Akita Orientation 2015

2015 Akita Orientation is a two day conference for new JETs that was held on August 17th & 18th at the Prefectural Education Center in Tenno, slightly north of Akita City.

Details

  • Check in time: 12:00 noon
  • Where: The Prefectural Education Center, just outside of Akita City.
  • When: August 17 & 18

All presentations will be given by the PAs, Block Leaders, and other JETs from Akita.

What to expect

Akita Orientation is designed to give new JETs all the information they need to thrive in Akita. There will be almost no instruction on culture shock or other topics that were covered at Tokyo Orientation. If there is overlap with Tokyo Orientation, it is because we believe our presentations will be of more use. New JETs should leave the conference with a solid idea of what to expect throughout the upcoming year and the particulars of their specific area of Akita.

What to bring

Akita Orientation is considered part of your normal work activities and you are expected to dress professionally throughout the conference. Because the August heat in Akita is rather harsh, short sleeved collared shirts without suit coats or ties are appropriate for men (know in Japan as Cool Biz). Dress for women is business casual.

With the exception of a very few people, new JETs will be staying overnight at the Education Center during orientation. Assume you will be staying over unless you have been told otherwise directly from your CO. Showers and public baths for males and females are available. See Onsen Etiquette for using the public bath. Soap is provided but that is about all in the way of amenities. You should bring everything else that you need.

  • A bath towel & small vanity towel to cover up in the bath
  • Shower amenities other than soap and shampoo
  • Cash. There is no ATM at the center
  • Athletic shoes, should you need them

There is a cafeteria at the center where you can buy breakfast and lunch, although you should buy meal tickets as early as possible as they have a tendency to run out.

Keep in mind that the Prefectural Education center is not a hotel, but rather a training center for government employees. As such, please treat the building, staff, and others staying there with respect.

Dinner Party

The PAs have put together a dinner option for those interested.
Menu: Sushi dinner
Price: 1,000 Yen (all funds will be used to buy sushi, drinks, and utensils)

First Day

  • Akita Information
  • Workshop 1
  • Workshop 2
  • Block presentations/Getting to know your block

Second Day

  • Travel & Transportation
  • Laws and safety
  • Workshop 3
  • Workshop 4
  • Workshop 5
  • The health talk

Workshops

Education 101: The Basics

Have never made a lesson plan? No worries! We’re ready to give you all the information you need to plan various activities for the maximum amount of English fun and learning. We’ll also discuss the basics of Japanese classrooms, textbooks and working with Japanese English teachers (both pros and cons), in order to give you a good idea of the kind of work you’ll be doing regularly. Every situation, school and teacher is different, but we hope to give you a good basis of information from which you can easily operate during your time in Akita.

Marketing Your JET Experience

Teaching is how we spend a lot of our time here in Japan. However, if you don’t plan on going into teaching, what can you do now to market your experience? How can you use your desk time to build your resume instead of building karma on Reddit? We will discuss how past JETs have used their JET experience in fields outside of teaching and talk about what you can do over the next year to build up your resume.

LGBTQIA Survival 101

Coming to Japan is scary enough, but being a member of the LGBTQIA community can make it that much more challenging. But never fear: you're not alone! This workshop will attempt to cover some of the more basic situations you may encounter during your stay here in Akita, while providing a supportive, confidential space to ask questions and express your concerns. Please note: if, for whatever reason, you do not want to attend this workshop but still want the information provided, we will take notes of the questions asked, and post both the notes and the Powerpoint used in the workshop online later.

Overview of Schools

Between them, Dorene and Sasha enjoy teaching at elementary schools, junior high schools and senior high schools in Akita! They will provide an overview of what English education looks like at the various levels and an outline of ALT placement in specialist settings such as agricultural, technical and special needs schools. Dorene and Sasha will also talk through a typical day at school for an ALT and will give an overview of activities and approaches that have worked well for them. Please feel free to field any questions, concerns and queries you might have about what to expect from school life.

Rules of the Road: Licenses, Cars & Driving in Akita

We all come to Akita from very different driving backgrounds. There’s a lot of information that varies from country to country. Perhaps you’ve come to Akita with your International Driving License, you’ll be driving on the opposite side of the road here or you’ve never driven in snow. Don’t fear! We’re here to sort all the information for you, and provide you with the information most relevant to your situation. From obtaining a Japanese license, filling up with petrol to changing tires for winter, it’s all here!

Japanese Study

The JET Program provides you with a unique opportunity to learn Japanese, one that allows you to immerse yourself in the language and culture of Japan. In this seminar Colin and Alex will show you how to make the most of this opportunity by detailing the basics of the Japanese language, presenting some strategies for language study, and explaining the various ways to track your progress. A perfect seminar for complete beginners and advanced speakers of Japanese.

Community Involvement

While on JET there are many opportunities for you to be a part of a bigger community. This could consist of helping AAJ (Akita Association of JETs) with events, attending your local community events, organizing events for your community or ALTs to joining a taiko group. In this presentation we will be talking about AAJ and what it is and how to be more involved in your community and breaking the barrier between the new foreigner in town and your Japanese neighbors.

Teaching at Multiple Schools

Are you facing the prospect of teaching at multiple schools, and worried about the logistics? Well worry no longer! Colin and Andrew are here to give you their semi-expert, technically-professional opinions and advice on things like how to prepare lessons and materials for different environments, how to manage timetables and schedules (and how that affects your holiday time!), and how to keep up good relationships with teachers you might only see rarely. You'll soon see how teaching at multiple schools can “multiply” your fun!

Getting into Your Children’s Shoes

Being native speakers of English for the majority of our lives, it is easy to forget the trials and tribulations of language acquisition. As teachers of something second nature to us, it is also easy to lose our patience and empathy for our young students in the learning process. In this presentation, the tables have turned. Come remind yourself of the daily struggles and triumphs your students endure by immersing yourself in a language you don’t understand, and participate in a discussion emphasizing empathy, the reality of the classroom, and the importance of comprehensible input.

See also

Akita Orientation
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