Thursday, 21 July 2011

Interacting with Interac

I applied for a job with Interac, the biggest private organisation that puts ALTs into schools. The position I want is teaching at high schools in my area — a position that recently opened up when the previous ALT — who, along with his wife, is also a friend of ours — handed in his notice and relocated, soon to return to the US.

I am in the middle of the application process. I have had a phone interview, but tonight I have a face-to-face video interview. Last night, I made a teaching demonstration video to submit. I'll pop that up on the blog when I have the means.

So, it's all going ahead. Prayer and determination will see this through and me successfully welcomed into a position that is ideal.

We shifted house last weekend. We had a lot of help from Ps. Taniguchi and his wife, and Mika's dad. We got everything shifted over and the old house completely cleaned. It's been difficult to try and set everything up in the new house, but we are pacing ourselves as we try and unpack and sort through everything, and work out what to put where.

As yet, we haven't got an internet connection at home. That means I will be setting up at the old (empty) place tonight for my interview, since there is still both power and an active cable internet connection there. We are trying to get ADSL hitched up, but so far haven't even found out when that will be activated, or with whom.

As for cable TV; well, we are going to get cable installed (at a fairly large cost), but the installation won't take place until October. So until then, I guess we try and hook the TV up to a regular aerial. I dunno if that will do anything, as so far we haven't tried. Heck, I haven't even set up the home theatre system yet!

There was a farewell nomikai last week with the main office in K-town, which I attended. And there is a local welcoming/farewell one next month for the new ALT and myself to attend.

I filled out a survey for leaving JETs. Following are the comments I wrote at the end of the survey:

"Educate all shougakkou teachers a lot more about what JET and its ALTs represent and do. Instead of "omakase", they should be leading and participating in the ALT classes like the rest of their classes, without fear of not being able to use English.

"Offer more training that invokes team teaching and how an ALT can be effectively used at junior high school. We are not human tape recorders, and ALT lessons should not be grammar cramming time. If all JTEs knew how effective classes could be if they would just work with the ALT and find a good balance, then both parties - as well as students - will be much happier in the long run.

"Those are the two biggest issues I have. Because if primary school teachers have their foreign language class confidence boosted and junior high English teachers better understand team teaching, then there is more potential for JET ALTs to be involved with effective and ongoing lesson planning - and thus more for ALTs to actually do during non-class work hours, and more of an overall positive language and cultural effect on students across the board."

I really can't imagine things changing for the better anytime soon, but maybe one day this whole internationalisation thing will have a paradigm shift and we will see much more interactivity in the classroom and a lot more assessment and adjustment to teachers really utilising the human tools that they are being given.

I didn't have an altogether bad experience, as some of the schools I taught at gave me a very rewarding experience as an ALT. But, there are issues over homeroom teacher involvement and team teaching relationships that could be better addressed. Think of the kids!

That's all from me, for now. I really hope that we will get internet at home soon, as it is difficult to live without it (the things we have become accustomed to, eh). I also hope to be able to upload my teaching demo video here. Because it's all about enjoying yourself whatever you apply yourself to. :)

Edit: Here is the video!

Interac Teaching Demonstration from Tim Gough on Vimeo.



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