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?