Wednesday, April 12: I’ve almost finished my first full week of teaching with Westgate Corporation at Aoyama Gakuin University Sagamihara Campus. My employer is actually Westgate, and they hire us out to the university. The university’s program is a two-year program within the School of Global Studies and Collaboration; I teach second year students who will be going on a study abroad in the fall semester to either Malaysia or Thailand. We’re supposed to help them improve their English skills for their study abroad program; this program is meant to enhance their understanding of different cultures.
Here are some pictures of the campus.
According to the university website, the university was founded in 1949, offering an education in line with “the founding spirit” based on the Christian faith. The aim is to nurture individuals with a strong sense of social responsibility and morality to contribute to ever-changing society. The university is also strongly committed to language education and international exchange to promote international understanding.
Though the university was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church, and there is a chapel on campus, neither students nor faculty are actually required to be of the Christian faith. However, we can hear church music and bells on campus, and students have a special chapel time set aside each day.
Our teacher office is in the building on the right in the photo below, and the huge cafeteria is on the left. Bento boxes are offered by kiosks, prepared meals are sold in the 7-11 on-site, and hot meals are sold in the sprawling cafeteria. There are displays of the food, and machines that list the price and the dish in Japanese (machines on one wall name them in English, thank goodness). You push a button on the machine, put in your Yen, and then collect a ticket. At the back, you take your ticket to one of the serving stations depending on what you ordered: a station for udon, ramen, soba, fish or chicken dinner, etc. You then stand in line, hand your ticket to the ladies behind the counter, and they serve you up!
I have three classes of 18-20 students, 56 students altogether. I teach all three classes for 90 minutes each on Monday, Thursday and Friday; on Tuesday and Wednesday, the three classes are spread out over two days, giving us some planning time. I plan four classes a week (repeating the lesson for each of my three classes). I work 9:30-6;30 on M-W-F and 8:40-5:40 on Tu-Th.
If it seems confusing, you’re right, it is. I have to keep referring to my schedule to see when I work and where I go to teach and which classes I have. But, that is always the nature of teaching.
So far my students are a pleasure and seem eager to improve their English for their upcoming study abroad.