Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in Japan? NO? Well, regardless, I’d like to share a few pictures from my job, in case there’s anyone who WAS wondering…

Mike at his desk

Me at my desk at Takine Jr. High School (my primary school). I spend a lot of time here (usually a few hours every day), so I already feel kind of at home. Since everyone else is always so busy, I can’t very well play games or twittle my thumbs, so I usually end up translating whatever random memos end up on my desk. Note the general chaotic look and feel of the room–it’s about the same anywhere you go. Must be a cultural thing, I guess.

Mike teaching

Me and my friend Sato-sensei at Takine Jr. High School. I’m technically not a teacher (even though the kids call me sensei ); I’m an “English Instructional Helper” (rough translation from the Japanese). Basically, I’m like a professional TA, so all of my classes are co-taught. Usualy my role is pretty limited, but there’s a chance that I may be able to assume more responsibility as I gather more experience and prove myself to be reliable (I hope).

Mike teaching 2

Me observing students at Takine Jr. High School. I do a fair amount of this, too. It would freak me out if I were them: here’s this random 6 foot-tall foreigner peering over my shoulders as I’m trying to concentrate on writing something in a language I don’t understand. But hey, they pay me to do this, so I’ll keep on doing it. It’s kind of a power trip anyway…

Mike teaching 3

Me teaching at Sugaya Elementary School. Every Friday I teach at a local elementary school. I usually have more control of the class (i.e. I’m actually the one doing the teaching), and the kids tend to be more animated than Jr. High students, so it’s a very different experience. But the kids are great, either way. (Note: the major-leage sports federations on the blackboard were at the request of the teacher, who apparently is a big fan of American sports.)

Mike & shougakou kids

Last but not least, me and some of the kids from Sugaya Elementary School. We had a blast during recess time; we ran around like crazy, played dodge ball, swung on the swings, climbed, talked, and ran some more. I was totally sweaty afterwards, but it was worth it!

Special thanks to Nate Tucker (my boss) who took all these pictures. You rock, Iatollah!

-Mike