Ask Ibaraki JET PAs #010

Question:

My students ask me to “hang out” after school. What should I do?

Answer:

Answered by: Emily

As an ALT, it can sometimes be difficult to negotiate the boundary between “teacher” and “friend” with students.Some of the best ALTs are also the most approachable and friendly, and it’s not uncommon for some students, especially those in English club, to get to know you fairly well. It’s great to get to know your students well and take an interest in their lives. Going to events outside of school, such as cheering on a sports team or attending a club performance, can enhance your experience as an ALT and help improve your relationship with students in the classroom.

However, it’s also important to know how to draw the line when you need to. If a student asks to see you socially outside of school, it’s okay to tell them honestly that, even if you’d like to, students and teachers can’t hang out together outside of school. You can say that it’s “against the rules,” or use whatever language will communicate your point effectively but gently. Most students will understand, once you remind them, that you’re bound by the same rules Japanese teachers and students are, and that the rule is not something you control.

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