It’s almost the end of the school year here in Japan and it’s also time to renew the Where? There! Teach. domain. It’s a time to reflect and look ahead to the next school year.
Stats ‘n’ That
In case you didn’t know, Where? There! Teach. is not just this blog site. It has a presence on nearly all of the big Social networks. It’s through these social channels that I try to engage my audience and spread the various travel memories, Japanese experiences and teaching tips that I fling up here. Over the site’s current lifespan of two years I’ve had varying degrees of success in tackling so many outlets at once.
As of writing this is how many followers I have on each platform:
It should also be noted that although the Twitter follower count is so high, a large number of those followers are not real accounts or are owned by people unlikely to engage with the site’s content. However, it’s still true that those three networks with the highest number of followers are the ones where I get the most comments, likes and interactions.
I put this down to a number of factors. First, I have a lot of friends on my personal Facebook who were kind enough to follow my page and they often comment and like things I post. I’ve found Instagram to be a wonderful tool for taking and sharing quick pictures of life here in Japan as well as for highlighting travelling and teaching moments. The Android app also makes it easy to engage others through comments and likes. Similarly I found myself really enjoying Twitter through its app and actually feel like I’ve met and befriended new people through using it, which is something that’s yet to happen on other platforms.
I’ve decided that I can’t really support this many online outlets at once, so I’ll be deactivating some accounts over the course of this year. The first one for the chop is Pinterest. Although I like the site and its accompanying app, it just takes too much effort to keep updated. Whereas other social networks can be frequently posted to using automation (WordPress Plugins and Buffer cross-posting) I’ve found Pinterest doesn’t play nice with this due to it’s unique setup.
Automation means I could keep the Google+ and Tumblr accounts running with minimal attention but I’m considering shutting down the Tumblr and putting more effort into Google+. My reasoning for this is based largely on demographics. Tumblr is mostly for the young guns and artists, whereas Google+’s user-base has a wider age range and broader interests.
It would make no sense to discontinue the YouTube account but I would like to push its popularity with more content and engagement of other Travelling/Japaning/Teaching YouTubers.
End Of The School Year
The last classes of the school year always bring a few tears to my eyes, especially when it’s with students I’ve seen more than once a week for the past year. Even if students don’t improve too much academically over the year it’s still common for a bond to form between student and teacher. I always try to make our last lesson together a fun one with team games, candy and usually Jenga (more on that in a later post).
I’m always flattered whenever students and teachers give me gifts. I know not every EFL Teacher gets gifts when they change schools so I consider myself lucky to have received so many snacks and message boards over the years. The hard part is throwing away old ones when the container holding your “school memories” starts overflowing.
As well as wrapping up the school year with tests and graduation ceremonies, another big part of finishing off the year at a Japanese school is the drinking parties. There’s the big official one which is usually held on graduation night; there’s lots of speeches and toast, similar to the bonenkai (End of the calendar year party) but a bit more formal. Then there are usually some smaller parties grouped by faculty or age group. There may also be one for any retiring teachers, which are also quite formal.
As a private company employee as opposed to a JET or direct-hire teacher, I don’t always get invited to the smaller, more personal parties. However, every year new foreign teachers come to Japan to replace those who’ve decided to return home for whatever reason. This means that around this time there’s usually plenty of Farewell and Welcome parties to attend. Whatever situation you’re in, this can be kind of a big party season.
Just as Where? There! Teach. will be changing over the coming months, so will I. Every year there is a possibility that I will change schools and areas. This means I’ll be meeting new students, new teachers, new neighbours and adapting to a new routine and living space. This will also mean plenty more material to pump online!
On top of that I will be devoting more time to studying Japanese as well focusing on improving my health through exercise and meditation. All this, plus so much more lies ahead in this new school year.
Thank you so much to everyone who’s read, shared, or commented on articles both here and on other platforms. I really appreciate all of the feedback and I hope my thoughts and ideas can support and entertain many more people in the future.