Akita Orientation 2016
- Check in time: 12:00 noon
- Where: The Prefectural Education Center, just outside of Akita City.
- When: August 16th & 17th
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 (known 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 including the following:
- 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.
Charity Akita arranged a sushi dinner option for the evening of the 16th.
Menu: Sushi selection with soft drinks
- Akita Information
- Workshop 1: Education 101 / Budgeting in Akita
- Workshop 2: The Art of Lesson Planning / Studying Japanese
- Block presentations/Getting to know your block
- Travel & Transportation [|Travel Info Cheat Sheet]
- Laws and safety
- Workshop 3: Getting into your Students' Shoes
- Workshop 4: Community Involvement, Charity Akita
- Workshop 5: Driving in Japan / Overview of Schools
- Mens / Women's Health in Akita
Education 101: The Basics
- Danie Manos & Jackie Francois
You’ve 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.
How to Budget your Time in Akita
- Nicholas Asquith
We all need to save, save, save, especially as new JETs! In this workshop we cover a multitude of places you should watch out for in order to stretch your wallet: from credit cards and bank fees to alternative cell phone options and 100 yen stores, you are sure to find a few tips and tricks in this workshop that will be a surefire way to rack up those savings during your first year.
The Art of Lesson Planning
- Jonathon Morris
Lesson planning can be daunting to inexperienced teachers and can even cause headaches to the most experienced. ALTs will often need to have input into lesson plans, create lessons using a textbook and some of us will be asked to lead classes totally! In this workshop we will look at ways to breakdown and give structure to our lessons so that whatever the lesson, we are ready!
- Jennifer Campbell & Jackie Francois
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 Jenny and Jackie 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.
Getting into your Students’ Shoes
- Keith Ikoma
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.
Community Involvement, Charity Akita
- Hannah Phillips & Michael Aubrey
While on JET there are many opportunities for you to be a part of a bigger community. This could consist of helping Charity Akita run events, attending your local community events, organizing events for your community or even ALTs joining a taiko group. In this presentation Charity Akita representative Michael will discuss event opportunities while North Block’s Hannah will be talking about how to break the barrier between being the new foreigner in town and getting to know your local community.
Making the most of JET
- Lynne Francis
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.
An Intro to Speech Contest Prep
- Brianna Hom
Many of you will be expected to coach students for English speech contests in the upcoming months. This workshop will give you an idea of what to expect and some tips for how to improve your students' speaking and pronunciation. As ALTs, speech contests give us an unique opportunity to help make a real difference to our students. Whether it is a custom-made Oscar-winning skit you have planned for your students, or the umpteenth iteration of the occult fan favorite “A Mother’s Lullaby,” Brianna’s workshop is sure to offer you some points in which you can improve your student’s performance!
Driving in Akita
- Jonathon Morris & Nicholas Asquith
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 Licence, you’ll be driving on the opposite side of the road here or you’ve never driven in snow. Don’t fear! Johnny and Nick are 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 tyres for winter, we have got you covered!
Overview of Schools
- Jackie Francois & Cari Johnson
Between them, Jackie and Cari 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. Jackie and Cari 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 in Akita.