My Daily Schedule in Japan

my-daily-schedule-in-japan

What was my daily and weekly schedule like when I taught English in Japan? Why, I’m glad you asked!

Disclaimer: This is solely based on my own experience in a tiny rural town from 2013-2015 and is only a general guideline of what you could expect when you teach in Japan. My elementary schools and middle schools had one class per grade level, while the high school had three classes per grade level.


Weekly Schedule

I taught at six public schools and, in addition, had night class (eikaiwa) once a week. Except for the final few months, when we rearranged my Monday and Wednesday schools, and for the 2nd year when I redid my eikaiwa schedule, this was my weekly plan.

Monday: Middle School 1 from 8:00-4:30
Tuesday: Elementary School 1 from 8:30 – 1:00; Elementary School 2 from 1:30-4:30;
Eikaiwa from 7:00-9:00
Wednesday: High School from 8:00-4:30
Thursday: Elementary School 3 from 8:30 – 1:00; free afternoon that I received because I taught eikaiwa
Friday: Middle School 2 from 8:00 – 4:30

Daily Schedule

My daily schedule varied from school to school, and even then it was subject to change depending on school events, testing, field trips, and so on. Additionally, the class periods changed from year to year, so I might teach 2nd period one year but teach that class during 4th period the next year. I forgot if that also happened between trimesters or not.
That said, here is a typical day at each school level.

Elementary School
* 5th and 6th grades had to have English. The schools also liked me to play English games/etc with the lower grades, too.

8:30 – Arrive after the teacher’s meeting. Quickly plan a lesson with the teachers that day, or listen to what their plans were for that day.

1st period – free
2nd period – teach 5th graders
3rd period – teach 6th graders
4th period – teach a lower level grade, depending on the school

Lunch – On Tuesdays, I would eat (usually with the students) then switch schools. On Thursdays, I would eat with the students, then go home. It was a good time to run errands, too.

5th period – teach 1st-4th graders (very small school, so only about 7 kids for this period)
6th period – teach 5th-6th graders

3:30 – return to teacher’s room (if on Tuesday). Talk with teachers, plan future lessons, or just wait around
4:15-4:30 – leave (sometimes they were nice and let me leave early since I was done). Sometimes I played outside with the kids first, then left.

Middle School
English was required for all three grade levels.

8:00 – Arrive. Sit through a teacher’s meeting. Plan/hear plans for the day’s classes.

1st period – free
2nd period – free
3rd period – teach 2nd years
4th period – teach 1st years

Lunch – eat with teachers or with students, depending on school

5th period – free
6th period – teach 3rd years

Cleaning time – help clean part of the school for 15 minutes
3:45 – return to teacher’s office. Talk, plan, or wait until leaving time
4:30 – leave. (I rarely got to leave early, but sometimes they were nice and said I could go ahead of schedule)

High School
English was required for all three grade levels. However, I only taught two classes – an advanced 2nd and an advanced 3rd year class. Sometimes I popped into another class, but those times were extremely rare.

8:00 – Arrive. Sit through a teacher’s meeting. Plan/hear plans for the day’s classes.

1st period – free
2nd period – free
3rd period – teach 2nd years
4th period – free

Lunch – I ate in the teacher’s room, but others have eaten with the students

5th period – teach 3rd years
6th period – free

Cleaning time – help clean for 15 minutes
3:45 – return to teacher’s office. Talk, plan, or wait to leave
4:30 – leave. (I rarely got to leave early.)

Summary

Again, these schedules are just examples. Sometimes I taught both high school classes before lunch and had little to do the rest of the day. Sometimes I taught an extra class, or we had an event that left me with no classes whatsoever. It depends entirely on the school and the teachers/principals that you have.

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