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Category: English teaching

Exchange

Exchange

For the past twenty years or so, the city in which I work has been running an exchange programme with its twin town (or ‘sister city’, as they prefer to say here) in the States, so for much of last week I had the chance to act as interpreter, when a group of ten students and two teachers came for a whirlwind tour of Ibaraki. Not that they were short of interpreters: at the first-night welcome party there were four…

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Lines

Lines

Some of my colleagues ask the first and second graders to fill a page of their English notebooks every day, usually with words or phrases they have recently been studying. Since the teachers don’t have enough time for marking and the students don’t have enough time for additional homework, the benefits are, to say the least, questionable. Ploughing through a mountain of beginner’s English every morning does occasionally throw up some oddities, though: one student filled five pages of his…

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Baseball club 野球部

Baseball club 野球部

Just because the summer holidays have already started doesn’t mean the students stop coming to school, so for the couple of weeks’ work I am obliged to do between now and the end of August, I have decided to join in with the various club activities that will be occupying them during their supposed time off. First up was baseball, which is renowned for attracting pushy parents who complain if they don’t think their child is being coached to the…

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End of an era

End of an era

I had intended to work at the friendly, rural junior high school and friendly, rural elementary school for another couple of years, but just before Christmas a friend of mine made me a job offer I couldn’t refuse, and as of this month I shall be working at not one but five friendly, rural junior high schools in the next town (and to Mrs M’s delight, earning an extra few thousand yen into the bargain). So before I forget what…

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Soba-uchi 蕎麦打ち

Soba-uchi 蕎麦打ち

The kocho-sensei at my junior high school was originally a science teacher, and under his guidance, the four special needs students do more gardening and botany-based activities than anything on their official timetable. A few weeks before Christmas I joined them in the school allotment to help harvest the soba (蕎麦 / buckwheat) crop, which was then left to dry in the sun. A few days later the soba seeds, which are wrapped in shiny black husks, were separated out…

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Elementary school / 小学校

Elementary school / 小学校

My schedule at junior high school is fairly light, and even when I’m in a classroom, it’s merely as an assistant (I only just learnt the Japanese word for ALT, and no wonder, as it’s the rather ungainly gaikokugo-shidoh-joshu / 外国語指導助手). Every Wednesday, however, I work at a nearby elementary school, where despite my job title being the same, I effectively take on sole responsibility for planning and teaching four lessons during the course of the day. By the time…

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Ceremonials

Ceremonials

I have worn the one and only suit that I possess more times in the last fortnight than in the preceding five years, because if there’s one thing the Japanese love, it’s formality. First off there was my job interview, which as well as being formal, was, so to speak, a formality. Providing I didn’t turn up wearing ripped jeans, chugging on a can of beer and swearing like a trooper, I was bound to get the job, although having…

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Soccer club サッカー部

Soccer club サッカー部

It was pouring with rain until about 10 o’clock last Thursday morning, so instead of doing three and a half hours of soccer club, I did an hour and a half. In that hour and a half, though, I sweated off at least a couple of kilos, pulled a muscle in my leg, felt like I was about to have a heart attack, did a spot of gardening and didn’t kick a single football. We started off, as the soccer…

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