Work as an English Teacher

Hello! And apologies for the silence these last few months. As most of you may know (and some may not), I’m on an brand new adventure: I got a job as an English teacher!!! <Cue dramatic music here> “DAN DAN DANNNNNNN.” If you told me I would be working as a teacher a year ago, I would have laughed in your face. LAUGHED. Implausible. Never gonna happen. Nope.

But here I am, a year later, doing exactly the thing I thought I would never do.

I’ve joined a private “Eikaiwa” English conversation school. My classes range from 3 year olds in the laps of their mothers’, to high school students studying for English proficiencies to apply for higher level post-secondary universities. However, the majority of my students are between 6-14 year olds. I have my own classroom, a set of 12 manuals for a year for every level, and a bag of games to fill the lessons with some activities and fun.

In January, I completed an intense 2-week training program in Osaka to learn how to “teach”. Unfortunately, there’s no teachers manual on how to become a teacher. The two weeks was an emotional rollercoaster for me, mixed with moments of doubt, stress, breakthroughs, and step backs. I can say without a doubt that it has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Luckily, I had a small group of fellow trainees that also felt the same way, and we stuck together through it all (and completed our bonding experience with a night of karaoke singing at the tops of our lungs). It also turns out that my feelings were shared by other teachers I spoke to. This brutal period turns out to be a kind of “right of passage”: To feel ill-equipped, under-confident, boring, and frankly, just terrible teachers.

My two weeks of training was a mix of studying, workshops, commuting, 4-5 hours of sleep and classes. Real classes with real students. Here, I will issue my official apology to those students: I am sorry for the terribly boring lessons. My. GOD. I am sorry. I tried, I really did, but it was clear to me (and to you probably), that I did not know what I was doing. However, I will say this as well: I’ve become much better. Much much much much better.

Back in Usa city, I started my first week of work with students during something called Parent’s Observation. This meant that parents would sit in on my classes while I taught my first lessons. This sounds insane, considering they would be judging their children’s educational quality down to a newbie, and that Peppy would actually allow this. That being said, through all my nerves and worries, the classes turned out pretty well, and I got my first taste of what a successful and fun class could look like.

I’m now officially done my first full month of working as an English teacher. I can say that things are getting easier. And, I think I’m a fun teacher. Am I allowed to say that? Too late, I already did. I still have my off days, or lessons that don’t go quite well. But I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t give a second thought to a day of 5 lessons, or that difficult student that is trying to test my boundaries, or no longer have those weird teaching dreams. Though my training was a time ripe with stress and anxiety, those memories are already being replaced with new ones. I have some amazingly awesome, smart, and funny students, and when a class goes really well, it doesn’t even feel like an English lesson. Everyone, including myself has fun. Who knew?