Daily Japanese Elementary School Schedule and Timetable
Coming from a Western country, your school day and the school day you'll be working should be about the same. Though the specific hours may vary, you can expect to arrive in the morning and leave in the late afternoon. My schedule is 8:15 - 4:25 but I've previously worked 8:00 - 4:00 and 8:10 - 4:15. (Are you seeing a general pattern?)
Depending on your board of education, branch, and contract type, these hours may not match yours. I know some people who can come in later, skipping the announcements, and showing up for first period closer to 9:00. I know people who can leave after period six ends, around 3:30. Like usual, every situation is different.
Within my working hours, I generally have between 2 to 4 classes a day. Sometimes I have zero, and sometimes I have five. It all depends on your scheduler, your teachers, your school, and the grades you are responsible for teaching.
The schedule of classes you teach will probably differ from week to week too, but there's really nothing you can do about it. However, I've included a glimpse of the average elementary school day so you can get a general idea of what you’ll be facing.
Elementary School Daily Schedule:
8:20 (chime): Homeroom starts
8:35: Homeroom ends / class announcements start
8:40 (chime): Announcements end / Period 1 begins
9:25: Period 1 ends
9:30: Period 2 begins
10:15 (chime): Period 2 ends / recess begins
10:30 (chime): Recess ends
10:35: Period 3 begins
11:20: Period 3 ends
11:25: Period 4 begins
12:10 (chime): Period 4 ends / lunch begins
12:55 (chime): Lunch ends / cleaning begins
1:10 (chime): Cleaning ends / lunch recess begins
1:30 (chime): Lunch recess ends
1:35: Period 5 begins
2:20: Period 5 ends
2:25: Period 6 begins
3:10 (chime): Period 6 ends / homeroom begins
3:15: Homeroom ends / school is finished / clubs and meetings begin
3:35 (chime): Clubs and meetings are finished
This is my average schedule. However, this does not mean that I follow this schedule every day. For example, on Mondays, there is a school-wide meeting in the morning, rather than an individual homeroom. Also on Mondays, the first graders finish school after fifth period.
These little anomalies vary from school to school too. If your JTE is good and responsible, they’ll explain them to you or even leave a translated version of a schedule for you. But most of the time, they overlook this detail and you’ll be left confused for a few days trying to adjust.
Again, your school may have a slightly different schedule. However, it is a general rule that elementary school classes last for 45 minutes no matter where you're teaching. Notice that the bell (chime) doesn't ring after every period. It's up to you to manage your time wisely and make sure you don't go over!
Apparently, a few writers are using these kinds of timetables for research accuracy. If you’ve stumbled on this post for that reason, feel free to contact me for any more information!