (maybe) ALT šŸ™‚

    Thanks

    April 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    • Menzie

      I teach elementary schools, so there isn’t a JTE. There is a Home Room Teacher (or HRT) but they speak limited to no English. The format isn’t for team teaching either, rather I lead the class and the HRT is essentially star pupil. They’ll help with translation where available, and when I have to I’ll break out a little Japanese (I try to keep it all English though.) So to answer your question, the teachers are some help, but there’s a limit to what they can do.

      To answer your second question, for 1st to 4th grades the schools give me broad overview of what they want taught over the course of several weeks and I’m free to build the curriculum as I see fit. For 5th and 6th grades the Ministry of Education requires that we use Eigo Note as our text book, so my lessons revolve around that.

      If you were to teach middle schools, which is most common, you would teach alongside a JTE who would lead the class and you would assist. The curriculum is designed by the school in advance (some times almost as much as a year beforehand) and followed fairly closely.

      April 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm

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