Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lots of prep time during school.

Life at work is pretty boring for the most of the time. The teaching part is the best but I spend about 60-80 percent of my time sitting in the office. I’m really getting worn out every day, not from teaching but rather from sitting quietly at my desk. I’d talk to the other teachers but they have more classes and are usually a little too busy to talk or my lack of Japanese ability prevents me from having interesting advanced conversations with them.
I quickly run out of things to do during my prep periods. Usually they are back to back and on Wednesday I have five before I even get to have my only class of the day. I try to stay busy by working on my lesson plan layouts and content in Adobe Photoshop but there’s only so much I can do at school with my own laptop that isn’t allowed to access their network. It’s nice to have a lot of free time at work but I’m not really sure if I should be doing something every free minute I have in the faculty office or if I can zone out and read a book. I’ll have to ask my scheduler if it’s ok to bring in books and other diversions to keep me sane during my office free time.
I probably wouldn’t be so bored if I actually had an office computer at my desk that worked. Just last week, one day after I got used to using my assigned faculty laptop, it died on me. If it weren’t for that I’d surf the internet for news and stuff. I’ve alerted my head teacher about my problem but it seems like there isn’t much they can do about it. I hope they have some plan to replace or fix it, or I’ll be pretty bored for the rest of the semester. If I want to use the internet or print out my worksheets in PDF format, I have to plug my USB memory card into a public office computer and quickly finish so somebody else can use it. I am capable of using the internet on the two communal PCs but they are still running Windows98 which means they are nearly unusable for anything besides word processing and limited emails.

It sounds like a petty thing to complain about but it’s the only real “problem” I currently have. On the other hand, my company, Interac, is taking pretty good care of me. Before joining Interac I read many internet entries, mostly negative, about how Interac worked treated their employees and stole jobs from JETs. I can gladly claim that my experience has been a good one, contrary to what others online may say. I feel most of their opinions are merely just opinion after all but that is about as far as I’ll comment on this subject. Or maybe not, I think I might as well finish this train of thought to kill some more time in the office. There are many who think Interac steals ALT jobs from JET program candidates, but that’s not absolutely true. The JET program, the other program I applied for and was placed onto an alternates list, is mainly to expose foreign English speakers to the Japanese culture so they can take back their experiences and share with their friends that Japan is a good place to visit. Of course, when it really comes down to it, we inheritly have the same job no matter who we work for. College graduates are college graduates, so you’re going to get a mixed bag of work ethics and life styles no matter what program you enter.

In retrospect, I think my decision to go with Interac was a good one. Maybe if I were going to live in Japan for the first time the JET program would have been a better choice because they hold your hand through everything. But the last time I lived in Japan I learned the hard way how things work and how life is in Japan, so a lot of the things that might have driven me to depression and endless weeks of binge drinking don’t anymore. Therefore I live a generally healthier lifestyle and am more prepared to figure things out for myself rather than relying on others to tell me what to do. I guess that is what growing up is all about…
Wow, talk about train of thought derailment! I really went off on a silly tangent there. Bottom line is I am doing pretty well and what I complain about really isn’t anything that bad after all. If anything I get paid to sit on my butt for an extra three hours a day so I should be happy about it rather than beg for five more schools or something like other JETs and Interac teachers get. I got the easy life here and this is about as close as I can get to being a real teacher without having my credentials and the full responsibilities of a real teacher. I think it’s a nice balance I got here. If I had to travel between different schools I think I might have more trouble coping with bouncing between different campuses and such and would probably feel really insecure and restless.

So I guess that’s it for today. My entries aren’t as frequent because there really isn’t anything interesting enough for me to write about daily. At least I’m learning how to be a better teacher. I just got to keep my energy up and my mind open and ready for correction and input from the other Japanese English teachers I work with. If I do that, then I should be able to do this for a long time even though it might be boring. Did you enjoy the clear pictures of Mt. Fuji?

1 comment:

  1. yah bring a book to read, sounds like you are bored out of your fuzzle. just remember you have been waiting and looking foward to doing this and you get paid to do it =D. Doing this or hearing TURN IT DOWN............