Ask Ibaraki JET PAs #001

Question:

More often than not, my classes get cancelled. My teachers don’t usually suggest other things to work on, which leaves me with a lot of time to myself which can get really boring. What should I do?

Answer:

Answered by: Albert David

There are a few ways about this question. First is to think about what you have been doing so far. Ask yourself, “What have I tried? What have I not tried?”

Second is to speak with your supervisor directly and let them know your situation. Let them know that your classes often get cancelled, and ask them if there is anything that you could do in between classes or during your down time. As an ALT, you could point out that you are there to help them with any team-teaching-related duties. They may forget that as an assistant, you should be given specific tasks and responsibilities. It is very important to communicate with your supervisor and your JTEs whether it is about classes or even about your daily life.

Third is to speak with the other teachers. They may have things that they also need help with, or you might find yourself diving into a very interesting conversation. Whether or not you speak enough Japanese or they speak enough English, try your best to initiate the conversation or offer some help.

Fourth, try a few tips from the Ibaraki Orientation Handbook. You can study Japanese, read up on team teaching and activity ideas, write an article for IbaraKey or iAJET Gazette, or sign up and prepare for your own World Culture Seminar presentation.

There are definitely more things you can do to fill your time. Some ALTs help with grading while others put together their own English boards. You can also familiarize yourself with the school (e.g., walk around, visit the library, etc.) or with the textbooks. If you’ve found your own solution, what are some things that have filled your time at school?

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