Today I taught my first day at the Central Daycare in town. I've taught at the two other kindergartens in town, but this one is completely different. I'm on my own with about thirty children under the age of six (okay, there are about three other adults around to assist, but none of them speak any English, and my Japanese is limited at best). The idea is to teach them some English and have some fun for a half hour. It is the largest and youngest group I have ever taught, and I didn't really have any idea how many students I would be teaching or for how long until I got there.
Okay, I did have a lot of fun. After a super abbreviated self introduction, I had the kids play some games. Duck Duck Goose may not be the most educational game ever played, but the kids had fun, once they figured out what the crazy new teacher was trying to get them to do. They must have had a good time, because some of the older kids were asking if I could stay and play some more games with them!
(Side note: my classroom Japanese is improving a lot faster than my conversational Japanese. If only more people would talk to me about playing tag at the office!)
The rest of the day I spent going through the mass of old teaching materials under my desk at the BOE. I found some really useful things like stickers and stamps and basic flashcards, and some seriously random stuff. Note to other ALTs: if you leave really unusual teaching materials for your predecessor, you should give some idea of what you used them for.
I also visited the Junior High School in the afternoon to record some listening tests. I played the role of Aki, who wants to be an English teacher. Let's enjoy studying English!
I also became a hero to my JTE and several of my students for finding a karaoke version of the Backstreet Boys classic: "I want it that way". Domo arigato gouzaimasu to Nick, my Bittorrent sensei. If you don't know the song, consider yourself lucky. It is one of the worst earworms (and a terrible song) and I'm sure by the time the English competition they are singing it for rolls around I will have it permanently lodged in my brain.
With that incredible feat out of the way, I was asked to prepare a report on Japanese students, Japanese English classes and how they compare to foreign language education in Canada. For tomorrow. Because having been teaching here for over a month I am now an expert on foreign language education in Japan and abroad. Especially with my extensive (aka nonexistent) foreign language instruction experience prior to this.