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My Final Advice for the Start of the School Year

2013/03/28


How you teach your classes at the beginning of the year will affect the rest of the school year all the way until next April. At EduCareer, we meet a lot of teachers, and so we have heard both success stories and failures about how actual native English teachers in Japan manage the classroom at that crucial time of year.

More often than not, teachers with experience say that they try to be extremely strict at the beginning of the year, and then loosen up as time goes by. It solves a lot of behavioral problems before things escalate at all.

There are many different types of successful native English teachers in Japan. Mostly I'm talking about people who have lived in Japan for a few years and are more familiar with the ins and outs of the Japanese school system. Naturally people who have been here for a few years tend to stay indefinitely. This is almost never on purpose, but you'd be surprised at how many people say they only intended to stay for a year and ended up staying for more than ten.

Among these successful teachers, two types stand out. People with degrees in education who have run their own homeroom classes, built an entire curriculum and maybe even some texts, and know how to handle children are clearly very successful. They know what it takes to succeed because they've planned for it for most of their adult lives. But that doesn't mean that the other type of successful teacher isn't just as important. Many native English teachers come to Japan without teaching experience at all, learning as they go. Maybe your career goal didn't start out as a teacher, but after a few years of solid teaching experience in a Japanese classroom, you can probably hold your own if you have the right mindset and take advantage of every opportunity to become a better teacher.

Schools love hiring both these types of teachers.

A lot of great teaching advice aimed at teachers in native American/British/Australian/(etc..) classrooms can be adjusted to fit an ESL classroom, regardless of the level of responsibility you have in your ESL classroom (whether you're solo teaching advanced writing or team teaching oral communication). You don't have to rely purely on ESL advice. There is plenty of information out there that you could use in one way or another, or at least expose yourself to. It may give you an idea that could change the entire classroom atmosphere, or it could open up new perspectives on old games and activities.

I'd like to leave you with some fantastic advice for how to run your classroom at the beginning of the school year. It will help you develop a good rapport with students, lay down the rules, and maybe even get a few activity ideas for junior high or high school level students in Japan.

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