Thursday, December 29, 2011

Keihoku Commercial High School

Now that winter holiday is upon us here in Sapporo, I thought it'd be a good time to talk about my current teaching assignment, Keihoku Commercial High School.  Last year, as most know, I went to three junior high schools and several elementary schools.  I was asked last February if I'd be willing to become a high school ALT, and I jumped at the chance.  Teaching at the JHS level was fun, but I wasn't given much responsibility, and found myself with a lot of free time between classes.  This was fine at first, but as the year went on, I was itching to be more than read from a textbook.  I replaced my friend Maggie at Keihoku, and was able to help out a little in the summer with speech contest practice, so that was a nice transition.
Keihoku Commercial High School.  Lookin' the same as every other school in Japan.

With my ALT partner, Nick, we teach all six classes of OC1 (Oral Communication for first grade), and a Cross Cultural Communication Class as an elective for second graders.  I was nervous at first, because since I was coming to the school in August, I was essentially entering during the middle of school.  Nick and I split the OC1 classes in half - each of us teaching 20 students.  What I love most is that I run the class.  My JTE will prepare the lesson plans, but Nick and I implement them, so most of the class is entirely in English, which is really good for the kids, I think.  It's a lot of work, but I've loved having that responsiblity again.  CCCClass is nine second grade girls, and we basically talk about social issues and other important topics, trying to keep their communication only in  English, of course.  It's fun, and the girls are super sweet.
Smells like teen spirit.  On School Sports Day.

We also help out with the English Club, which meets once a week.  This year, it's only girls, but there has been boys in the past in the club.  We mainly help them with English Speech Contest, but we also do English lessons.  And parties!
Some of our English Club girls at a speech contest.

Our Halloween party.

And our Christmas party

I've loved working at this school for the past four months - the longest I've ever been at a school!  The teachers are great, the students are friendly, and I've felt totally welcome there.  I'd forgotten how nice it is to teach high schoolers (I started my teaching career teaching high school theater), and in a way, much of what I do at Keihoku is like teaching theater at Randall High School, but without the costumes!  If they'll have me, I'd love to continue at Keihoku next year!

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