- Be a friend to the students and make them feel relaxed around you (joke with them, show them cool stuff from your country, talk about music/TV you like, etc.)
- Present things with visual aides, funny stories, trivia, animated gestures, etc. Just keep things interesting.
- Move around your classroom, don't just stand at the front.
- Use a big, clear, loud voice. Project presence.
- Choose your words, but use natural English (to let them get used to hearing it).
- Hang out with your kids (lunch, hiru yasumi, cleaning time, clean up after events, club activities, go to the student meetings, etc.)
- Monitor Japanese pop culture to know what things your kids are interested in.
- Maintain a log of your classes, so you know what you have and have not covered.
Before every class try as much as possible to be well prepared. Having a well thought out lesson plan worked out well in advance between yourself and the JTE incorporating each others ideas and suggestions helps clearly define roles, the teaching method and how you both intend to introduce the topic and aims and goals of the lesson. Without a plan your class may end up looking like an episode from Mr.Bean as you bounce around the classroom like a bumbling idiot, knocking things over. (Btw I love Mr.Bean!)
A typical example of structured lesson plan would look something like this:
Typical Lesson Plan Model.ppt
Probably the number one complaint of most JHS JETs is that their students are too shy and do not speak out in class very much. The following are some recommendations for dealing with and breaking through the shyness barrier.
Avoid putting your kids on the spot, individually. Let them answer questions as a group or with a friend. There are usually one or two kids in each class who are pretty fearless (generally the class clown) who won't mind answering you directly. Use them to get a response to your questions so the other kids can see what you are trying to say.
Make Class INTERESTING and FUNEdit
Talk about things that your kids are into or curious about: the latest TV shows, music, what it's like to travel internationally, video games, the differences between JHS in Japan and the ALT's home country, etc. When the JTE wants you to introduce a grammar point or something technical rather than just use the textbook example entirely, branch off into your own examples and conversation. The only way to hold the kids' interest is to make them motivated to listen to you. The best way to do this is to try and relate to their life. Remember when you were 13, 14, 15 years old and what things you were interested in.
Make the kids sit in a circle when you are teaching them. This facilitates discussion better.
If students are acting up (talking, throwing things, generally being annoying) and the JTE doesn't do anything about it, there are some things you can try to calm things down and make the class flow smoothly. In some cases, however, there may actually be little that you can do so in those cases you just have to do your best and try to make the class as fruitful as possible for the kids who are trying.
One of the most effective is to make the troublesome student stand out. Japanese don't like to stand out in a crowd. If you shine a light on them it often will quiet them, at least a bit. Stand near the student making the noise, raise your voice to talk over them, ask them questions directly, etc. Be careful to only take this so far, as some trouble makers will just feed off the attention even more.
As annoyed as you may be at your JTE's not responding to the disruption, in many cases simply ignoring the troublemaker is often the best solution. Constantly responding to their outbursts feeds them attention and makes them more likely to do it again in order to keep receiving that attention.
- Don't underestimate your kid's abilities. With a little patience and effort, even a poorer English student can be made to communicate.
- Try to understand and relate to your student's lives. Understanding the motivations and pressures they have is key to effectively teaching them. Put in the time to talk to them and study contemporary Japanese culture.
- Don't forget that you play dual roles at school: you are a teacher and the resident foreigner at your school.
- Chat with the other teachers and staff. Try to build good relations with them as that will make your life and work at the school a whole lot easier.