Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Joss' Work Update

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.

Here are some photos of us out and about.

Paul with Jess and Steve in Shinjuku

Jess and Steve getting into the karaoke action!

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