How to Get Started

No matter where you work or what you do, the success of your ideas depend largely on your experience, relationships and reputation. So, I propose five steps you can take today in to get communication activities and classes going at your school:

1) Learn About your Work.

Familiarize yourself with the way English is taught at your school. This includes everything from the culture of the classroom and what you can ask of your students to how your JTEs tend to teach. Included in all this is where do you fit in at your school and as a teacher. Becoming familiar with your JTEs and how they teach will also come in handy later as you begin to pitch ideas to different teachers. You can customize your materials and the sales pitch you make about them based on this information. It could me the difference between a “Yes” and a “No”.

2) Build Relationships.

Build relationships with your JTEs and your students. It will improve your working life in so many ways.  Your colleagues and students will be more receptive to your ideas if they know you and trust you. Building relationships with other teachers at your school is also a plus.

3) Hone your Skills.

It is said that a teacher who gives up learning how to improve themselves should get out of the profession. Why? because being a good teacher demands one constantly examines their teaching approach and improves their skills. Get  teaching experience in the classroom by going to class with your JTEs; learn from your JTEs and copy the teaching styles you like; read teaching materials and advice online and from books; refelect on your teaching by using a diary or personal blog. There are many ways to improve and both you and your students will benefit.

4) Build your Reputation.

No matter where you work, or what you do, if you want people to believe in your ideas, people need to have proof that you are up for the task. That means you need to work on developing a reputation as someone who can get things done. Take on extra work, help other teachers complete projects, prepare extra materials and offer to help when someone is in a bind. If you demonstrate that you are trustworthy, effective, creative, good a problem-solving, good with technology and so on — your JTEs will see you that way. Then when you pitch ideas to them they will be more likely to take them on. You’ve proved that they will work by virtue of your fabulous reputation.

5) Prepare Materials and Ideas.

Even if you don’t know when they will be used, if you prepare awesome materials for a communication activity, you can offer to use them when your JTE is looking for a fresh idea. The idea is to prepare your ideas and materials when your services aren’t needed so that you can come to the rescue with awesome ideas when the time is right. Wouldn’t it suck if your JTE came to you asking for an idea for communication classes and you came up empty handed…

In Conclusion

I’ve heard people say before that “We can’t change the system!” or “Japan will never change!” I don’t know if that is actually true… But what I do know is true is that we ourselves can change. And if we change the way we come to work and the ideas and activities we bring to students perhaps those people who said change was impossible were very, very wrong indeed…

Click “Next” for advice on talking to JTEs:

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Or read below for some more information.

-When to get started:

It is said that timing is everything…so when is the best chance for you to propose communication activities and classes?

1) At the beginning of the term

Let your JTEs know at the beginning of the term (when things are just getting started) that you are interested in doing some communication activities, classes and projects. Especially if you have materials and lesson plans prepared, it is good to establish this position early.

2) At the end of the term

The end of a term is the perfect time to try out a communication class. Perhaps the students are finished with the test or your JTE is looking for a way to consolidate or review the material they covered during the previous weeks and months. Whatever the case, please use this moment as an opportunity to say to your JTE, “You know, we could review this expression from the textbook with a communication class that gets the students to use the expression by talking with each other…”

3) When the students finish the textbook

Obviously when the students are finished with the textbook JTEs are looking for ideas and materials to fill the time until graduation day. JTEs typically have a preference for classes and materials that will build student motivation and review important information from the textbook. Lucky for you communication activities and classes accomplish both.

4) Now!

Who says you have to wait for anything? You can go to your JTE right now and tell them that you are interested in doing some communication activities or classes. They might just say, “Yes.” If the response isn’t too warm after all, come up with a new strategy and try again. The trick is not to give up.

Click “Next” for advice on talking to JTEs:

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