Here are five tips that ALT Rebecca Lee compiled that helped her enjoy school life while in Japan on the JET Program. What tips do you have? Shizuoka AJET would love to hear from you, too!
Learn some basic Japanese: Students are really shy, and they feel pressured knowing they could only speak in English in front of you. Once my students found out I could speak some Japanese, they were more willing to come up to me and start a small conversation in English.
Join students during lunch, cleaning, club activity, or even class: This will give you more opportunities to spend more time with your students and allow you to get to know them better. Believe it or not, students LOVE to spend time with you outside of class English class. Students are always happy to see you participate in their daily activities, and they are very good at taking care of you. I joined the cooking club students once, and the students were so excited they made a broadcast announcement about it.
Create an English bulletin board or English newspaper: This gives you another opportunity to communicate and share interesting topics you couldn’t share in class with your students. My students loved my weekly riddles and quizzes. It’s a good break for them away from regular textbook English.
Create small events: Since not everyone belongs to the English club, this will give you and your students opportunities to do something fun together. I only teach the international course at my school, which only has 3 homerooms. The general course students taught by the other ALT at my school rarely talked to me. However, after I created a Christmas event which included general course students, some of the general course students started to talk to me in the hallway.
Just smile and have fun: When you allow your students to have fun, you will have fun. When you have fun, your students will have fun. So let’s have fun!