Our lessons have changed a lot in the past year. While COVID forced the change, there are many things we will keep post COVID.
Previously, we had 1 big table. Students would do reading and speaking activities in groups of 3 or in pairs at the big table.
Now, students work individually at their own desk. This has distinct benefits:
No Japanese (separated from friends so couldn’t speak)
Students more focused (couldn’t rely on other students
Our School in Lockdown
Abe’s sudden announcement of school closure for the first 2 weeks of March threw our school into turmoil. Abe’s announcement came on the Thursday night. All public schools would close from the following Tuesday for 2 weeks. We mirrored the public policy. We held lessons until Monday evening and then closed. Interestingly, our students self isolated before the lockdown. Our lessons were sparsely attended.
Because Abe’s announcement was so sudden, we were
Life in Lockdown
I advise my kids to savor the moment, because life is always changing. Life has certainly changed now.
Like everyone, we locked down suddenly. We shut our four English Schools and moved online. Golds’ Gym, our regular hangout, shut. Our boys’ soccer and kick boxing, closed. Piano and guitar lessons moved online and their Junior high school shut.
We are now a family unit spending 24 hours a day together with no end in sight. Sounds like a nightmare? Curi
At the end of March 2020 we moved to an apartment near our old rental house. The backdrop to this move was the growing Covid 19 epidemic. On our return from Christmas in the USA, news of the virus still lingered.
After 25 years in Japan, we finally took the plunge and bought our first (and final) property. We were enticed by the huge roof balcony overlooking the bright lights of Saitama Shintoshin.
We brought in builders to renovate the place before mov
I was scheduled for surgery 2 weeks after confirmation of pre - cancer cells in my cervix. The surgeon would remove all the bad cells (more on this later).
The surgery required a 3 day stay. I have no doubt that in the US, the surgery would be a day procedure. Japan errs on the side of caution with these things. (One reason behind Japan's long life expectancy?)
The first day, check in was from 14:00. There was not much to do. It was a bit boring. Thankfully, Leon came wi
I do the free yearly medical exams provided by the Japanese national health system. I believe in catching any problems before they become bigger.
This year, I got a call from the gynecologist to pick up my pap smear results. From past experience, I knew this was a bad sign. If they call, it means there’s a problem.
So, it didn’t come as a surprise when the gynecologist said cells in my cervix were at the stage before cancer.
There are 4 pre-cancer stages. This was the 4th stag
The teacher led activities are my chance to introduce new language or skills that the students will then go on to use independently. They vary depending on the class but are generally an opportunity for me to scaffold the students and support them in expanding their vocabulary or reading and writing skills. I often use the Dave and Amy games during this time. Bingo is especially popular. There are bingo boards available to learn vocabulary on one side and practice single letter recognition or r
We think that parents are often unsure if their English School choice is good or not.
We equate it with choosing a piano school for our kids. We don’t play the piano. So in reality, we have no idea if it is a good lesson or not.
So, how can parents choose a good English School?
These are a few things to look out for / avoid: (if you have more, please add them in the comments)
1 Who spoke most in class? Teacher or students? Lots of stu
In our hour long after school English lessons, we have a no Japanese policy. Why do we want English only lessons?
Japanese in class is the number 1 reason students quit. We get a lot of students from other schools because of this. (so if you’re a school near us—ignore the no Japanese advice.)
Once kids start speaking Japanese, it’s hard to get them to stop. One or two words will become non stop chatter.
If kids are speaking Japanese, they can’t hear the English. Wh