SOSA CITY, JAPAN–
Today was a wonderful day. I’ve started school this week was my first full jampacked week. I teach 1st, 2nd and 3rd year high school students.
So far, I love the kids. Getting to know them is so much fun I can joke around with them, sometimes in English sometimes and Japanese sometimes both.
A lot of the kids dream of traveling abroad and making friends with foreigners, which they detail in English-writing journals. They are incredibly shy. I can barely get some of them to talk, and when I do, you can barely hear them. I am still getting used to the school system, but one of my goals for the year is to not only teach them English but also Improve their confidence in their own speaking abilities… We have a long way to go.
My favorite part of the day is working with my speech kids. The kids are under a tremendous amount of pressure, so anytime we can help them laugh or smile AND learn is a plus. My speech kids write their own speeches in English, then will compete at performances against other Japanese high school students. The kids are very motivated to learn pronunciation and to try to make it sound natural. Just as I struggle to make my Japanese speaking sound natural, it is hard for them to know when their voice should change rhythm or sound, like when asking a question. I enjoy coaching them.
The best feeling is watching them get it, really get it, and improve. It’s an odd feeling to be so happy and energized by another person’s accomplishments.
But I don’t see them as faces in a crowd of 1000 kids anymore — they’re depending on me. And in many ways i depend on them. I can speak candidly with them about what they know and don’t know to try to tailor my lesson plans better, and it’s nice to know at least one kid in class will talk AND listen kt you. I’ve already reached these kids in a matter of weeks, which I am immensely happy and proud to report… Now for the other 70 or so… Who I will personally teach….