25 August, 2014

jet programme: first 2 weeks (part two)

Following my last post.

After arriving in Yuasa, the first thing we did was head to the Board of Education (my contraction organisation). I was first introduced to the remainder of my co-workers at the BoE, then made my way to all 3 schools I'll be teaching at. Luckily my supervisor had advised me of this in an email beforehand, so I made sure I looked somewhat presentable when stepping off my plane. I had to introduce myself each time I met someone new (they take self introductions very seriously in Japan), so I kept my speech fairly short.

During pre-departure orientation back in Auckland, I was advised to repack all my luggage make sure my お土産 (omiyage, gifts/souvenir) were with me as I'd need to hand them out when I first meet everyone (mine were in my check in luggage, which I had planned on sending directly to my prefecture from Narita Airport). I was told that if I missed this first opportunity, it would be very hard/awkard to do so later on. I stressed slightly over this as there was no way I'd be able to fit my valuables, electronics, 4 days worth of clothing and omiyage for 50+ people all in my limited 7kg carry on. In the end, I decided not to rearrange my luggage and I've been handing out my omiyage at random times throughout the summer break with no problem whatsoever (ESID guys, ESID).

After heading to the supermarket to pick up a few essentials, we made our way to my apartment. I've been pre-arranged a one-room mansion, meaning it's a one person apartment with literally one room (the name says it all) as my living space/bedroom. I do have a separate kitchen and bathroom, but they are very small. Looking at the space initially and seeing my 2 giantic suitcases (they arrived safely!) propped to one side... I was apprehensive as to whether I'd be able to fit everything or not. I've definitely made it work, but I'm still hoping to be able to utilise my space a bit better.

japan wakayama yuasa view
view from my apartment
I started "work" the very next day at the Board of Education. As I mentioned in my brief update, there's technically no work assigned to me yet. I've been sorting out a lot of paper work in the first few days, such as opening a bank account; buying a phone; registering my address with the town office... but for the most part I've just been at the BoE. This is the best time get acquainted with the textbooks we will be teaching from, but regrettably I haven't been using my time to its fullest. I've prepared a powerpoint presentation for my first week of classes (the theme is self introduction — see, I told you) and thought of a small game I can do with the kids, but I'm not sure if it'll work well. I may have a degree in Linguistics & English Language Teaching, but my knowledge is all theory based, not practical. If I'm not doing that, I'm either blogging, window online shopping, or checking my emails over and over again. (Please, don't be like me — use your time wisely and prepare some lesson plans! However in my defence, I don't have internet set up at my apartment yet, so... at work it is).

I've been assigned 3 schools — I go to my main (and biggest) school on Monday, Wednesday, Friday; my second school on Tuesday; and my final school on Thursday. While my main school is close (under 15 mins by bike), my other 2 take around 20-30 mins. I'm really unfit, so I'm hoping this will change for the better...

I can't believe how fast time has flown by — I actually start school tomorrow! I've heard that a lot of schools outside of my area don't begin until September, so we're about a week early. I've got a 30 second assembly speech prepared, class presentation sorted, and an activity up my sleeve (that I'm really hoping will work). Wish me luck! 

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