…as my students call it.
This past Wednesday I had a test of sorts. At least, that’s what it felt like. What it was actually suppose to be, and was really, is a chance for us ALTs to share games and thoughts with our coworkers.
Common issues with said meeting:
-‘respectful’ coworkers sleep through your highly entertaining game presentation
-the language barrier (supposedly nonexistent as these teachers should speak a lot of English…)
Luckily, I’ve taught at four different schools now and therefore I know a third of the teachers at this meeting at least. I know more from going to their schools for speech contest work last and this summer.
I have found that when people know you, they are more willing to be ridiculous or at least fun! I teased a fellow teacher quite a bit actually. He’s good spirited though and the only reason I know him is because when I first got here, he and his wife had Angela, Hayley (who had worked with him), and myself. We played the strangest version of Monopoly ever and it was a lot of fun.
I really feel like I’ve come into my own finally here. It only took a year right? But, when we go to these Shikyoken (we all meet and watch other teachers during their lessons) I make sure to say hello to new teachers, teachers I have never really met instead of sitting in the corner with all my other ALT buddies and hope I get to go home early. I STILL hope I can go home early because after a certain point EVERYTHING is in Japanese. I can only handle people chattering at me in a different language non stop for so long. But, now I use the time to set people at ease about me. I want them to know I’m friendly. I don’t mind if their English isn’t the best. I want to talk to everyone. I want to know how they are, what they’ve been up to, how their family is!! I really try to use this time to put myself out there and make people want to work with me.
I try to bridge the gap between us of ocean, history, and language with my super version of friendliness. Hahahaha! My smile muscles have DEFINITELY grown on me if nothing else has. I use laughter to brush over our (my students and teachers) inability to communicate. I attempt to infuse fun and happiness into every encounter. I feel, if I can just make these teachers a little eager to work with me, they’ll try harder to get to know me. They’ll want to attempt more conversation. They’ll be more relaxed as they realize I’m fun loving, I’m friendly, and that I really don’t look down on them for their believed inferior English skills.
In fact, the only time I am ever upset at teachers is when they refuse to listen to me or speak to me. When they attempt to act as if they know more than I do about my own language or decide they don’t care about me as a person but only as a tool. Luckily, I don’t run into this very often though. I’m not sure if it’s me or them but it makes me glad that things have gone well.
I’m here another year in case any of you didn’t know. I hope that this year will be even better than last year.