After class, Ms. Ishikawa (the English teacher I work with--she's wonderful) announces, "Mail time!" I collect the small notebooks and take them to the teachers' room, where I immediately read the fun messages.
I whip out my official teacher pen with the red ink and make some corrections and comments. Then, I write a little letter in response. :)
Not only is it fun for me since I'm getting to know the students better, but it's a great English exercise for them. Definitely a win-win situation!
"Ms. Dana" at work, with red pen in hand. By the way, that is President Obama's Inaugural Address spread out in front of me. It's a photocopy from a Japanese newspaper that had the speech in both English and Japanese. I took this picture a few weeks ago, when our focus for English class was the inauguration.
Here's what a letter looks like after corrections:
Since it's a little hard to read, here's what it says... (Again, this is a few weeks old.)
Hello Ms. Dana (*cute star*)
Thank you very much for your Christmas present. I'm glad because you gave me a lot of candy. It was very delicious. (*cute heart*) I heard you talk about winter vacation. It sounds fun. (*cute music note*) I'm sad because I had the flu during winter vacation. I could not go out anywhere. I want to play with my friend during spring vacation! See you. ~Atsumi
Atsumi is so cute! She likes to draw little pictures in the notebook, and it really makes me smile. I usually get a chuckle out of the notes Shoma writes me, too. He has such a goofy personality! Here's what I got in today's "mail." (This is before I edited it.)...
Hi, Ms. Dana.
I like many comics. Do you like comics? I like comics is baseball comics and action comics. I'm happy when I'm reading comics. I need a comics. I will read comics. bye. ~Shoma
Nice. On the positive side, there weren't any spelling errors. But still, the red pen was needed.
Other than at Mugyo Jr. High, I don't do much grading. The English teacher grades tests and quizzes since some sections are in Japanese. I walk around the classroom when the students are working on English worksheets and correct/help them.
Sometimes I plan lessons or activities, but the English teacher determines the schedule and topic for the class. As an ALT (that's "assistant language teacher," as a reminder), I'm there basically to help with pronunciation and also teach about American culture. Just about every day I say: "Please repeat (this sentence or word) after me..."
It's about time I describe what I do on a daily basis, huh? :)