Archive for November, 2011

Bad school – update

Posted: November 22, 2011 in Tadaoka


People in my town, people in surrounding towns and even people from far away know that Tadaoka Junior High School doesn’t have the best reputation. I know families that have moved out of Tadaoka just so that their children don’t have to go to Tadaoka JHS. My school’s Board of Education (BOE) doesn’t have that much money to spend on fixing the school up because they’re constantly repairing the damage. Broken windows – the glass is taped together because it’s too expensive to replace it. Things like burning toilet paper, putting toilet paper rolls in the toilet, making balls of wet toilet paper and then throwing them at people are also common events. 

Today a boy fell out of the window on the 1st floor (2nd floor if you’re American; 2階から落ちた). He is a bit of a bad boy, and I described this as “karma” to one of my teachers. He went to hospital, but looks like he’ll be alright. I’m not so sure if that’s a good thing or not – in any case I hope it stops him from being bad for a while. I also tried to stop one of the students from throwing wet balls of toilet paper, which seemed to anger him more, but I really hate it how they can get away with doing all these bad things without punishment. It’s especially times like these that I wish I was more fluent in the language so that I could fight my case, but instead I pretend that I can’t understand what they say.

Anyway, no damage except that my thumb nail was lifted up a bit, so that it bled underneath the nail bed. I really hate that because my thumb becomes useless due to weakness and pain.

This is of course not every student. The majority of students these days at my school are good… Well, they’re not in the “bad” category. For me, the ‘bad’ students are those that smoke at school, talk on their mobile phones, etc… I feel that the kids that wag school are better.




The long hours put in

Posted: November 10, 2011 in Tadaoka
Tags: , ,


Today I left school as I normally do, and then because there is a .. How should I call it.. A mini seminar held by a teacher in which they give a smock class lasting for about 20 minutes and afterwards, the other participating “students” (other teachers) give feedback about what they thought the good points were and what the improvable points were, I decided to come back to school just before 7pm. It lasted for just over an hour, and I’m glad I went because whilst I couldn’t voice any thoughts that I had (though I didn’t have any) I was able to listen to what the other teachers were saying and could think about how I could improve my own classes.

I usually think about explaining things as we go along in class, but a point they brought up was that if you explain what is happening in that class, and the desired outcome (in this case it was P.E. and we were practicing basketball skills where we would play a game at the end using the skills what we practiced) the students also can think about it and get at least a general overall understanding of what is going to happen.

I will try and go to more of these smock/ mini seminar lessons so that I may improve myself, my teaching methods and also hopefully the desired outcome.

Not only did I learn about this, but I went to school at about 7pm and about half the teachers were still there. Usually with other JET friends, we talk about how we can’t understand why the teachers go home at such a late time. Many of the reason’s include “looking busy” when they’re not really, sleeping, just fiddling around or doing unnecessary things during the day and then trying to finish their day’s work by the end of the day. As I was in the staff room, eating some inari as I was super hungry, I finally could understand the amount of work that teachers truly do, well, at my school anyway. I haven’t had to prepare that many classes of my own, but when I do, it does take a lot of time preparing, and I only teach each class of each grade once a week, so that’s 15 classes a week not including the handicapped learning classes I attend.

I looked around the staff room and the teachers are seriously trying their best to prepare around 4 classes for each class, so in total, about 20 classes. Not only that, but at Tadaoka Junior High School, many of the teachers don’t just teach 1 grade, they teach 2 grades which gives them even more classes. I don’t want to talk down about my fellow staff members anymore in regards to their work load and why they go home so late at night, every night. I will try not to complain as much about not having much free time, because the teachers at my school usually come to school on their days off to help out with the various club activities that happen on the weekends and public holidays, when those teachers could be at home spending quality time with their own children.

I’m an adult, but I’m still learning many things about life. I guess I am truly grateful for my time here in this small town and to learn and work with such great colleagues.