Life in the Board of Education

A little over a week later, and here I am mostly settled into my new apartment in Kagoshima. From the top floor you can see the volcano, Sakurajima. Unfortunately I’m only on the fourth floor and have nothing outside my window except for the neighboring apartment building. It doesn’t really allow for much light to come in, but that’s about my only complaint with the place.

I forgot my camera cord in America! So I have been taking pictures on my phone. This is a view of Sakurajima spewing ash, taken from a park near my apartment.

This week has been a whirlwind! I had to go through the process of registering with city hall, opening bank accounts, getting a nice cell phone, etcetera. At the same time, classes haven’t quite started yet, so work itself has been fairly easy. Mostly I’ve just been planning my self-introduction lesson and learning the location of my schools. I think I’ve got it all down. I start teaching officially from Monday.

This city is a bit unique in that there are 21 assistant language teachers (ALTs) in total. In a way it’s reminiscent of being in HUSA, with a support group close at hand should I need it. At the same time it’s markedly different in that with HUSA, everyone had a background in Japanese. Here there are some people who don’t know a single word of the language, or a bit of the culture. I can’t really imagine getting a job in a country where you can’t speak the language! Either way, all of the ALTs thus far seem to be good people. I suppose if they weren’t, they’d never have gotten hired.

Up until now I’ve gone to two welcome parties: one a simple night out, the other a fancy shindig at a hotel with a stunning view. There was a night with an incredible fireworks show, the lights being shot up on both sides of the volcano. We also went out for a sort of ladies’ night recently, where we ended up meeting a nice girl from Hawaii who just started working for AEON this past week. Small world!

I’ve also gotten to know some of the locals. When I told people I was coming to Kyushu, so many of my Japanese friends said, “Kyushu people are so friendly!” It’s definitely turning out to be true.

Classes start from Monday. I’m looking forward to meeting all of my students! One of my schools is quite large, with 1000 students and 9 English teachers. The other is a suburban school about which I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’ve gotten my first lesson plan mostly in order. I still need to prepare a short speech to give at the school entrance ceremony for the larger school. Once Monday rolls around, things will certainly liven up!

 

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~ by megumiwasframed on September 1, 2012.

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