A day in the life of an ALT

One thing that’s frustrating about being a new ALT is no one seems to tell you what you’re going to be doing once you reach Japan. I used to think this was a JET thing, but talking to ALTs in other companies, it seems to be and anywhere thing. It is ESID and all that, but at the very least it’s good to see what other ALTs are doing. So as a service to you new JETs and other ALTs, here is a day in the life (specifically April 25) of me, a typical¬†junior high school ALT.

6:30am Alarm goes off, it’s not really an alarm clock, it’s my phone playing Closer by Ne-Yo. Shut-up!
7:00 Get out of bed, this is actually early for me.
7:30 Make my toast and coffee and Skype my mother. Yeah, I call her often in the morning, shut up again!
8:00 hang up and get ready for work
8:15 call mom again quickly to show her a ridiculous video from youtube.
8:20 okay, seriously gotta get ready for work now
8:25 Ah, crap it’s burnables day, I gotta get my trash! (it’s okay since I live literally around the corner from my school)
8:35 Walk up the stairs to school, only 5 minutes late, sweet. Scheduled for four lessons today
8:50 Go to first class, 9th graders who are just starting to learn passive form
9:15-9:40 the kids and I do a word-search puzzle. I win, bwa-ha-ha!
9:45 free period, jump on computer to check news, email
10:00-10:40 Do lesson in the JET language course book which I’m determined to finish this year, dammit!
10:50 another free period, hop on computer again and start writing this post
11:15 JTE hands me schedule. Since Golden week is coming up, there’s only 6 work days over the next two weeks, sweet
11:20 realize next Tuesday and Thursday I’ll have 4 lessons in a row, ugh, I hate that!
11:25 okay, gaijin, stop hogging the computer
11:50 4th period, 8th graders just learning past tense form, I spend most of the class period walking around correcting papers.
12:40 Oh God, it’s finally lunch time! Today’s lunch was an improvement over recent lunches, but came with drinkable yogurt instead of milk, WTF
1:45 5th period, 7th graders, who are best to teach because they still are in ‘English is Fun’ mode from elementary school. Don’ worry, it gets beaten out of them by the end of the year. We do a lesson that I planned; capital letters review and basic vocab like “picture”, “window” etc. I have them play a memory game.
2:45 6th period, another 8th grade class. Basically the same at the other 8th grade class except this time someone asks me how to spell ‘Parisian’. I had to look it up.
3:45 cleaning time, or for me, ‘Lauren gets back on the computer’ time. The cleaning soundtrack is this bizarre high speed mix of various classical and Souza songs
3:55 Ack, the music is still playing! It’s on a loop! Make it stop!
4:00 15 minutes, and I’m outta here!
4:15 successfully goofed around on the internet for 15 minutes, now time for me to say ‘O-saki ni shitsurei shimasu’ which is Japanese for ‘Later, bitches!’.
4:25 After a quick trip to the combini, I’m home.
5:00 Ugh, I really should get to the grocery store, the big one which is about a 15 minute bike ride away, bleh
6:30 Okay, bought a ton of stuff at the store, and now I’m finally home for the day!

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2 thoughts on “A day in the life of an ALT

    • Nothing, it’s all I do!
      Nah, I go to Japanese class two nights a week, and I try to go somewhere every weekend, even if it’s just to the nearest decent sized town for some shopping or karaoke. The JETs near me do a variety of things like ikebana, taiko, go to the gym, art classes, play soccer, whatever. The important thing you generally have to discover these things. Maybe your prefecture will have a PA/AJET representative who’s organized and alerts you about different classes and events, but it seems to be getting increasing disorganized where I am, so I had to ask around.

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