JH: Seeing as we’ve been here for about 3 months now, I thought I should do an update on my job situation.
When I first started looking for work I was offered a couple of English teaching jobs but turned them down. The contracts they wanted me to sign were ridiculously strict – long hours with no holidays, and a rather large penalty if I broke contract (in one case a whole month’s wage!) Considering we came to Japan for a working holiday, they didn’t appeal to me!
I also met some really odd employers. One lady told me that because the “Japanese are more diligent & hardworking than Westerners” the employees did not get any holidays other than 1 week in summer. They didn’t even get days off for public holidays! As you can imagine I knocked that job back pretty quickly!
It seems that most jobs for teachers in Japan are the same. If you want to come and work for a solid year you can make some money, but if you want to travel your options are limited.
I was starting to feel pretty low. I certainly hadn’t planned on spending my year here sitting at home all day because I couldn’t afford to go out!
Anyway, I finally got a job! I started about a month ago working at the British Culture Academy (BCA), a company that contracts out English teachers to schools. It’s a part-time job teaching toddlers, kindergarten and primary-school aged kids.
My toddler classes are pretty interesting – I never in my life imagined I would be in a job where I would have to work with seven 1-3 year old children!! I have two 3 hour classes a week with this age group. The classes consist of playtime, an English lesson (for a full hour!), craft time, a short DVD, snack time & a story-book (not to mention several toilet breaks, or in some cases, nappy changes – though I fortunately got out of that task). There is just me and my Japanese co-worker who run the class… talk about hectic!
We get given a general guide of what should be covered in lessons (for all age groups) but in terms of making it fun & interesting that is up to us. I have been asking all the teachers I know for ideas about how to make lessons exciting! So that’s about it really – it’s all quite a challenge at the moment, though I am sure with time I will get used to it.
In other news, my good friend Jessica & her boyfriend Steve recently stayed with us for about a week. It was great to see Jess again after almost 2 years (she has been living in Ireland) and to meet Steve for the first time. We had a couple of great nights out and even managed to drag them along to karaoke on one of the nights… I think Paul & I are getting addicted!
Paul and I are off to Osaka today for a few days for Christmas. We are both super excited to be going on a Shinkansen (bullet train) for the first time!
Hope everyone has a great Christmas from the both of us.
Paul with Jess and Steve in Shinjuku
Jess and Steve getting into the karaoke action!