Curriculum planning for English Schools in Japan

So you’ve found yourself a job at a private or international school. You were promised more freedom and growth as a teacher, and the school is delivering that. The thing is, you’ve never planned a curriculum before, and now you have a blank sheet of paper in front of you. What are you going to teach these students every class?

This sounds pretty daunting, no?

That’s exactly what happened to me when I started working for an international preschool in Nagoya in 2014. A few days before the students started to arrive I was told to go and prepare my classroom for the students to arrive. I asked:

“What am I supposed to teach them?”

“Whatever you like!”

Wait, what?


At no point during the interview process was I ever told that I would be planning the entire year with five hours of class per day teaching three to four year-olds. I went into full panic mode, and only after a month or two of struggling through every day did I start to get a handle for preparing classes that were fun for the students as well as challenging and met the goals of the boss (who herself had no idea how to meet those goals). When I got a part-time job last year teaching debate class to high school, it was much easier because of my experience planning a curriculum in the past.

I was going home at 7pm every day and researching the Montessori method, teaching techniques, classroom management and little games to throw in to keep these kids happy and engaged. I worked like crazy to get up to par on my planning skills, and it really helped that one of the other teachers at the school was experienced and helped me a lot in those early days. The main thing was …continue reading