Thanks to Twitter, last Friday I was informed that it was National Teacher’s Day and it couldn’t have been a perfect timing coz about the same day I got news about contract renewal in my other part time job as an English tutor to Japanese student. It’s been one year, how time flies quickly!! And so, for this new hashtag #mondaymusings I made a list of things why I really really appreciate this other job of mine. J
1. In this job, I get to portray different roles and hone my skills. Versatility – I love that. Some teachers prefer to teach at a certain age range only, but in here we get a diversity of age range who takes our lessons. The youngest I’ve taught so far was a 5 year-old girl (blogged here) but I don’t have any idea as for the oldest. I do have a regular 50-year old woman who lives in Okinawa and I actually treat her like a grandmother coz she often tells me a lot about Japan’s history. J I noticed that most of my regular students are engineers/ technical people (probably because they think I can relate to their field and more often than not part of the lesson sometimes is to discuss some technical aspects of their job. My favorite type of lesson though is the free-talking since I get to play “Oprah” and interview /draw my shy students out. With this diversity, one is required to wear different hats. Either that of a playmate who needs to convince the student to read the book, an audience to a sales engineer preparing for his presentation in English, an adviser/ reviewer of a student’s technical thesis, etc.
2. Meeting different people and making an impact on them. I’d have to say one of the techniques in becoming an effective teacher is to really love them. And sometimes it wouldn’t hurt if you fancy one of ‘em so that you give your damn best every session. LOLs. But seriously, the closest I’ve come to is Yutaka-san. He is one of the most diligent students I know and he regularly took my class right after he took my first lesson when I was just a trainee in the company. Last month, he gave me a short note saying temporary goodbye since his workload wouldn’t allow him to take lessons anymore. This is what his note says:
I'm sorry in such a short notice but it's hard for me to study english in _____ now.
because my work becomes so busy due to some my coworkers leave my office.
actually I have to go to work even on holidays now.
so I offered to suspend a lesson to ______ office.
but I'll surely come back when it'd resolved.
I'll never leave ______ and I want you'd teach me again.
so I don't say good-by.(^o^)
Kana has same thinks.
You are real my english teacher Ms Cassey.(^o^)/
Prior to this, I had the privilege of meeting Yutaka-san’s family. Every Sunday, he would invite his daughter Kana to join the latter part of our lesson because I reiterated to him the importance of learning English at a young age. Sometimes his cute son Kato would join too. It’s a nice feeling knowing that they’ve somehow treated me as a part of their family. J I look forward to the time when they will be able to resume lessons. I’ve also met some students who has already gotten used to my style of teaching that they wouldn’t wanna be taught by any other tutors in the company. :p And can you just imagine how rewarding it was for me when some of reached the goals they set for themselves in the TOEIC exam!! :D I know the credit isn’t due to me but still it was nice hearing about their accomplishments!!
Aside from engineers, new friends/ students who are all eager for me to visit Japan so they can show me around, I had the chance to meet s scientist working on polymers in the US (wowza!!), a physical trainer of the astronauts in NASA Japan (who gave me a glimpse on how it’s like to work for in NASA), etc. It’s a two-way learning process only if you are skilled enough to ferret out information from them. Hearing them also talk about their country only enhances my desire to see Japan and meet them personally. :D
A friend once asked me if I could do something without being paid to do it, then that is your vocation. I answered him that yes I can probably do teaching for free (along with some other things I love :p). Yes it's true that teaching will not make you rich but if you're dedicated enough you'll appreciate the rewards that come from it. :)
And because this post isn't complete w/o pictures, here's a few snapshots of my teaching looks. LOL!