A day in the life of a Base-School ALT

On your bike..same time, same road, same school, same faces. Late again! No one bats an eyelid, they're used to it by now. Aisatsu (greetings)? No problem, same names, same routine. Time for some tea-ugh-same ocha.

But I belong. It's my desk, my classes know me. Back at base, it's good to be home. Time for lesson planning, discussion session. I know them, I can make suggestions. They know me, they can refuse. Maybe we could try this, maybe that, but not the other.

A base-school ALT has a sense of continuity. You can forge relationships with teachers and students because you see them on a regular basis, often being in the same schools on the same days of the week. You can get a feel for each class and become familiar with the methods and ideas of each teacher, as you plan together, take class together, and are able to assess your students' progress.

Being in one or several schools regularly means that everyone soon gets to know your face and your name and you become one of the team. Being seen as part of the staff rather than a one-man/woman traveling gaijin show, can be quite rewarding in itself. There's a strange sense of satisfaction to be derived form seeing you name alongside those of the other "real" teachers in the commemorative handbook for the graduating students as the end of the year.

Submitted by Wendy Reinalda

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