So tsuyu 梅雨 (rainy season) has come and gone and natsu 夏 (summer) is upon us in Japan.
Along with it came the beginning of Natsuyasumi 夏休み (Summer Holidays), now you be mistaken to think ‘oh that awesome, as a teacher you don’t have to work for a couple months’
NO JUST NO!
For both students and teachers, summer holidays mean something very different than their western counterpart.
This is in the same vein of thinking of how the Japanese seem to love to work 4 hours of overtime everyday and work the weekends. Thus in Japan all teachers and most students attend school on a daily basis even during summer break! At my JHS which students come to school for half days either in the morning or afternoon to train with their respective clubs. The teachers tend to spend half a day supervising club activities and the other half siting in front of their computers repetitively fanning themselves and mumbling atsu atsu (its hot), I presume this is what they regard as junbi 準備 (preparation time).
Fortunately as the token gaijin I’m pretty much exempt from working such ridiculous hours if I don’t want too.
That said I regard the opportunity to watch my students sports club tournaments on a Saturday more of a perk of the job than a chore.
However it does mean that during the summer there are several thousand ALTs across Japan, that find themselves sitting at work awkwardly twiddling their fingers for a couple months with nothing to do.
Now I think I’m particularly fortunate, as I work at a school where I can do pretty much anything I want. No matter how crazy they are my ideas are, they have yet to be shot down! My OTEs (other teachers of english) have been nothing but amazing at accommodating my imagination, which has a tendency to run wild at times.
In addition as one of my OTEs is in charge of the kendo club I have been watching them practice often and training with the ichi-nen sei on a daily basis. God I now understand how Japanese people are so skinny, these kids do like intense workouts for 4 hours a day on the school holidays!
It’s actually really fun training with the kids as it gives me a chance to interact with them in a situation were we are equals instead of sensei 先生 (teacher) and chuugakusei 中学生 (student).
Last week I spent had the week designing Halloween lessons and then 2 days making this epic Australian money poster.
This week I’v shifted my ambitions to claiming some wall space in one of the hallways to make an ‘English wall’, to aid in such a pursuit I have recruited half the members of the kendo club to aid me in some arts and craft! Alas after raiding the stationary room I have been teaching aboriginal dot art, having students create me a giant collage in the shape of Australia and decorating didgeridoo’s.
Bwahahaha my own personal army of Japanese children (who are also all ni-dan 二段 at kendo), the first step to my goals of global conquest and pretty much what I always wanted ＼(^o^)／
Still at the end of the day I’m not complaining, I am rather enjoying all the free time that has been thrust upon me after having such a busy first 2 months.
If anything it has endowed me will all the time I could ever want to read, study, play on my phone and get to know my students （＾＿＾）☆