ALT Corner

ALT Corner

PTA Party

This week, students had their mid-term exams. While they were working hard, the ALTs had a party with the PTA. For some of the ALTs, this was their first meeting with the PTA.

 

Members of the PTA had a chance to ask questions and learn more about the ALTs and their home countries. This was also a chance for parents to speak English with native speakers. Afterwards, the ALTs tried kirigami with the parents and had the opportunity to chat with them.

 

This was my first time doing kirigami. Although it was hard, it was a lot of fun and very rewarding for me to complete my kirigami rabbit! The ALTs also had a wonderful time chatting with parents in both English and Japanese. I’m looking forward to next year’s PTA party!

 

Catriona

Second Year

Hello! It’s me, Tunji! I can’t believe I have been working at Wakoku for a little over a year now. I initially arrived on September 13th 2021 but I didn’t start working until the 27th of that month. Getting used to Wakoku was initially difficult at first because of the pandemic. Over time many things got easier. Getting along with students was initially very difficult as there wasn’t much opportunity for me to talk with them in class. Due to this a lot of students got the impression that I was a scary person or that I wasn’t interested in talking to them. Of course this was not the case. As things calmed down I’ve gotten to know many teachers and students very well. Though it has already started I looked to what will happen during my second year at Wakoku. 

Sports Day

Hello everyone! It’s Jade writing this week. I hope you are all enjoying the cooler weather lately. This week I’m going to write about one of Wakoku’s biggest school celebrations.

This week students and teachers all celebrated the sports festival together. What is the sports festival? First of all, in Japanese, the sports festival is called “undokai.” In Japan, schools host two festivals each year. The culture festival and the sports festival. For this school celebration, students participate in various team sports such as relay races, tug of war, and the typhoon event.

As a foreigner, I had never seen the typhoon event before. I thought it was really interesting. To do this event, students huddle together as a team in four rows. The four students in the front are holding onto a long pole. First, the students with the pole must run together to maneuver the pole around some obstacles. Then they must get everyone on their team to jump over the pole which is followed by passing the pole over the heads of the rest of the team. Finally, they pass the pole to the next four students, and everything repeats for another round. The first team to complete ten rounds is the winner!

After the sports events are finished, all of the students participate in a cheer competition. Although everyone participates, it is really the 3rd year students who shine the most during the performances. Students do all sorts of cheers and dances. It was amazing to see how much hard work the students put into preparing their performances. If only they could put that much effort into their homework!

English Lunch

Before the COVID-19, English lunch was an everyday affair at Wakoku. You might be wondering what English lunch is. It was started with the aim to encourage students to converse in English. And what better way to do it than to have it in a relaxing setting and over food (the Singaporean in me says, “Yeay!”). Armed with their lunch boxes, both the ALTs and students would gather in one of the seminar rooms to chat.

 

However, COVID-19 threw a wrench in this plan as students are now encouraged to not talk when they remove their mask during their meal. Seeing that there will not be any changes to this rule anytime soon, but we would still like to increase the students’ exposure to English, English lunch was revamped to be an English Cartoon session. And on September 27th, we had our first English Cartoon session.

 

To start this session off, students were shown Spongebob Squarepants in English with English subtitles. Since they would not be talking while they watch the cartoon, students were allowed to bring their lunch boxes and eat as they watch. Even though it was only opened to the Year 1 students, the turnout was better than expected. With this success, we have decided to hold a second session for the Year 2s and 3s on October 11th. Keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the turnout will be as good as the Year 1s.

Preparations for the Sports Festival

This week, the third year students have been preparing for the sports festival.  Before and after school, the students have been practicing their dance performance for the festival. Since this will be my first sports festival at Wakoku, I am looking forward to the event!

In Australia, the school sports festival is a little different. The events at our festivals usually include shotput, high jump, long jump, running, and relay races. We also have another event in the year called the swimming carnival, where students compete in races for backstroke, butterfly, and so on. I am looking forward to seeing the different events at the sport festival at Wakoku.

Good luck to the students who are working hard for the sports festival!

 

 

 

Catriona

Club activities during the summer break

Hello it’s me, Tunji! Unlike most people, I didn’t travel during the summer break. I honestly didn’t have that much time off to begin with. While I was working I took the opportunity to check out the various club practices that went on during the summer. Apart from ESS, I took the opportunity to watch the girls basketball team and the Shorinji Kempo club practice. I had been previously invited to watch the basketball play so I took the opportunity so as it was easier to fit in my schedule during the summer. As for the Shorinji Kempo club, I've always been interested in martial arts so it was very interesting to watch. One of the members even placed 4th in a national competition everyone is so talented.   

About club activities at Wakoku, especially about Handmade Club

                   Welcome back to the start of a new semester. It’s Jade writing today! Let’s talk about clubs at Wakoku today. In particular, I’d like to tell you about the Handmade Club!

                   Handmade club happens every Tuesday after school. In this club, students can learn how to make delicious food with their friends. Usually, we cook something sweet. For example, we have made chocolate chip cupcakes, delicious crêpes, and last week we made decadent French toast. So many of the students at Wakoku are already amazing chefs and can make some great-tasting food. Hopefully being able to cook together at school inspires everyone to keep on trying new things in the kitchen.

                   In Canada, my home country, there usually aren’t after-school club activities like Handmade Club. Instead, Canadian students can experience the fun of cooking during Home Economics class where they learn how to make all different kinds of food. In Canada, I enjoyed taking Home Economics class and now I’m enjoying seeing how a similar activity happens in Japan.

There are many differences in the tools and equipment used in Japanese kitchens vs Canadian kitchens. Canadian kitchens always have large ovens and stove tops but there usually aren’t things like gas ranges and rice cookers. Japanese kitchens use chopsticks a lot more in cooking and make much better use of the microwave. In the end, however, equipment and tools don’t matter as long as there is tasty food being made and enjoyed by the people close to us.

Let me give a huge thank you to Handmade Club for letting me join them and share in the joy of cooking together!

A Little Taste of Home

Welcome back to school!

 

This summer, I had the chance to pop back into Singapore for a visit, after not being able to go home for the past two years. To say that I was excited was quite an understatement.

 

I have always heard about how people would experience reverse culture shock after being overseas for a period of time and I had a taste of it on my first train ride back in Singapore. Having been used to the tranquility of Japanese train ride, it took me awhile to get used to the chatter that is common in trains in Singapore. The moment I got on the train, I was greeted by many different conversations spoken in different languages. In that short 20 minutes train ride, I heard an Indian mother talking to her child in Tamil, a pair of Filipino ladies talking animatedly in Tagalog and a group of girls that looked like they were of high school age gossiping in Singlish. Gone was the tranquility of train rides that I had gotten so used to in Japan. In its place was a variety of conversations in different languages (and sometimes volume that borders on invading personal space). The short train ride itself was a glimpse of Singapore’s multi-cultural society. It was at that moment that the thought, “Ah, welcome back to Singapore!” popped into my head.

 

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time back in Singapore tremendously. There is just something about home that settles the heart. Even though I am not much of a foodie (a person who loves food and is very interested in different types of food), I found myself seeking comfort in the familiarity of the taste of local Singapore food, especially those found in hawker centers (non-airconditioned food courts in Singapore). The dish in the picture attached to this article is Fried Hokkien Mee, literally ‘Fujian Noodle’. It is a dish of stir-fried noodles with egg, pork slices, prawns and squid. Even though it is named ‘Fujian noodle’, it is not known to the Fujian province in China and had been created by Fujian sailors who came to Singapore after World War II. I chose to feature this because it is one of the local foods that Singapore is known and the best that I had during this trip back home. Please try it if you ever visit Singapore.

 

I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit home this summer. This little taste of home had recharged me, and I’m all geared up for the new school term. Looking forward to an exciting school term ahead!

Joint Class

Hello it’s me, Tunji! Towards the end of every semester Wakoku holds some joint classes with other schools. The English ALTs also take part in some of these joint classes. Wakoku is rare in the case that it has 4 English ALT’s working at the school. Not many schools have even one ALT. Most of the joint lessons held with the ALTs are with the neighboring special schools. Due to the pandemic we are unable to go to the schools in person instead we hold these lessons on Zoom. The lessons commonly consist of self introductions from the ALTs and students along with activities about the things we like. It’s an interesting change of pace from

the normal classes that we have at Wakoku.

Exam Week

                   This week at Wakoku, students have been writing their end of term one exams and teachers have been busy working through grading the piles of exams that have stacked up on their desks. Thankfully it’s not been as hot this week as the last, so everyone is feeling at least more physically comfortable now that the mental discomfort has gone up.

                   Students in Japan write a lot of exams compared to many other countries in the world. Japanese schools divide their academic year into three different semesters. Each semester, students write midterm and end of term exams. These exam periods are in addition to any extra tests and quizzes that are given during regular class time. Students also must worry about things like entrance exams to even get into high school and later again when applying to university.

                   This leads to a lot of studying. Japanese students are master studiers. Coming to school in the morning during exam week, students can even be seen doing last minute studying on the trains and busses and even some as they walk to school. The amount of effort that they put into their studies and at achieving academic success is inspiring.

                   Hopefully all of their preparations have paid off and the students of Wakoku will be proud of themselves for their achievements in the first term of this year.