Starting at a New School: 4 Day One Dos and Don’ts for ALTs

Source: Gaijin Pot
Starting at a New School: 4 Day One Dos and Don'ts for ALTs

We are only a few weeks away from April now and the start of another school year. With this comes a challenge, as many assistant language teachers across Japan will soon face a new beginning at a new school.

For some, this may be their first foray into ALT work, be it direct hire or via a dispatch company. For others, it may be a change of school or a change of employer.

In any case, it helps to be prepared for what lies ahead and understand how to best handle the formalities as they unfold. With this in mind, here are some pointers for navigating the first day at a new school.

1) Present yourself the right way

OK, these should be pretty obvious points, but you’d be amazed how many times I have seen them overlooked. On day one, wear a suit, a good suit. You want to look your very best when you are introduced to the principal. Also, make sure you bring some comfortable indoor shoes with you. Bring two pairs if possible since in some schools you may need one pair for walking around the school and a separate pair of gym shoes for the sports hall, where the opening ceremony is most likely going to be held. Also, only bow when someone bows to you. Going around looking like you’re trying to headbutt the invisible man will only bring ridicule on you in the long run!

2) Use the right level of Japanese

Pretty much every employer, be they a board of education or a dispatch company, will tell you that it’s important to try and speak even a little Japanese when introducing yourself to your new colleagues at school. However, I would advise caution when doing this. Try to prepare a speech that is appropriate to your actual level …continue reading