Japanese High School – 2/6 – Staff Room

I left the principal’s office feeling confident. On the way to the teachers room, I saw a few girls in the hallway. “The Italian teacher is here!” they said in Japanese.

I was introduced to the Vice Principal in the staff room. He gave me a warm handshake and said hello. He spoke to me in English. He spoke with warmth and confidence. He introduced me to the English department. There were twelve members in total, but I would be working directly with three, the Oral Communication 1 teachers.

The head of the English Department, Ms. Sakagawa, showed me my schedule. It showed twelve classes per week. Each class was 50 minutes. There was also an English Club for 40 minutes on Tuesday afternoon. I would teach 1A to 1F, 40 students per class. For OC1, the usual class of 40 students was split the in half. I would be teaching twenty students at a time. School would start at 8:30 and finish at 4:30 for me.

He introduced me to the OC1 teachers.

Mr. Itō

A polyglot with native Japanese, advanced German and English, and intermediate French. He majored in German literature. I was very happy to find out he enjoys speaking French and playing Go. He was critical of Japanese bureaucracy and culture, and extremely knowledgeable about a variety of things. He kept to himself a lot but has a great sense of humor. Every summer, he travels to Europe to avoid the Japanese humidity. He said he preferred living the Euro-Mediterranean life. He has an official Japanese to English translating license and has taught high school English for over 25 years.

Mr. Katsuta

Friendly and laid back. When he was young, he wanted to be a pro soccer player. When I met him, he was in his 2nd year at YHS. Before YHS, he taught at night school. He had many interesting stories about teaching there. In Japan, most Japanese teachers of English speak too much Japanese in English class. This was not the case for Mr. Katsuta. Our classes were English Immersion.

Mrs. Ōki

A sweet, older woman in her first year at YHS. She used to teach junior high school English, but she came to YHS as a substitute for a teacher on maternity leave. She was interesting to work with and friendly. I think she was originally from Kansai because her dialect and personality had a taste of Kansai.


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