The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (BOE) conducts bus excursion tours for young people for a reasonable price. These bus tours are unique because the sites visited are not the usual sites such as; the Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, or the aesthetic water front area, but the city’s schools!
The tours are organized to attract and recruit people interested in the teaching profession. Learning about the benefits of being an educator by visiting schools and experiencing first-hand what it is like to be a teacher may inspire participants to pursue a teaching career at a Tokyo school.
The tours are given four times annually. The first three visits are to schools. The last tour is an overnight excursion to three schools and the BOE’s Training Center. The schools visited vary and include: elementally schools and schools for handicapped pupils both located in urban and western residential areas.
Participants will observe class activities and have the opportunity to communicate with pupils and teachers. Afterwards, while on the bus there is a question and answer segment that reinforces what took place at the schools, highlighting the experience and lessons learned from interaction with students and teachers.
Partakers are university students outside the sphere of the Tokyo Metropolitan area. Parents and university teachers can also take part in the tour. Participants pay about forty dollars for the daytrip or one hundred dollars for the overnight trip. Transportation, food and hotel accommodations are provided by the Tokyo BOE.
Currently in Japan, a majority of baby boomer teachers are retiring at sixty years of age. So, recruiting young teachers is critical for Tokyo. Since young university graduates are unable to find jobs in suburban locales, Tokyo BOE hopes these tours will garner bright and talented young people to become interested in teaching in Tokyo.
Tomoya Suzuki, Japan Local Government Center