Most of you probably don’t know this but I actually got a part time job teaching english to elementary school kids in Japan. The school that I work for is called “Toshin Ego Kodomo Juku”, which is the name of the company “Toshin” and then “English Cram School for Kids”. I was hired a few weeks before I left for Singapore and Thailand and made sure to complete the training before I went on vacation. I’m really happy that I was able to take such a nice vacation because it’s only been my second full week of classes and boy am I tired!
This past week alone I had 8 classes! And the week before I had 5! Next week I believe I will have another 8 classes – even though my “regular” class load is only 6 classes a week I keep volunteering for substitute classes and trials because, since I really don’t have anything better to do with my life, I might as well get a little extra cash and earn the experience.
For my particular company (it’s a very large company) I follow a set weekly schedule and just have to memorize the lesson plans. Thankfully I only have 3 different grade levels, which means that I am able to teach the same lesson more than once a week – it’d be really stressful to try and memorize 6 or 8 different lesson plans every week. The way that the classes are run is very straightforward. I have an assistant (who’s always Japanese and speaks fluent English) to help me with the kids and I basically will teach a little and then have the kids play a game (or do an activity like reading or writing) before teaching some more. The company is a partner with Sesame Street so all of the videos and other media things all use Sesame Street characters and videos to help reinforce the english lessons.
It’s a lot of fun! But boy do those kids wear me out! And I only usually have 4 of them per class – I can’t imagine how an elementary school teacher survives with a whole classroom of kids everyday. To me that sounds more difficult than being a professor! Yeesh!
I think the best part of it is being able to interact with Japanese kids so much. Now admittedly I’ve been in the country for 6 months and have become accustomed to Asians but for the record, Japanese kids are the cutest kids. They are so much more adorable than American children (at least for me they are). Sometimes I wish I could just hug all of my students the whole lesson but I don’t think they’d let me keep my job if I did that so I do my best to restrain myself! Here are some pictures from the “Easter Party” that I had to lead this past Friday. (Don’t ask me why they had an Easter party weeks before the actual Easter…. it’s Japan.)
Hope you enjoyed this glance at what I’ve been up to!
Hugs from Tokyo,
– Elena Sensei