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Questions for English Teachers 2010/10/20 14:53
For one, I am interested out of curiosity about this and I've decided to use this as a topic for a research paper. :p So, here are my questions. And feel free to answer the ones you want and to ignore the ones you do not feel like answering. :-)

1.) What made you interested in teaching English in Japan?

2.) What steps did you have to take in order to begin teaching?

3.)How long have you been teaching?

4.)What have been your greatest challenges not only as a teacher, but as a person living in another country with a very unique culture?

5.) Do you have to be fluent in Japanese to teach English?

6.) What have been some of the biggest surprises for you?

7.) Did the ''culture shock'' have a big impact on you, or did you adjust well?

8.) As far as expenses go, how much assistance do you get from your schools or your agencies when it comes to the costs of living?

9.) What age group of people do you teach?

10.) How do you deal with the multiple learning styles that may be found in a single classroom?

11.) Has the experience been worth it so far?

12.) Anything else you would like to share?
by penguin10916 (guest)  

teaching english 2010/10/21 11:56
Well this thread's gotten off to a surprisingly negative start. Lets get this back on track:

1.) What made you interested in teaching English in Japan?

I'm 4th generation Japanese and wanted to get back to my roots.

2.) What steps did you have to take in order to begin teaching?

I applied through JET during my last year of university.

3.)How long have you been teaching?

3 years full time at a High School on JET plus a few years of part time eikaiwa and off and on private tutoring since.

5.) Do you have to be fluent in Japanese to teach English?

You don't need to speak a word of Japanese, but every little bit you do know helps. Ideally though I think the teachers should be able to explain things in Japanese if necessary.

7.) Did the ''culture shock'' have a big impact on you, or did you adjust well?

Culture shock has never been an issue for me. It think it is partly because I am of Japanese decent, and also because I've always had a good support system around where I live.

8.) As far as expenses go, how much assistance do you get from your schools or your agencies when it comes to the costs of living?

The school helped me with a small no interest loan to cover apartment moving in costs since they exceeded a months pay. They also served as my guarantor.

9.) What age group of people do you teach?

Primarily high school students

10.) How do you deal with the multiple learning styles that may be found in a single classroom?

By varying my activities to suit different learning styles. Smaller classes were customized to individual students.

11.) Has the experience been worth it so far?

Definitely!!!
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

hope it helps 2010/10/21 12:26
1.) Wanted to share my culture with Japanese and make them want to get better at English

2.) A bit of training, some adopting of boring but proven methods

3.) Off and on for about 5 years

4.) Getting students interest in learning and understanding has been challenging depending on the type of student. If the person is just learning as a hobby, they seem to progress slowly and lessons are a struggle. If the person is proactive, then lessons are fun and fast. If the person is being made to learn English due to parental/company pressure, the lesson atmosphere is mixed: some just sit there refusing to speak, while some simply do the bare minimum to "advance to the next level".

5.) Fluency in Japanese is not necessary, but some things are best explained in Japanese from time to time. Example, explaining slang and jokes.

6.) What surprised me is how big a gap there is in students who can speak English well and those who can't. Many can read and write, but when it comes to speaking, too many are silent while an equal number are quite chatty. Obviously, the English learning regime for the past couple decades hasn't produced any significant "norm" of English ability.

7.) I adjusted well to the culture having already had a good understanding of Japanese society and culture. But younger generations keep it changing with every year.

8.) Aside from the salary, nothing else was paid to me. The salary was enough to rent my own living space and live comfortably. Private lessons helped earn extra money.

9.) Elementary to Junior High and adults.

10.) Multiple learning styles in a classroom at first are a pain, and it takes time to figure out which style is most effective for that particular group. But knowing as many styles as possible is best so one can adapt every time.

11.) It has been worth it and many friends and relationships have been formed thanks to the interaction and rapport solidified by lessons.

12.) From experience as a private teacher: I've found that teaching groups of students (2-3 or more) is not so fun for students because though they all might be at the same level on paper, their true speaking abilities are probably very different and shyness (of speaking in front of others) can be a real lesson killer.
by jmarkley rate this post as useful

proper reply 2010/10/21 14:03
Yes, definitely time to get the thread back on track- I wanted to reply properly but didn't have time this morning. Maybe admin could remove my response to the post that was above my earlier one since I don't think it contributes anything really, it was just a reaction to a post which has since been removed.

Here are my answers to the questions:


1.) What made you interested in teaching English in Japan?

Mostly I was just interested in living overseas and teaching English seemed a good way to do that for a new graduate who majored in languages. The working holiday visa system made it easy for me to come to Japan in particular.

2.) What steps did you have to take in order to begin teaching?

I answered a newspaper ad in my home country (this was pre-internet), went to an interview and got the job. I applied for a working holiday visa, and got on a plane to Japan.

3.)How long have you been teaching?

I no longer teach English but I did for the first 6 years that I was in Japan.

4.)What have been your greatest challenges not only as a teacher, but as a person living in another country with a very unique culture?

This is a very in-depth question, I would have to think about it for a while! Perhaps realising that there are people with very different backgrounds to me who think very differently, and this doesn't only apply to Japanese people, but the many other nationalities you meet here. Developing patience (still working on it...)

5.) Do you have to be fluent in Japanese to teach English?

Not at all, but it certainly helps with daily life.

6.) What have been some of the biggest surprises for you?

The summer heat and humidity, and the sheer amount of people that there are in Tokyo- coming from a small country I was not prepared for the masses in Shinjuku station when I first arrived there. I came here with very few preconceptions though, so not too many huge surprises.

7.) Did the ''culture shock'' have a big impact on you, or did you adjust well?

At first I lived in a small town in Nagano with a lot of people from my own country who came over on the same programme, then later moved to the Tokyo area. I think that helped me slowly get used to life here, so culture shock was very gradual. Being able to speak and read Japanese to a reasonable level before I arrived helped, as did not having many preconceptions.

8.) As far as expenses go, how much assistance do you get from your schools or your agencies when it comes to the costs of living?

Just my salary and commuting expenses were paid- that's fairly standard I think although some companies/programmes subsidise housing.

9.) What age group of people do you teach?

I taught everything from 3 year olds at a kindergarten to 83 year olds at community culture schools, but mostly adults of various ages.

10.) How do you deal with the multiple learning styles that may be found in a single classroom?

I mostly taught conversation to small groups, and as I (embarrassingly) have never been formally trained as a teacher I don't know much about learning styles!

11.) Has the experience been worth it so far?

At times teaching could be frustrating and tedious, but I think that it has played a huge part in shaping the person I am today.

12.) Anything else you would like to share?

That's all for now :-)
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

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