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Hatsushiba Hashimoto High School - International English Program
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FAQs – Hatsushiba Hashimoto High School

 

How many classes would I be teaching per week?  12 to 14.

 

Is there a course text to follow, and if so, what? 

 

There are textbooks and documented target language for every class.  The textbooks we are presently using at our school are: Super Kids 2, Weaving It Together 1, Boost Speaking 1 and 2, Boost Grammar 1 and 2, Boost Writing 3 and 4, Get Real! (Foundation), Get Real! (1), My First Passport 1 and 2, and several short novels.  However, if any of our teachers can find a better textbook, we will change to it.  With regard to our curriculum, we are always seeking to improve it.

 

What is the primary aim in the English classes at Hatsuhashi (communication, grammar, etc)?

 

The primary aim of our International English program is develop the communicative abilities of our students to the intermediate-level, especially with regard to authentic communication situations.  To best achieve this, our school has developed a positive atmosphere in which our students and teachers may dynamically and pleasantly work together.

 

How is it different from that of other schools in Japan?

 

Our school is distinctive in quite a few ways.  There are three different programs students may choose from: regular, sports (our team won the Wakayama soccer championship this year), and international.  Overall, this is a very academic school, with great teachers and students in all areas.  The native Japanese teachers are also friendly and supportive.

 

Concerning the international program, we have a staff of 5 or 6 native-English teachers, all of whom are certified and are from a variety of countries. We have complete control of our program. They’re all great to work with, and they and I, the program director, will be there for you when you need it.  There is also no limit to the number of years you may work here.  It is common here for teachers to renew their contracts for a number of years.

  

In addition to an integrative-skills approach, we have CALL and composition classes in order to reinforce and extend our students’ language skills capabilities. Next, our students study science and math using textbooks in English. The foreign teachers do not yet teach these classes. It is possible that I will in the next year or two, since I am certified for this. Furthermore, our second-year seniors take three-week homestays overseas in countries such as England and Australia. Finally, we have a week-long English immersion camp in the mountains of central Honshu in September for our first-year seniors. We the foreign teachers and the respective homeroom teachers are in charge of this. It is great fun and really accelerates the students’ English. By the way, our class sizes are small.  A typical senior conversation class has around 12 students and a junior one has 10.

 

One more interesting event we practice for is the Hashimoto City English Speech Competition.  We start our work for this during second term.  Our students and teachers work very hard at this and our students have won the championship every year so far, as long as several other awards each year too. This speech contest an exciting challenge and creates motivation and focus for students towards improving their English.

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Would I be teaching Junior or Senior High School students, or both?

 

Both.  And I personally like the variety. The teachers and I can provide whatever support you may need in helping them get the most out of your classes.

 

What measures do you have in place for providing feedback/constructive criticism to the staff?

 

I will visit your class once a semester for this.  The feedback will definitely be positive and constructive.  Otherwise, we basically share teaching ideas as we work in a supportive atmosphere.  Please expect me and the other teachers to be ready to help you with any difficulty.

 

Please tell me a little about the International Program.

 

This may be more than you want to know. But here goes (and feel free to ask more…)

 

Oral Communication Classes, Juniors (for all three years):

Our lessons are taught in small groups (usually 10 to 12 students per class) —one homeroom is divided and taught twice a week by 3 cooperating teachers at the same time in separate rooms. In these lessons emphasis is placed on listening and speaking, however, reading and writing are also included.  Each teacher is a coordinator for several grade levels, and is the teacher primarily responsible for developing curriculum and lesson plans for the respective course.

 

Advanced Program Oral Communication Classes, Juniors (for all three years):

 

Works the same as above except the students are especially bright, and study science and math using English textbooks.

 

Advanced Program Oral Communication Classes, Seniors (for all three years):

 

This course is outside the International English Program but the students are especially bright, and are studying a more advanced curriculum for each of their subjects.  Most are the same students from the junior P-courses.

 

International Oral Communication Classes, Seniors (for all three years):

 

Works the same as above except the students are especially bright, and study science and math using English textbooks.

 

Senior International CALL Courses (for all three years)

 

This lesson is taught in the computer room.  Each student uses a computer to participate in computer assisted pronunciation and language practice by using a CALL program called “Tell Me More.”  This is the updated version and it is the best I have ever seen.

 

2nd Year and 3rd Year Senior International Writing Courses:

 

This lesson is taught twice a week. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the writing process and to further the goal of making students good communicators in English.  Some examples of the writing texts we guide students in creating are letters, reports, descriptive essays, and analytical essays.

 

How would you describe a typical work day in my position at school?

 

Be here by 8:30.  Plan for your lessons or work whenever you do not have class.  Development of curriculum and materials is always encouraged. You may participate in other classes that students may be taking. For example, Wayne Brooke is attending SHODO and gym classes when he gets time. You will usually have 2 or 3 classes each day.  There are 3 class periods before lunch (12:15 to 1:00) and two after that.  There is some flex time off as well, about 4 hours a week where you would come in late or leave early.

 

How much vacation time is there?

 

Weekends are almost always off-days. The Japanese teachers do work weekends but we don’t, thank goodness.  However, there are about 3 weekend days a year where your help will be needed: (1) an open school lesson (however, it is only 1 lesson and then you go home); (2) an exam entrance marking day (1 day in late January);usually a Saturday, where you will work all day; and (3) our International Program Summer Camp (early September). 

 

You have to be here for the new teacher ceremony, usually on the first or 2nd or April.  But then your first vacation will start: the next 3 to days will normally be off, until the opening ceremony for the semester.

 

Please keep in mind that your PAID vacations include virtually all of March,  July, August, December and about the first 10 days of January. In addition, you will have all national holidays off, and the 28th day of each month is also a day-off. It ends up totaling over 19 weeks of paid vacation!  Furthermore, due to standardized tests and their preparations, and other school events, you will usually have several half-days off each month.  This much paid time-off is the best I have ever heard of.  It is a perk you will be hard pressed to get anywhere else.  So if you would like a lot of time to do other things in Japan, this is a great opportunity. You are allowed to work at other schools if you choose at this time, as some of our teachers do. 

 

How much is the salary?

The first year annual income will be 2,978,201 yen (about 248,000 yen per month) and the second will be 3,145,500 yen (about 262,000 yen). The income includes the monthly salary and 2 annual bonuses.  The actual monthly salary is 209,700 yen.  The first bonus (around June 15th) of your first year is around 84,000 yen.  The second bonus (around December 5th) is around 377,000 yen.  The second year bonuses are around 251,000 yen and 377,000 yen. You will also be paid for your transportation costs once each semester. And you get this amount along with over 22 weeks of fully paid vacation!

 

Are there any funds set aside to help your teachers relocate (key money etc)? Or if an apartment required some kind of Japanese sponsor, would the school help with that?

 

No, there is not any assistance in these areas.

 

Does the school provide health insurance or a pension?

 

As almost all Japanese companies do, our school provides 50% of the pension payment each month.  Concerning national health insurance, the school will set up national health insurance if you so choose.  Your pay will be deducted for these health premiums as is typical for most Japanese companies.  These are both optional.

 

 

And, an extremely practical question, is there a bus from Hashimoto station to school?

 

Yes, indeed.  There are special school buses, nonstop, which leave about every 15 minutes, starting from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. From the station to the school takes about 12 minutes.  There are also special return nonstop buses from the school to these stations. 

 

 

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