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ECC Junior

ECC Junior

Courtney and I have both signed up to work for another part of ECC. It's called ECC Junior. Basically, we go out to either kindergartens or elementary schools and play with the kids and try to teach them something. With kindergarten there is a Japanese teacher that goes out and teaches English every week and then we come out a few different times, depening on how many visits they sign up for. This would be the equivalent of us going to Saundra's playschool or Mrs. Maltby's and teaching Japanese. Just to put it into perspective. The elementary school is exactly what it sounds like. We go out to an elementary school and teach English. I think the many point is to let the kids interact with a foreigner, but that's ok.

I signed up for the kindergarten visits and Courtney signed up for the elementary school visits.

So far I have done two visits. I don't have any pictures because I'm not sure if I am allowed to take them or not. I will try to take some at some of my visits.

The first kindergarten I went to was about 20 kids ranging in age from two to four years, They put us in an area to prep for our lesson which just happened to be the tatami (a Japanese mat they use in rooms, it is what is in our bedroom) room and there were two kids asleep. While we were getting organized one of the kids woke up and just stared at me. I don't think he had any idea what to make of me. The kids were really cute and well behaved. When we were finished they all came up and gave me high fives and followed me around the kindergarten until I left.

The only problem is they were all snot factories. So, many kids had boogers falling out of their nose and their lips were crusty from old snot. It was disgusting. When I left I made sure that I did not touch myself until I got a chance to wash my hands. Then the first thing I said to Court when I got home was, "It was the easiest thing I've done yet, but they are going to make me sick!" I then washed my hands and took my vitamins.

The second kindergarten I went to was out in the middle of nowhere. But I was told it is a very prestigious kindergarten. The actual kindergarten was probably the size of St. Charles's school and it was full of four year olds. Every class room had a really nice piano in it. And they had a stage in one corner with lots of different instruments for them to play. When I showed up all the kids were out in the courtyard for recess and every class had the same colour hat on. So there was a group of purple hatted kids, and a group of red hatted kids. It is pretty cute and very effective for finding your students. The other thing is, all the boys had on blue smocks and blue slippers and the girls had on pink smocks and pink slippers. This was even cuter.

I had to do four 30 minute classes. I went in, reviewed colours and shapes, sang a few songs, read a book, played a game then went on to the next one, It was fun, but it was about 26 °C and I didn't have enough time to drink as much water as I wanted between the classes. These kids were really well behaved and a lot of fun. And, yes they were snot factories as well.

Courtney - the elementary school side

So I have fewer school visits than Andrew, and only one school. It's a Korean elementary school up in Kyoto at the foot of the mountains. It's an incredibly beautiful area. I teach two 40 minute lessons, one each to a grade 3/4 and 5/6 class. Neither has more than 25 students in it. I was met at the station by an ECC trainer, who took me on a bus to the school and stayed through my first lesson. I don't think any of the staff at the school speak English, so my next visit should be a challenge. We arrived at the school and were told to wait in the office while the staff found the teachers who were responsible for my classes. I taught the grade 3/4 first, and ran out of material to teach them after about 25 minutes (there must have been some kind of miscommunication, because I prepared a different lesson than the school had materials for), so I had to do some pretty amazing improv to keep them entertained. They seemed to have fun though, and a few girls ran out into the hall after me to say thank you and goodbye as I went down the stairs. They were all pretty cute in their uniforms.

My next class was for the grade 5/6 class. The teacher here was a lot more helpful than in the previous class. I was grateful for that. They enjoyed themselves as well.

A couple of things I noticed at this school:

- all the female teachers and staff were dressed in traditional Korean kimono, whereas the men wore modern shirt-and-tie getups.

- in the office, there were portraits on the wall. Well, in Canada, we usually have the Queen, right? Well, at Korean elementary schools (at least this one) they hang portraits of Kim Jong Il, and his dad Kim Il Sung (the deceased, yet current, president).

All in all, this was a pretty easy and interesting teaching experience. The kids were all very well behaved and keen to learn and play. I'm really looking forward to going back again.

Oh, and none of my kids were "snot factories". Nice, AC.

Posted by agc_cwm 08:11 Archived in Japan

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Hiya Andrew & Courtney. Had a similar experience (ECC Junior, visiting kindergartens) when my wife, two of our kids (15 & 13) & I travelled to Wakayama, Japan for a year 4/2005~3/2006. I also was based our of the Namba office of ECC Jnr. Thanks for reviving the memories! We had a great year. Have enjoyed your other posts too. Andy.

by HandyEh

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