If you’ve just arrived on the JET programme and have your first lessons next week, take a couple of hours to run through these pages, they’ll take away most of the panic!

Your first day at elementary school
What we are supposed to be teaching in Elementary school – it’s probably not what you think!
The same thing in more official terms

For the first lesson you could try a self introduction in the form of a true/false quiz. You start out with things like “My name is David Beckham” and the kids have to guess true or false. Then try a few more like “My name is Ichiro” ( famous Japanese baseball player). Eventually give your real name, maybe write it on the board ( the kids can’t read it, but it looks cool to them). Then try the same with your age “I’m 134 years old” or “I’m 6 years old”. Or with hobbies, you might have to use some Japanese to do this last one though! It gets the kids laughing whilst using English, and any photos or real things you have will really help the lesson.

Then once you start your main teaching, you’ll want to have a look through the online training video, which has a ton of ideas and hints to teach English to kids. Many of the Japanese teachers will assume that you are fully trained in how to teach English in elementary school and know everything about it! Oh yes, most teachers are shocked when I tell them that new ALTs only have 2 or 3 hours of workshops. On the other hand, although most Japanese teachers are fully qualified teachers they will have had hardly any training in how to teach English. Hence being patient and communicating is very important! For that have a look at ..

Classroom Japanese / Classroom English

You might also find that the school’s curriculum is a little odd. This is because many teachers will feel that they have to prepare something for you, but they really have no idea what to put in the curriculum so quickly copy something from a book. In that case you might want to try the Genki English curriculum. All the lesson plans, games etc. are all written in Japanese so it’s easy for you to print both and plan with the classroom teacher.

Elementary school curriculum

You’re going to love it, if you think like a kid and think what types of things you thought were fun at that age, you’ll have a great time. The kids will learn loads, get really good and unlike selling arms to Africa or anything like that, it’s a great way to spend your time.

There’s also lots more on the Help and Advice page.

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...