Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Support meeting '04

Yesterday was the annual ALT support meeting for those of us living in the far west of Tokushima-ken (prefecture). I think the main purpose of these meetings is to allow the first years a more official setting to ask questions that may have arisen in their first few months in this job, but it's also a good opportunity for more recontractors to do the same. I enjoy these meetings, it lets me see how good my own position is, and what might be done to improve it. It also brings to mind things I may not normally think about.

I had a good chat with another ALT (who shall remain nameless just in case) . He and I are in the same position as regards having JTEs who couldn't give a damn about the JET Programme, and who regard us as nothing more than a bit of comic relief for the kids. It's a hugely frustrating situation to be in. It's demeaning, and doesn't allow the Programme as a whole to realise it's full potential. He and I are of the opinion that both ALTs and JTEs need to be given more formal training in the practice of team teaching, in order to utilise the opportunities it provides as much as possible. At the moment, so many ALTs are sitting idle at their desks because they believe they have nothing to do. It's a waste of their time, and their Board of Education's money. If ALTs and JTEs were more clued up about what an ALT can do to help the kids, well, things would be much different, and I'm sure ALTs would have a better reputation. I don't know, I don't think I worded that very eloquently. Every situation is different. The man who invented that phrase should be taken out and shot.

Today, tomorrow and Friday are test days. This means ALL my classes have been cancelled. In the spirit of the meeting yesterday, I offered my services to Tamezane-sensei, saying I'd be more than happy to supervise and/or mark tests. She said it was ok, I wasn't needed, but at least I offered. I would like to do something like that, but at the same time, I'd be worried I'd screw up (not having proper training in this sort of thing), and they really don't have time to show me the ropes. Sooooo, I get to work on my book all day! And tomorrow! And the next day! This is going to be the best book ever! I hope. I'm sure there'll be a post a couple of months down the line where I'm rueing the day I ever took the job on. But I won't mean it. I'm having fun with it, and it's going to benefit so many ALTs, the pros far outweigh the cons.

I should be off. Hope everyone is well.

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