I work as an Assistant Language Teacher at a school here in Japan. For the most part, I adore the job. Of course it has its frustrating parts, but that’s for a later post, 😉 The new school year just started last week, so that meant I had to decide my new schedule. But there was a slight dilemma: Who should get the most “Al time”?
I am the only ALT at my school, so I have to decide which classes to visit each week. Every student needs to see me at least once. (that’s not me being needy, the Board of Education says so!) Last semester I saw the first graders twice a week and the other kids once a week. I actually took over for another ALT so my schedule was just handed to me. Over the course of 3+ months, I noticed that the first graders were the most excited about English, the 2nd graders were less excited, and the third graders were… apathetic to it all.
If you have spent time in Japan, you know that many Japanese adults are very hesitant, if not downright scared, to speak English. At school, I could literally see the transition from “YAAY let’s try to speak English” to “when is this class over?” as the kids go from first grade to third grade.
And so as I made my schedule, there was my dilemma: Who should I teach twice a week, the first graders or the third graders?
The first graders are young and impressionable, so if I make English fun and relevant to them, hopefully they could be more interested in learning for a longer time than usual. On the other hand, the third graders are closer to high school, where English is important. If I could make English fun for them, they might not go to high school uninterested and scared to practice. Hmm, what’s an ALT to do??
Stay tuned, I’ll post my decision later in the week. 🙂