7.30am: Here in the land of the rising sun… the sun rises and I wake up. I have several private English classes today (that is, lessons that are not conducted at a school). First things first, though, I have my usual breakfast: yogurt, banana, cup of tea and a biscuit. I check my emails while eating, and respond to any work queries.
9:00am: The day proper begins. I examine my ‘to do’ list for any items that are screaming to be finished. Of course, the most important matter of the day is going to be my three lessons. Most private classes are held in the evening so I have time to prepare and take care of any personal business in the day.
10:00am: Lesson preparation. The teacher’s homework. Did you hate homework at school? Then you’re probably going to hate lesson preparation, too. And here’s something they don’t tell you often in the happy world of TEFL: lesson preparation takes as much time as the lesson itself, especially for beginners such as myself.
Still, I knuckle down and prepare like its 1999. Lesson preparation includes examining the progress of the student so far, creating an interesting plan for the lesson with specific aims, and designing homework.
12:00pm: Two out of three lessons fully prepared, I’m feeling confident and in need of nutrition. I head down to my local ramen store and slurp a bowl of noodles with the locals.
13:30:pm: Feeling refreshed after my leisurely lunch, I get back to work on the last bit of lesson preparation. This one is quite a fun lesson with 5 twenty-somethings in Kyoto. They learn English for fun, with the eventual goal of being able to have conversations naturally. I prepare a role-play on discussing problems with one’s job. Let’s hope it goes well!
16:30pm: The afternoon was spent on lesson preparation and attending to some vital personal matters (ah, the joys of having a karaoke parlor within 3 minutes walk…). Now the real work begins. My first two students of the day come to my house for their lesson. I prepare tea and we sit down to the lesson. It’s a lighthearted class that using mainly basic conversation.
17:30pm: The first class finished, I wolf down some dinner and head out for a business English class. A short train ride later, and I’m taking a man-to-man lesson with a student whose English constantly impresses me. We discuss work, and examine a short story for scan reading benefits.
20:00: Kyoto’s five-student class. The role-play is going down well; seems to be both educational and enjoyable. The lesson preparation paid off. After the lesson, I sit down and enjoy some conversation with my students, who have brought snacks and drinks. It’s good Japanese practice for me, and they are a nice bunch of people.
22:30: I get back home. If today had been a payday then I would have to carefully document the received monies and provide receipts. However, I’m normally paid monthly, and no payments came in today, so my only remaining task is to make detailed notes of each classes’ progress and the things discussed, along with remarks on what they found difficult to grasp.
Another enjoyable day, and a bit more experience taken in. Life as a teacher of English as a foreign language is good!
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