You are currently viewing Working With ALTTO by David L. Hayter

Working With ALTTO by David L. Hayter

Bio: David L. Hayter is a teacher and freelance writer based out of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

He first gained experience in education by working as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Japan from 2014-2019. Although he primarily taught junior high school, he has taught all the grades from kindergarten through ninth grade.

During his time as an ALT, he worked in 11 junior high schools, 2 elementary schools, dozens of kindergartens with hundreds of Japanese teachers of English (JTEs) to teach thousands of students.

Aside from teaching, his other duties included training and managing new ALTs, designing and delivering teacher training workshops, and performing other duties for his local Board of Education (BOE).

Outside of work, he actively volunteers in his community, enjoys playing video games, loves to cook, trains hard, is working on a new podcast/blog, and helps run the ALT Training Online blog.

Working with ALT Training Online (ALTTO) has been one of the most positive experiences in my life, both personally and professionally. The skills I have gained and the relationships that came from it have helped me tremendously.

The first time I came across ALTTO a few years ago was completely by accident. The board of education I was working for provides one month of in-house training every August for new ALTs. As veteran ALTs re-contract throughout the years, they are expected to teach the newly arrived ALTs how to teach in Japan (it’s easy, right?).

A simple Google search for “ALT training” led me to the site and my mind was blown. It was like finding cheat codes for a game!

This was the first time I had come across a website dedicated to making ALTs in Japan better teachers. Best of all, there was no charge for any of the information!

What really drew me to the site is that it was made for ALTs, by ALTs.

These weren’t articles published for journals or posts about the struggles of one ALT. It was a systematic plan for what ALTs need to know in order to do their job well made by a community.
The site covered a lot of information and had opinions/information from many different teachers. The modules are also backed up with extensive research for those who really want to do a deep dive into ALTing.

Other sites and resources dealing with education and teacher training in Japan usually had some other kind of angle. This wasn’t the case with ALTTO.

To me, it seemed like other sites affiliated with the government were trying to portray teaching in Japan in a certain light. Other private sites were more focused on trying to sell a product/service.

After pouring over the site for a few hours, I noticed that there was a call for proofreaders.

I was getting into blogging and writing so I figured this would be a good way to help the cause, become a better teacher, and gain some transferrable skills all at the same time!

Initially, I offered to be a proofreader. After getting in contact with Nate (the founder of the site), he asked if I would like to take over the blog part of the site. He saw the work I was doing on my own blog and thought I could help out. This eventually led to me helping with other areas of the site like social media.

My work with ALTTO has led to opportunities to write for education blogs, be a guest on podcasts, and interact with professionals all over the world.

Although my time teaching in Japan has come to an end, the things I’ve learned working with ALTTO continue to help me for the rest of my life.

Companies and schools are looking for workers who are not only good at their job but are also skilled in collaboration using technology.

While my main motivation for helping with the site was to improve teacher training and education in Japan, it’s very true that this kind of experience does look GREAT on a resume.
Looking back over the past years, I never thought something I started doing during my downtime in October of 2017 would turn into a community of ALTs making a difference in Japan and across the world.

In closing, I’d like to give a big thank you to Nate, the team at ALTTO, all of our blog contributors, our readers, and everyone involved in the ALTTO community. Our work wouldn’t be what it is without you!

          A note from ALT training online’s David Hayter

If you have something ‘ALT’ to write about that hasn’t been covered in these blogs, email me at so we can work together and spread your story.

Don’t have any ideas? We have a list of topics to write about that need a writer. Email in your interest to write and we can set you up.