April 25, 2017

JET teacher Laurence's April 2017 Blog Post!

Hello everyone! Laurence here.

Being an ALT is a lot more work than it might seem. Of course, your responsibilities change according to the needs of your working place but here at Seiritsu, ALTs do a lot more than planning and teaching classes. Here are a few examples you might find interesting.

One thing that sets Seiritsu Gakuen apart from schools in Tokyo is its international department, for which JETs do a lot of work. We look after international students during excursions and support them as fellow foreigners in Japan. We also take part in important school events, like rice harvesting, entrance and graduation ceremonies, during which we can be in charge of taking pictures or video footage. The JETs are also in charge of overlooking the English Conversation Club, which takes place once a week. This also includes organizing seasonal parties for our club members as well as decorating.

Seiritsu's ECC at Christmas time!

Speaking of speaking English, we also have ﹍English Conversation Lunches﹎ with selected groups of students outside of class. We also help some of the older students practice for important interviews (for college, eiken etc.).

One of the major changes that took place last year was the addition of the extensive reading program to the English department. The books we received had to carefully be cleaned, sorted into levels, coded with coloured stickers and filed into our online database before putting them in the shelves. This was no easy task, as we already have over 600 books in the extensive reading room.

Recently, we have started recording ourselves reading some of these books out loud as well, so readers can follow along as we read the books to them.


I hope this blog post gave you a little more insight in what us ALTs can do. We have to be flexible in order to make it work but it﹊s these challenges that make our work more exciting – and impactful – in the long run.

See you next month!

Laurence Dubé

April 18, 2017

JET teacher Teresa's April 2017 Blog Post!

It﹊s April and it﹊s muggy with the faint hint of past flowers.

As I was walking to work this morning, I saw that my favorite cherry blossom tree had revamped: it went from fashioning itself with pretty, flitting pink petals to the thick green leaves weighing the branches down. Alas, the hanami season is over and the new school year is beginning.

As part of the new school year orientation, the junior high school students and international students walked all the way to Asakusa! It took them about 2.5 hours, I believe. Furthermore, they had missions throughout the journey; they were required to take pictures, get signatures, and interview foreigners in English.


The students in the middle of their trek to Asakusa


Students in the middle of interviewing.


Students who are resting after finishing their trek and their missions.

It﹊s my second time partaking in the day camp in Asakusa. Last year, the students wore their uniform because the weather was mild, but this year, the weather was on the hotter range, so students had the freedom to wear regular clothes! I know at least one student excited about wearing their regular clothes to school.


The cooling wind as shown by the furins.

The day itself went well as it was sunny, but cool in the shade. The students had fun and seemed to have bonded with each other despite some language barrier. Personally, it was satisfying to see the international and junior high school students mingle.

April 10, 2017

JET teacher Teresa Talks about Spring!

Happy spring!

Spring is my absolute favorite season, and I can﹊t be happier that I can finally put away my heavy winter jacket!

Spring in Japan is all about the cherry blossoms and its ephemeral beauty, so you will see many people taking pictures within the first days of it blooming. Most celebrate the season with hanami, or ﹍flower viewing,﹎ in parks, but I did something different.

I decided to paint my own sakura tree in an event similar to Paint Nite in downtown Tokyo. It was held in an underground cafe/restaurant that gave California vibes. I learned later that the owner is actually from California and most of the workers speak English.


The cafe/restaurant graciously pulled down the blinds while the materials were being set up.


A sample of the artist﹊s work.


The provided materials to draw a sakura tree.

I am an absolute beginner in painting, but I love creating art. The artist went step by step, teaching the basic skills before letting our own creativity fly.

Below you will see my art﹊s progress:


Painting the background


Drawing a branch and a couple of clouds to fill up space


Adding a moon to further fill out space


Finally filling out the branch with sakura. I also splashed some paint to make it look like a sakura shower, but it just looks like I accidentally dropped my paint brush on the canvas.


Let﹊s compare my painting to a real tree! This tree is from Sophia University.

Painting was so much fun that I am determined to go to the next one!

April 7, 2017

Heisei 29 Entrance Ceremony

Today is our entrance ceremony for the new academic year.


The cherry blossoms were originally expected to arrive early but they held off and are in perfect condition for the beginning of school. It is considered a lucky sign.
It is also looking like it might rain but so far it has held off as well.
With our largest starting class to date, it is looking like a wonderful start to the new year.

Best of luck to all of our new students and to the students moving up from our junior high school.
We are looking forward to creating many lasting experiences and memories over the next three (or six) years!


March 23, 2017

JET teacher Laurence's March Blog Post!

This year sees my second graduation day as a teacher in Japan.

Seeing a graduation from a teacher﹊s perspective is much different than what I expected. Last year was my first graduation at Seiritsu Gakuen. Since I don﹊t teach the third years of high school, I didn﹊t know most of the graduates that time. I saw it as a cultural experience, learning about how a graduation ceremony can go in Japan.

This year was when the sad feelings hit. I hadn﹊t taught most of the graduates in a long time, but I still saw them around, saw their performances from their clubs during events and it hurt to see them go.


One of my colleagues and best teaching partners also told me he would not be working in our school next year, which is also a reality teachers have to deal with as the new school year approaches.

Overall though, I﹊m happy for the students. They made precious memories in our school and it﹊s because they had a good time here that they﹊re sad to go. Other places and opportunities await them. They﹊re smart and talented in all sorts of ways. I wish them the best of luck in the future.

In the end as a teacher, a lot of things are out of your hands. So personally, I just want to strive to influence my students﹊ lives in a positive way.

Next year, I will ﹍graduate﹎ from this school as well.
I want to keep trying my best as until then.

Laurence Dubé

March 17, 2017

Junior High Graduation

Today we are holding our graduation ceremony for the junior high students.


They have finished three years of junior high (grades 7-9) and will now move on to senior high school (grades 10-12). Almost all of them will continue on at Seiritsu but, out of those, quite a few will go off to the more challenging levels. Regardless of the level, we know they will all do well and we look forward to spending the next three years helping get them ready for university.


Congratulations everyone!


March 5, 2017


Today is the graduation ceremony for our high school. For three years (or six for those who joined in junior high), these students have worked hard and created some great memories here.
Congratulations, and Good luck with everything in The future!


March 4, 2017

Home Stay Orientation

Today is our final meeting to prepare for the upcoming homestay trip. On April 19th, we will be sending around 60 students to Australia for a ten-day homestay experience.

We have been doing this annually for over 20 years but the recent numbers have been really encouraging.


I know this trip will create so many lifelong cherished memories for most of the kids going. Who knows what the seeds will grow into...


February 23, 2017

JET teacher Teresa's February Blog Post!

"Good evening, folks.

We have breaking (satirical) news from the English Conversation Club at Seiritsu Gakuen: it was discovered that rabbit-dog hybrids in the form of a tired angel and a chicken as well as actual chickens were drawn on the whiteboard. There also seems to be a Chinese vampire/zombie/ghost called 殭閨, pronounced as goeng-si in Cantonese and 平亦件扑□ in Japanese, in the mix.

Below is evidence of the act:


According to Eyewitness Brent, there were five students present around the time the creatures were drawn.

Another eyewitness who wished to be anonymous but who was willing to say her name started with an ﹍L﹎ and ended in ﹍-aurence﹎ said that she may have seen some of the students who drew it. She added, ﹍They were really talented.﹎

An expert was called in to analyze the picture. According to the expert, there is an actual arm visible in the picture. We did not realize that. She has calculated with 99.99% certainty that it﹊s a student﹊s arm due to the uniform.

If you have any information about who was responsible for these beautiful pictures, please contact us immediately. We love chickens, and it﹊s not because it is the year of the rooster.

Live in the Seiritsu headquarters, this is Teresa."

February 13, 2017

JET teacher Laurence's February Blog Post!

Hello everyone! Laurence here.

Setsubun is the last day before the beginning of spring in Japan. It is celebrated every year on February 3rd. Though the Japanese don﹊t celebrate the Lunar New Year nearly as much as Korea and China, Setsubun is associated with the idea of bringing luck for the year to come.

On that day, a member of the household puts on a Japanese demon mask and roasted soybeans are thrown at them in order to chase evil spirits from their home for the next year. This custom is called ﹍mamemaki﹎.

Though performed by people of all ages, this custom is especially enjoyed by children, who love dressing up and running around. Some people also go to temples where this ritual takes place.

As with most customs, there are many different variations on how it is celebrated throughout the country and in individual households as well. Some people use peanuts instead of soybeans. Some people also put talismans (which can be made with sardine heads and holy leaves) on their door to keep bad spirits from entering their home.
Sushi rolls are also popular during Setsubun. A variation called ehomaki, or lucky direction rolls, are placed on a plate pointing to the lucky direction of that year.

As a foreigner living here, I love that Japan still embraces customs that go back hundreds of years. If you ask most people if they believed that evil spirits were going to enter their home if they didn﹊t perform mamemaki, they would probably say no. Yet, a lot of people still take the time to do it.

I hope to be able to perform mamemaki with someone one day!
See you next month,

Laurence Dube



about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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