Submitted by Stephanie Vasse on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 09:27Permalink
I was surprised to find out my school used to have a bad reputation. About 7-10 years ago, there were behavior problems, teachers didn't stay for long, and the test scores were low. But since then, all of those things have improved and the vibe of the school is much better. I've been here for four years, and I'd say it's a great school to be an ALT. English level isn't high at this school outside of rare exceptions, and most students aren't passionate about English, but with a push they can have excellent lessons. The students respond well to interesting activities, and behavior is generally good enough that you can do active and fun lessons without any trouble. Teachers rarely ask me to plan and teach an entire lesson independently here, so I usually create 20-30 minute activities and participate through the rest of class. They don't generally ask me to teach grammar or introduce concepts; instead, I help with review and mastery. I do plan and teach a full nakayoshi class once a week. The current class is only three students.
I teach all grades as well as two nearby elementary schools, Nishinada and Hieda. Most of the students are from Nishinada and Hieda, so you get to know them when they're young before they come to Harada, which helps you get a good rapport with them. Classes at Harada are about 31-36 students, with 3 to 4 classes for each grade. I go to elementary school on Fridays, alternating between each school. My schedule is very regular. I know which classes I'll have each day of the week every week, outside of small changes because of events.
This school really rewards an active and independent teacher. You'll have a lot of freedom when planning, so use it to your advantage. The students and staff are friendly, if somewhat shy due to their English level. If you don't make an effort to be involved in school activities, you'll end up missing out, so you have to get involved on your own. Make sure to ask about upcoming events and tell them you'd like to watch/be involved if you can.