ALT Office Life – Let’s Waste Time

Nothing special to report. I am alive, awake, and bored out of my mind.

Today is Friday the 19th. It is the first Friday since tests have started at my base school, but unfortunately the tests are over for my visit schools. Meaning I am at my “favorite” of the three schools, my computer-less school, Yanai Shoko. Lucky me.

I only had one lesson today. Just one freaking lesson! To top it off the lesson happened to be the first period class. This means I get to spend the rest of the day trying to find SOMETHING to fill the long day with.

Writing this post happens to be one thing. But this one thing happens to be one of only a few things I am able to do. Like I have said in the past Reddit can only take up so much time. My eyes have grown tired from reading stories on my iPhone 6’s little screen. Maybe I should have opted to get the plus, but I don’t have the hand girth for that. Yeah, I have small hands.

Anyway… Yeah. Done nothing but read and charge my phone. Oh, and I guess I have been writing this.

IMG_0199The job of an ALT has some really amazing moments but sadly it is often filled with feeling useless, like a forgotten toy. Yeah Woody I am thinking of you here.

Remember as an ALT you are a foreigner, the outside person looking in, you had been all new and shiny for a time but that will pass. Then comes the rushing lonely moments and the feeling of isolation.

These times will come and go, but it will remind you that you are living in a world that is not like your own. The lonely time become even more prominate when you are sitting at your desk watching the world pass by without you. Everyone is busy doing their job, but you just sit there… Doing nothing with your time.

At least you are getting paid?

Even with these feelings of uselessness, I love my job! That is when I am getting put to good use. I love when I am in the classroom working along side the students. Seeing their smiles and cheerful faces in my class always brightens the darkes days. Chatting with the kids in the hallways or during home room and cleaning times also brings out the joy that is being and ALT. At these times I forget that I am the odd ball out, that I am the American living in a very Japanese world. I also remember I do matter; That what I am doing here is important.

IMG_0200There are days when I am not so sure that is really going on with my position as an ALT. Durning February and March I had the two months of desk sitting, which was hell and totally useless. Then I kind of turned into a crazy lady trying to figured out what my base school really wanted from me as an ALT, because the set up for the classes had changed. And I am still “making” lessons but at the same time I’m really not; which still has me confused a little yet. Then there is always the mess of working at three different schools, making lessons for all three of them, and the added troubles each school has.

I was a little depressed and feeling frogotten.

Being an ALT is actually really easy but super freaking hard at the same time. There are plenty of other ALTs that can back me up on this but unfortunately each one of us has different shit on our plates. Giving each one of us our own troubles that we can only give opinionated advice for.

No ones job is easier or harder than another’s, it is just how you work with what you have been given. The easy and hard parts are just in different areas of your jobs and lives. We can only try to support each other as best as we can. We all may have the same title but technically not the same job.

Like my example of something that is hard about my job at this school is me not having a computer! I am expected to teach three grade levels and make lessons for most of them. However, I have no means to make these lessons or do research. Fun, right?!

It is tough but I deal with it the best I can with what I have. I am thankfully a flexible person and have really been going with the flow for a lot of things. But I just cannot seem to get over the irritation of this computer business. I could be using my time more wisely than I have been.

But once again I am whining about something that wont change. One of Yamaguchi’s best qualities.

IMG_0201I do feel sorry for my replacement when that chapter in my life comes about. Even with the loneliness and difficulties that come with working overseas, I have done some really great things at my schools. The predecessors before me did very little to go above and beyond the expectations laid out before them. They also stayed for only one year each.

That is so not how I have spent the last two years and I don’t foresee my last year as an ALT being the bear minimum either. I am proud to be able to say that I am leaving some rather big shoes to fill. Good luck to the future person who has to take on that job. Good luck.

Just remember you will have plenty of time to kill, just don’t let time kill you.


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