My Journey to Become an English Teacher in Japan #1

shin-mimura-japan-sakura-cherry-blossom-highway-city-at-nightToday’s post is going to be different to the ones I normally write. Instead of light-hearted reviews and general waffle about food, this will be more personal. Today I will do something I never normally do; I will talk about my ambitions, worries and hopes for the future.

Let me begin by telling you about one of my biggest passions. Reading. It’s one of those things people normally put down as a ‘hobby’ on job applications, or once upon a time on Myspace. So many people don’t realise it’s much more than that. The amount of people I come across in my job at a book shop who utter that horrendous phrase ‘I don’t like reading’, but don’t even realise how often they use this skill in every day life. To put it into modern terms, if you couldn’t read you would be unable to be superglued to your phone updating everyone about your every movement.

I gained a love for reading at an incredibly young age, and couldn’t shake it. As a consequence, English was always my favourite and best subject. I left school with an A* in English Language and an A in English Literature and decided to carry on with English Literature at collage, gaining another A. For some reason, I decided a career in Media was my calling and I’m now in my third year at University, studying Television and Film Production. I regret more than anyone can imagine that I didn’t take Japanese Studies. As anyone who has even glanced at my blog will know, I adore Japanese culture. The love I have found for learning their beautiful language makes me feel so annoyed with myself that I chose the course I did. However, the past is the past and I am trying to learn as much about the language and culture as I can by myself.

Since I am not fluent in Japanese, the one language I can teach is English. Luckily, I am just as passionate about the English language. There are so many things about the English language that are beautiful; certain words, phrases, the way they are laid out to make a sentence. And many of our words have been adopted from other languages, such as Latin and French. Language is an amazingly interesting thing, and I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out how much it means to me.

I realised just how much I aspire to teach English in Japan as I entered my second year at University. I wanted to have learned so much Japanese before I applied to teach there but time seems to have run away from me. It’s suddenly a couple of weeks until the applications for the JET Programme open and I am far from fluent. Luckily you do not need to know any Japanese at all to be accepted, but I feel like I’ve let myself down by not dedicating as much of my time as I could have.

One of the things I have dedicated my time to, is becoming a reading helper at a local school. I wanted to make sure I was heading down the right path this time, and for the past five weeks I have been volunteering as a reading helper to three 9 year-olds. Despite being seemingly unappreciated by the school, the childrens’ enthusiasm and eagerness to learn has made me certain that this is what I want to do. I’m worried I may have to give up this volunteering once the new Univerity year starts as I will have a huge workload this year, but I don’t want to let the children down. The three girls I teach do not seem to receive any support at home, and their reading age is nowhere near as advanced as it should be. I really want to help them and hopefully instil some passion for English in them too, but I’m also scared of letting my Degree suffer for this. I hope that if I do have to leave, someone else will be able to offer them the support they need.

I think this is probably enough of an insight into the workings of my mind for now. I’ve decided to include this in my blog as a kind of diary to go alongside my preparations for teaching English in Japan so there will be updates over the next few weeks on the application process and how I am coping.

Arigatou for reading
β™₯

9 thoughts on “My Journey to Become an English Teacher in Japan #1

  1. I wish you the best of luck! I am hoping to do the same as a career, but I still am having a conflict between teaching English in Korea or Japan. We’ll have to let fate decide that. γŒγ‚“γ°γ£γ¦γ­οΌ

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    • Thank you very much πŸ™‚
      They are both amazing countries so I can understand your conflict! I’d love to visit Korea but my heart belongs in Japan so it was an easy decision for me.
      I’m sure you’ll make the right decision, whatever you do πŸ™‚ I wish you all the luck in the world!

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  2. That’s really great that there’s an opportunity to have a reading helper at schools. Reading that part and thinking how much the kids are benefiting from it just gave me fuzzy sort of warm feeling inside. πŸ™‚

    Just proves that it’s never too late to do what you want to do! All the best and I hope you’ll achieve your goal.

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    • Thank you so much, that’s really kind πŸ™‚
      I think it’s great that the opportunity is there and when it’s done properly it’ll really help the kids. It’s just a shame that the school doesn’t seem to be taking it as seriously as I do 😦

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