Feb 8

Adventures of a Stealth Gaijin: “E is for Elementary School” by Ann Chow

Adventures of a Stealth Gaijin

By Ann Chow (ALT, Hyogo-ken, 2007-2009), a New York City-based JET alum currently seeking copy editing/proofreading/production editing jobs in news or book publishing.  Email jetwit [at] jetwit.com if you would like to get in touch with her.

E is for Elementary School

E is for elementary school.

Elementary school in Japan is for students between the ages of 6-12, and they are easily spotted by the backpacks, called randoseru, that they carry. Sometimes, they wear sailor uniforms. Sometimes, they don’t. My students didn’t.

When I first arrived in Japan, the BoE I worked for told me I would be working at 2 junior high schools and 3 elementary schools. It was pretty standard for the ALTs working in my town, and I had no complaints except that one of my elementary schools was clear across town, 35 minutes or so by bike, and I wasn’t the ALT who lived closest to it.

Sometime in December of my first year there, I was told I would have to visit another elementary school. There was already another ALT who visited, but the teachers wanted extra lessons, so they added me on to the roster. On my first visit to that school, I was running late because I realized the main entrance to the school wasn’t on the main road, but on a back street behind the sports field and a construction site for new housing. It really didn’t help that they were Read More

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