From 2004 to 2009, I served as an assistant language teacher for the Karatsu City Board of Education in Saga Prefecture, Japan. I taught elementary school English activity classes and junior high school English classes. I also did some teacher training and helped develop curriculum for elementary school English activity classes. Primarily, I worked to develop technological resources (and other educational materials) for myself and colleagues in Chinzei town (part of Karatsu City), and for all English teachers in Saga Prefecture. These digital resources were distributed throughout the area, and some have been distributed to other areas of Japan.
I taught 15 to 20 classes each week, and often served as the primary English teacher (T1) for many of my classes from 2007 to 2009. The average class size was about 12 to 18 students, and I worked at 7 different schools in Chinzei town, including schools located on Madara Island, Matsu Island, and Kakara Island.
During my final two years in Karatsu, I co-founded and led a group called Many Hands. This group, a small gathering of English language teachers in the Karatsu area, met once or twice a month with the goal to improve foreign language education by sharing ideas, problems, solutions, and materials. Our work was distributed to schools in the Karatsu area.
I regularly gave presentations at conferences in Saga Prefecture. Frequently, I gave presentations about the use of technologies in the classroom. Yet, I also gave many presentations about English activities for young language learners. As a result of my frequent presentations and some teacher training that I gave at times, I was asked to be the special coordinator for the Saga Prefecture Summer English Activities Seminar in 2007. This special and lengthy seminar was held in order to prepare elementary school teachers to conduct English activity classes, a new requirement of elementary schools that had been implemented at that time.
My wonderful experiences in Japan were made possible by the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.
Here’s an example of my work from this time:
- video demonstration of interactive presentation material