For many in Japan the coming of spring means graduation, break and the beginning of a brand new school year. As the primary Assistant Language Teacher at two elementary schools and two middle schools, I’m fortunate enough to see many of my students graduate from elementary school and “level up” their English speaking abilities with me the following year in middle school. However, it is somewhat sad to see my middle school students graduate on, as they will be moving to bigger cities in order to attend high school. Regardless of the matter it has been a great school year, and a great overall experience to get to know them for half of the year.
This year, I tried my best to implement a learning activity that would allow my middle school students (and 5th and 6th graders) the opportunity to advance their knowledge of English and culture through an activity called “Lenny’ Language Challenge”. The actual challenge took place at my middle schools, where students were encouraged to write letters and take notes about certain things in class. There was also a competition implemented where the middle schools would go up against one another in order to earn 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes. I’ll be announcing the three winners this Friday, at one of my middle schools, as all three are from the same one.
As people may (or may not) know, I’ve always been a perfectionist. Granted, I’ve come to the realization that perfection is an impossible goal to achieve, excellence is not. As an individual, regardless of my duties and/or job I always want to make things as effective and efficient as possible, therefore I always strive to improve the way things are in some form or fashion while also leaving my own individual stamp on it. I believe I did that this year with my language challenge, however there are evident faults that I see, so I want to adjust things in a manner that makes it even better than before. I’m still in the planning stages, but I plan on implementing a type of challenge for elementary and middle schoolers with potential rewards at the end of the month/school year. I’m creating mini booklets that I’m potentially going to call “My Language Passport”, where students can receive my stamp (“points”) by practicing their English with me after/in-between classes. At the middle school level, I believe I’ll reward the kids with stickers, whereas, for the middle schoolers – pencils, erasers and other minor school supplies with a larger prize at the end of the year.
To be quite honest, I’m really excited about the upcoming year, but I’m also curious to see the changes to occur at school, as many of the teachers may be transferred and new teachers will be brought in. I know for sure that one of my JTEs is retiring (once you turn 60 in Japan, you’re practically forced into retirement) which means I’ll be getting a new English teacher that I’ll have to work with.
Other than that, I need to start preparing my plans for class tomorrow. Until next time!