Teaching in Kanazawa

Teaching in Kanazawa has been an eye-opening experience that’s for sure. I work at a small private conversation school (eikaiwa) and have learnt a lot about the local area through my students. Some like to take me out drinking and share stories from their life and others are happy coming week after week for their good dose of meaningful English.

I moved to Kanazawa from Tokyo with a desire to explore Japanese life outside of the big city. It certainly has been different, it’s smaller, has a lot of parks within close proximity the main station and has plenty of Universities. I like it because when I’m sitting on the train or riding I see some of the most beautiful mountainscapes I’ve ever seen.

I’ve made quite a few friends here with both Japanese and foreigners and find the pace of life here a lot more manageable compared with the ‘grind’ I experienced in Tokyo. You kind of need a car here especially in the winter months but I’ve managed quite well with my bike since arriving in March.

I get to most of my kindy classes on the bike and arrive with a mixture of dread or utter joy depending on which one I’m going to. Let me explain.

Most kindergartens are run in the most strict and regimented of styles; don’t let the cute cutouts that line the classroom walls fool you, these are designed to give the prison, sorry I mean, ah, kindergarten a sense of serenity and fun. Well to be fair this is the case in the minority though I do find it things here to be quite regimented regardless of the level of fun.

If you do get a chance to teach kindergarten kids English you’ll see a very strict and guiding hand active within the classes, it seems consistent with the rest of the Japanese schooling system so this needn’t sound alarmist. There are always beautiful charms where the kids have freedom to give you a nice big hug if they desire and then the not so nice experience of witnessing a militaristic interpretation of ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. True, I taught them the lyrics, gave the notes to the teacher, taught them a few groovy AKB-48 moves and within a month visited again to see the most sadist version of ‘If you’re happy’ I had ever seen. Oh well, each to their own. I didn’t come here to change Japan.

So as you can gather I like to promote a fun learning environment where children can learn without realising they’re learning because the class is so engaging. Sure, the fact that I am likened to Mr. Bean usually helps turn a stale lesson plan into a magical English ride.

Well, I’ll be writing again soon, left things way too long before I said hi again. Till next time!

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A bit about me

So, you’ve probably seen my youtube introduction and wanted to check out my page.

If you hadn’t seen it here it is http://www.youtube.com/user/TheEnglishandTea

So, a bit about me. I’m Australia and currently live in Japan.

I’ve taught English to students from all around the world from the heart of Columbia and Brazil to students from South Korea, China and Thailand. Before teaching English I taught a choir and coached several soccer teams. I love seeing people grow and develop and now that I’m teaching again in Japan I’m excited because it’s something I’m passionate about.

I love making music, singing, dancing, snowboarding, writing and especially talking. Ahaha, yeah I have to admit it.

So that’s a little about me. Come and say hello and join me for tea.

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And now we start

First week of teaching kicked off with the trial at Jingu-en cafe in Omotesando and then down in Ebisu.

It’s an exciting adventure for me because I love teaching, seeing people grow and developing their skills. I can’t wait for the next class because there are always people who want to learn for travel, work or personal development. So many reasons for so many people.

For myself, I’m learning Japanese to improve my skills and also to prepare for the next wave of Japanese business excellence. Am I dreaming? Perhaps, but it’s a dream worth believing in as more and more of Japan sinks to all time lows on economic and social scales.

So what did we talk about in the first lesson? Well, clubbing and bush walking basically. 2 couples meet in a club and talk about their love of bush walking. It was a good chance for my class to practise their general conversation skills and I’m happy to be a part of it.

Great work guys, see you soon.

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