I notice a lot of ALTS get to go on business trips. I don’t go to any except for the ALT meetings. What are the business trips about? How do ALTS get selected to go?
Answered by: Emily
There are various types of business trips, or shucchou (出張), on which an ALT can be summoned. Throughout the year, there are the main four ALT meetings in Mito: the Autumn, Winter, and Spring ALT Meetings plus the Skills Development Conference. During breaks (summer, winter, spring), the prefecture has a program called the “Eigo Otasuke Caravan” (英語お助けキャラバン), which allows schools to request the help of ALTs to assist in their extracurricular programs. In addition, at their own school’s request, ALTs may be asked to accompany students as coaches to different English-related events, such as debate competitions, speech contests, and interactive forums.
Extracurricular programs that utilize the Eigo Otasuke Caravan can cover a wide range of activities. These are usually put on by prefectural (senior high) schools, but municipalities (local boards of education, junior high, and elementary schools) can also request ALTs for their own purposes. As an example, ALTs can be asked to help coach students for speech contest; judge debate, speech, and interactive forum competitions; or help students during their English summer camp activities. Moreover, the prefecture may request that some prefectural ALTs help at the Prefectural Teacher Training Center to help new and current JTEs with team teaching techniques. Other programs that require the aid of native English speakers may also call upon ALTs to help.
Attendance to these business trips are based on a sign-up sheet, personal request, or availability. Some schools may ask their ALTs to ask other JETs to sign up for one of their programs. Other programs may request the prefecture for specific ALTs based on experience. In other cases, the prefecture may simply go down the list of available ALTs (sometimes based on our vacation plans submitted to the prefecture).
If you would like to participate in business trips aside from the ALT Meetings, please make sure that you are available for request and make sure to look out for schools and ALTs recruiting helpers for their programs. If you know of another ALT who is participating or has participated in another business trip and you are interested in taking part, please speak with them about their experience and maybe they can recommend you to the event organizers for future recruitment.