One of the most satisfying aspects of teaching at an English conversational school in Japan is that the majority of students are there precisely because they want to learn English. Granted, many of the kids (mostly those naughty, can’t-sit-in-their-chair boys) aren’t so thrilled about learning the language, but in every other case, a student is at my school out of desire.
I’ve now been teaching for about one month, and I’ve already begun to be proud of my students. The spectrum of people who come to our school and take classes is incredibly wide. Some want to learn English because it can help them get a better job or a promotion at their current job. Others want to study or travel abroad and want to be able to communicate effectively with other people. Some are already quite advanced and just want to polish their fluency. And there are even some elderly students who simply enjoy speaking in English as a hobby.
In a typical day, I usually teach five classes, each 50 minutes long. Some days are more busy – on Saturday, I teach seven classes. Usually, my kids classes are in the late afternoon, followed by adults in the evening. I also have private lessons, some really enjoyable. For example, I have one with a middle-aged man who is a neurosurgeon at the prefecture university. He is quite fluent, and most of the time we discuss current issues or compare aspects of Japan and the U.S.
In another class, a university student is going to study abroad in Canada next month, and just signed up for a few classes to improve as much he can before he leaves. I try to incorporate useful phrases and vocabulary for him to use when he moves. He’s very cheerful and friendly, and it really feels rewarding if I can help him even a little bit before he goes to Canada.
I also have a high-school student who wants to be an interpreter in the future! She always works hard and is the best in her class at using the correct intonation and emotion when we act-out situations in English.
I feel exhausted every night when I get home, but it feels great. With teaching, the personal interactions you have with people are amazing. While I teach them English, they in turn are teaching me how to appreciate every individual and just communicate with people you don’t know.
In unrelated news – the temperature in Japan is just about hovering on the uh-oh-it’s-about-to-be-summer level. I’ve started feeling the early warning signals of impending humidity-onslaught, and am not entirely looking forward to 2-3 months of uncomfortable heat. But, it’s all part of the experience! And in any case, the entire globe is getting hotter every year regardless, so it doesn’t make too much difference where you are.
Thanks as always for reading! Here are some extra pics: