Big or small, the deal is that for public elementary schools we’ll visit any of them! So today we had 2 schools with a combined size of less than 40 kids!! Between them. But they were good. The first school bounded through the songs and were really great. They couldn’t actually speak any English, but their attitude showed that they have an ALT i.e. they were friendly and didn’t look at us like aliens! I guess recently I’ve been looking too much at getting the kids able to hold decent conversations in English, but even if the kids can’t speak, the attitude difference between a school where there is an ALT and one where there isn’t is huge! So then off to the second school. After the first one being so good then we expected to sail through this one. But upon saying “What’s your name?” no kid could answer! This is very strange as the school system is the same, the ALT is the same, but the kids were so different! Not that they were “bad” but they were just at the level of a normal non-ALT school. Mind you with both these schools we really got the 6th graders on side and that really made a big difference! Then in the afternoon I had a couple of hours free so did a bit of computer work (but no mail as the internet signal won’t reach here!) and also got a call from Iwate wanting us to do the ALT mid year conference. Unfortunately we were already booked on that day, but after a couple of calls it was sorted that Will will do the Iwate on his own, and I’ll take the existing engagement in Okayama. I felt like a “businessman” with all these phone calls. Then a teaching seminar. One of the good things these days is that instead of a general “OK, teach us something” type of presentation, teachers are now starting to ask us for specific reasons, the most popular being “We have to teach on our own next year – HELP!”. But in this town they had a specific request, they wanted me to go through a one hour demonstration lesson. They’d seen the shows, but wanted to know how to slim down the genkiness into a one hour lesson. We had to do quite a few of the “basics” first, but doing a full lesson from Warm Up, New Vocab and Song to practise with the Game seemed to give them most of the info they needed! The other advantage of teachers inviting us for a specific reason is that they also put us up in nice places – this time it was a hot spring resort! Fantastic!!! So after a long day it was great to get in the onsen. And then they laid on a steak dinner. Brilliant! So although we do these presentations for free, getting paid in nice accommodation and food is pretty cool!!

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...