First Contact

I’ve just arrived home from my first full week of observation at my new school.  I work Tuesday through Friday at a little school near Hitotsubashigakuen station in Kodaira.  This area is west of the metro Tokyo area, where I lived previously.  I now live near Musashi Koganei station, about two stops away from where I work.  Here’s a map, for anyone interested (you may need to zoom out a bit).  Metro Tokyo is just to the east of this map.

My office is a small place, and I’m one of two native English speaking teachers employed there.  My school is a family-owned place – it’s a franchise operated by the Shuku family.  And when I say it’s family operated, I mean it.  The owner, Mr. Shuku (or ShukuPapa, as he is called), employs his son-in-law, Hideki Shuku (who took the family name when he married Mr. Shuku’s daughter) as the director/manager/grammar teacher at the school.  Mrs. Shuku (ShukuMama) also comes to the school to keep us in line and make conversation with the mothers.  Hideki’s daughter, Sumika, is 6, and is one of my students.


It’s a very warm, welcoming environment.  The kids I met this week are all fantastic.  Some will be a little more challenging than others – especially the junior high kids.  I remember being that age and being sure I was waaaaay too cool to be participating too, but I got along well with them and I hope they’ll transition to my teaching well.

This is my new desk space.  The chip containers are a game that Hannah and Tristan (the other English teacher) play with their students – they’re not really chip junkies (like me).  This is where lesson planning takes place every day before the lessons begin.  I’ll show up at 3:00 PM and put together all my lessons for the day here.  My schedule is changing a bit from this week on – I’ll be working 3:00-9:00 Tuesday through Thursday, and 3:00-8:30 on Fridays, with Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off.  I’m still unreasonably excited by how much time this allows for sleep and TV watching and anything else I choose to do with my time.

This is the lone “hall” in our school – it shows the doors for the three classrooms we use for our instructions.  Hideki, Tristan, and I share these rooms and our schedules are strict about which rooms we are to use at what time for what students.  These are the only rooms we use for teaching.  There is a lobby area, which I don’t have a picture of, and a small kitchen/eating area for the staff to use.

I would have taken a photo, but Hideki looked at me a little funny after I took this one, so I’ll save those pictures for another time, heh.

I spent the last four days getting to know the majority of my students – some were absent this week, and the schedule is changing from next week, so Tristan and I are swapping a few students.  The vast majority of my kids are very young – eleven and under.  I have two four year olds, lots between 5 and 10, and several middle schoolers.  Most of the kids have a great attitude and are very enthusiastic about learning.  The junior high students are quiet, but still participate.  I have a few classes with returnee kids – these are students that lived in an English-speaking country for a period of time.  These kids have a pretty high level of English and are very relaxing to work with.  Most of the kids have a great sense of humor, and they already have had hilarious things to say in front of me.

Next week I’ll start teaching solo.  I teach between 4 and 5 classes a day, for a total of 17 classes a week.  I’ll also do demonstration classes for students interested in joining the school.  I’m really looking forward to getting started.  I already have a lot of ideas for what I want to do with these classes and I’m eager to integrate them.  I’m really hoping that the kids will feel comfortable with me after the next couple of weeks.  I’d love to make class something they’ll enjoy.  I think I can do it.

But, as Takuya (one of my returnee students) said yesterday as we were doing a fill-in-the-blank proverb crossword: “Don’t count your chickens before they’re cooked.”

I hear ya, man.

This entry was posted in Engrish, Fun, Work. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to First Contact

  1. Ma says:

    I can just see the wee ones pulling at your skirt to ask a question. R u still Kawaii-Sun or what name do the children call you! I’m sure James could come up with a funny one for you.

    Happy for you, keep up the energy, those kids will warm right up to you.

  2. Steve says:

    Looks like a nice little school. We just finished our first term of the year and start the send term on Tuesday (my last term this contract).

    I did start one new class Friday and can’t wait to resume teaching next week. I really love it.

    Have a blast TEACHER!

  3. Unowho says:

    We need a new video and post…silence is overwhelming

  4. Gweb says:

    I think Japanese kids are a blast.
    I work with a few at a local Sunday school and although the process is very draining, I always leave with a level of satisfaction.
    Chip Star chips. Man, those things have the weirdest flavor in my opinion (if I remember correctly).

    Good stuff, have fun!

  5. Jonathan Drury says:

    Hi Im looking to post a guest blogpost/article on your site. Basically I will write
    you a 500 word informative article for your readers and in return I ask you
    to credit me with a backlink from within the article.

    You will benefit from free unique content being posted to your site attracting
    new visitors from the search engines and I will benefit from the backlink to my

    Thanks for listening and let me know if this interests you.

    + The article will be relevant to your site.

    Kind Regards,

  6. David Winters says:

    Hi Im writing to enquire about advertising opportunities you may have on your site.

    I have a number of international clients interested in purchasing a number of different advertisements (see below.):

    1) A simple link back to their site on your homepage.
    2) Around 15 words and a link back to their site on your homepage.
    3) A banner 125×125 that contains 1 link back to their site on your homepage.
    3) A banner 125×125 that contains 2 links back to their site on your homepage.
    3) A banner 125×125 that contains 3 links back to their site on your homepage.
    4) For you to add a article to your site that has been written specifically for your site around 500 words, this will contain 1 link back to an advertisers site.
    5) For you to add a page to your site that has been written specifically for your site around 500 words, this will contain 1 link to the advertisers site and will also require you to link to the article your homepage.

    If you are selling any or all of the above please write back to me with the prices and I will add you to our backend system where advertisers can view your site.
    This system is completely private and available by invite to Innovative SEO advertisers only.

    If you could use the same number structure I used above when giving me your prices then that would be great also try to give prices as yearly, however we do offer monthly in the backend at the rate of 10% of the yearly.
    If you only want to sell one form of the above advertising and not another then please let us know.

    Please also note we can work with any geographic area!

    Kind Regards,
    David Winters

    Business Development
    Innovative SEO

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s