JET Murakami


Today I did my last of my preliminary visits to my five schools.  I handed out most of the Alaska gifts that I brought, save the mead and calendars I brought for the principals at my middle school.  It’s going to be interesting working with different people in different settings.  Each school has a different atmosphere, and each supervising teacher has a different level of English, and approach to how to use me in the classroom.  This is particularly noticeable between my four elementary schools, between which I will spend about half of my time.  Three of them are large, from 200 to 400 kids, and one is small, with only 45.  The small one has the newest building, and is 50 feet from the ocean.  I will only visit there about once every month, the other elementaries about once every week or two.  The middle school is my base school, where I will be a little more than half the time.  Classes start Monday, although I will not give my first lesson until Tuesday.  I am anxious about what to include, particularly what sort of activity I should give to accompany my introductory lesson.  I want the students to be interested.  Thursday and Friday are free days, although I still get paid.  I got my first paycheck yesterday!  Sort of exciting.  I have enough money to go shopping for a car now.  If I were hardcore, I’d bike everyday, but not only would that be dangerous in the winter, it would just be a pain in the ass.  I’m gonna get a car.

Of my school visits, one conversation stands out.  At Murakami Minami Elementary, I was talking to Inoue-sensei, my supervisor at that school, and Kawamura-sensei after I had been given a tour of the school.  We were basically just BSing, and Inoue-sensei gave me his business card, or meishi.  I asked them if I should get some, since it’s one of those cultural stereotypes about Japan that I’ve always believed to be true.  But Kawamura-sensei insisted that most teachers do not have them.  Inoue then joked that all men had samurai topknots, and Kawamura replied “oh yeah, and we all carry swords too.”  I found that extremely funny, hearing Japanese cultural stereotypes challenged, and made fun of, by two ordinary Japanese elementary school teachers.

7 replies on “School”

Sean, I love reading your posts. I especially enjoyed the humor in challenging the cultural stereotypes with the Japanese teachers. How cool. I’m eager to hear what you decide to do in your first lessons. I know you’ll have the kids engaged. Kids love you, Sean and your students will love you, too, sensei! 🙂 Keep posting you’re fun to read.

You can buy a car?! Holy crap, JET is different from the Peace Corps…

Anyway, if I could offer just one piece of advice on teaching English it’s this: use songs, get them moving around, and K.I.S.S.

Actually, that’s three pieces of advice. Good luck, Horando-Sensei.

Sean–Great to hear from you (Cool Blog Man). I’m impressed with your decisions and the direction you’re taking in your life.

Maryann’s back at it in the classroom for the 17th year. Wow!

Kaleb starts kindergarten tomorrow, the 27th. He’s very excited. I’ll be working part time so I can pick him up.

Sorry we didn’t get to see you before you left for Japan. Maybe we’ll have to come see you there!

Have Fun Horando-Sensei. Sayonara!

Yeah, I really don’t WANT to get a car – I’d rather teach at just one school that I live across the street from, and take trains whenever I want to go anywhere, but it’s just not practical. My predecessor said that it would have been cheaper for him to lease a car for two years rather than have bought one, since when one leases, all of the insurance, registration, car tax, etc are all taken care of with the leasing company, so that the only things you have to worry about are the monthly payment and gas. I might do that, especially since it might be a cheaper up front cost.

Hey Sean,

Great blog. How you make the time, I’ll never know.

Back at it here at PHS. Year eight — unbelievable!

Great to see your reports from the Far East. You’re in the thick of it. I remember it well.

I’ll look forward to future installments. My life is pretty sedate now. Did manage to do some backpacking in the Arctic Refuge just before school recommenced. What a magical world that is.

I’ll write more another time. Dinner (missed lunch — again) and my bed call me. One thing I’m working on is our exchange visit to Hokkaido November 9 to 25.

Peace, paul

Seems like you’re working with some pretty cool people over there. You could be cool and get a scooter but I guess a car would be best. Don’t they have flying skateboards or giant robots to take to school over there? I could have sworn that was true.

They have scooters. But I want to drive in the winter, especially to onsens and ski resorts. A scooter would be impractical.

Also, the kids all mostly call me Shon-sensei. It’s actually a struggle to keep them from calling me Mr. Sean.

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