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Preppers: 3 Tips for ALTs to Make the Most of Summer

Don’t just sit at your desk. Summer is a relaxing break, but it’s also a chance to level-up your ALT skills.

By 3 min read

It’s now natsu yasumi (summer holidays). However, an ALT’s work is never done — and summer is a great time to prepare for your return to school. Whether you’re a veteran ALT or a newbie, summer is a great chance to look for inspirations to shake up old lesson plans and liven up the classroom.

While it can be tempting to laze the days away, here are three tips to help things go smoothly.

1. Make new materials

¥100 shops are your best friends.

Games, whether you are in elementary or junior high school, are an essential part of your lessons and great ways to make a dull topic more enjoyable. However, thinking you can go to school and everything will be prepared for you is wishful thinking.

In most cases, many ALTs may have to create the games with the few and often not-ideal materials that are supplied at school. Like a lot of the Japanese teachers of English, you may need to buy some of your own materials, if you really want to do something creative.

So, fork out a little extra yen, as other ALTs before you did. However, here are a few tips to ensure the biggest bang for your buck. Get cheap supplies at ¥100 shops, like Daiso, which best place to get a variety of materials like glue, magnets, whiteboards, markets, etc. As an ALT, you want to give your students the best experience, but it shouldn’t break your bank. These stores have many materials that can be used in a variety of ways in any lesson.

Another option is Don Quijote, a store with a much more exotic assortment of materials. If you need anything, you can most likely find it here. Just keep in mind there is an increase in price from the ¥100-based stores and Don Quijote.

2. Get extra advice

After successfully completing the first leg of a typical school year, you should have a decent grasp on your school, classes and lesson making abilities. If something so far hasn’t gone totally to plan or there is an area where you may have been having a bit of trouble, be proactive and contact your contracting organization.

In theory, they are responsible for your training.  So, don’t lose touch with them just because it’s summer. Always remember that when in doubt, they are the best resource for any ALT struggling in a certain aspect of ALTing. Things like lesson prep, material making, game ideas or anything else may be lacking in certain areas your organization is there to help.

So, it is important to be vocal. The staff there will also want to know about your experience during your first term at school. Also, your organization may be able to give you extra information like, for example, with items like extra practice sessions or English camps. In other words, chances where you may be able to improve your ALT skills. Many ALTs travel and use summer as a chance to relax, but it can be a chance to build your skills, as well.

3.Vacation and share it later

Take a trip to Shikineshima Island, Tokyo, and share it with your students!

A day at the beach never hurt anyone. Of course, preparing and getting ready for the next school term is important, but use this time to make some memories. Memories that you can go back to school with and share with your teachers and students.

Sharing your experiences with your school or schools can be a great way to bond and build relationships. Many students and teachers may not have had the same chance to travel so photos and stories would be nice to hear and you can use that experience to create a great and memorable lesson upon your return to school.

Summer break is a time to refresh and a chance to reorganize, so take advantage of it.

Happy teaching!

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