Highlights: I still have a while before my contract ends, but I have many highlights already. One of my highlights at work was when I was able to see the positive effect the reward system I implemented had on my students. It felt really good that I was able to make my students being active in class and being excited to learn English.
Outside of work, one of my highlights is definitely when I was invited to join an enkai, or office party, at a karaoke bar with the other teachers. When I first started working at that school, many of the teachers were too shy to talk to me and I only ever talked to the English teachers. But now the other teachers like me enough to invite me to parties and I was so happy to be asked to spend time with them outside of work and just have fun. Especially at karaoke, my favorite pastime of all time!
Morning: I have three schools I teach at every week, so my mornings can vary a bit. But typically I wake up around 7 and I have time to watch the news, eat breakfast and get ready before I leave my house, which is usually around 8 o’clock. I always ride my bicycle to school; my base school is less than 20 minutes away from my house by bike. The morning meeting starts at 8:25 at my base school, then there is homeroom and first period starts at 8:45. During homeroom I make sure I have all the necessary handouts and materials for class and I usually like to go to the classroom early so I can be there to greet the students when they enter.
Afternoon: I have about four classes to teach every day, sometimes they are one after another but sometimes I have a period free between classes where I can prepare lesson plans at my desk in the teacher’s room. I teach with a Japanese teacher in every class, though I am usually the one in charge of leading the classes and the Japanese teachers are my support. At my base school there are about 18 students in each class. I often eat lunch in the school cafeteria and if I’m lucky I might have a small conversation in English with one or two eager students. After school I have English club where I’m in charge of coming up with fun English activities for the members to enjoy.
Evening: Once a week I have Japanese class with many other foreigners living in my city, both JETs and non-JETs. Once a week I also volunteer to teach English at a community center in my neighborhood after school. Other days I’m free to stay at school to join club activities or work on lesson plans. Occasionally, I visit the bouldering gym in my neighborhood to work on my rock climbing skills. Otherwise, I go home and watch TV or go out to eat at a local restaurant. On Friday nights and weekends of course it’s possible to hang out with other JETs living near me.