When my job makes me smile

Posted by in Mary's blog

Some days I really look forward to the weekend. I get tired of not understanding the Japanese instructions given in English class by the Japanese Teacher of English (JTE) and the miscommunications that happens as a result of the language barrier but when I come across something like this I can’t help but smile (name erased for confidentiality).

For the most part my students are excited to see me. Many students happily call out my name when they see me in the hall. They are excited to speak English. Another student wrote about her excitement of learning to speak English and wanting to travel abroad. She said if she didn’t speak English her world would be sad. Of course there are students that aren’t excited about having to learn English. Like studying French in Canada some students don’t see a use for English in Japan.

I am teaching Junior High School students in the small city of Fukui and one day a week I visit a small JHS school in Takasu with a great view of the sea of Japan. The students range in ages from 12 – 15 years. They are full of energy and are a lot of fun. Their English vocabulary is very limited though which can make conversations difficult. I have found the Japanese Teachers of English to be very kind too. It’s nice not being alone in the classroom and as the assistant English teacher the workload is much lighter for me than that of the JTE. I plan and play English games with my students, I read out new vocabulary words and dialogues from the textbook and have the students repeat after me to help with their pronunciation, I make worksheets, I correct and grade their English writings, I eat lunch with my students and attempt conversational English (we both try our best), and I keep a bulletin board going.

Yes, somedays are challenging but in the end I’m really enjoying my job and hopefully becoming a better teacher.