The Part of Me as a Language Instructor

I just wondered if it would be interesting to write about my work a little. I have been working as a Japanese language instructor for some private language school for quite a while here in Germany.  I teach both directly at the classroom of the school and at the students’ companies. Majority of my lessons are for complete beginners, but I cover every level, including the native level. Most sign up as they are getting transferred to Japan near the future and some participate due to the urgent need of improvement of the language at their work. And I truly love every minute of my teaching path.

Most of my students are Europeans and it is always entertaining to see their reaction when they face the language for the first time. They always have the particular look of shock on their faces mixed with excitement and nervousness because compared to the major European languages they are familiar with, Japanese is just way more different, sometimes even beyond their imagination. Yes, the key is different, not difficult. And when they start to learn Japanese characters, the class becomes sort of like an art project, practicing drawings. The courses that start with memorizing the greeting words finish with my students holding solid conversations in Japanese in less than six months or so. What is not fantastic about being a part of the process? If you are a teacher, you know exactly what I am talking about.

The sad thing is though, it seems I must quit this lovely job by this summer. Our fate is calling us to move to the U.S.. We have no idea which state, yet, but I am desperately praying and hoping that I still get to teach somewhere. It will be more than delightful if I could teach in person, and I am also considering teaching online as well as creating podcast that contains short Japanese lessons, making my own textbooks or even doing something on YouTube although there are already so many similar things available. The hardest part is always marketing, isn’t it?

If you are a Japanese learner, please feel free to ask me any questions. And if you feel like you need extra help to improve your Japanese, how can I help you? And if you are already a successful self-employed teacher? What is your story? I’m dying to know everything.

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The Teacher Roy

The attraction to the novels by Soseki Natsume led him to the fate to work as an English teacher of the language school in Matsuyama, the left upper side of the western island of Japan. With the gray hair, the blue eyes, the fair skin, the black jacket and the big blue marker in his left hand, he stood in front of the whiteboard of the room 303 every Thursday. That was Roy. After all, he was just an English man. The question of his age was the silent taboo of the class, just like the fact that Soseki meant nothing more than the previous man on the 1000 yen bill to this girl who only lived for 10 years. His tall figure and foreignness to Japanese culture were often seen as coldness to the eyes of hers, but he always enthusiastically hand wrote earthworm-like words on her report cards, which nobody but he could decode. On Saturdays, passing right in front of her house, he joyously rode his bicycle down the road, always heading for Dogo, where Soseki lived and loved. For her, all of these were the charms of his.

In 10 years, Roy was, of course, still an English man, but he retired from work and eventually returned to England. With the white hair, the red sweater, the outstanding stomach and his favorite novel, Kokoro, in his arm, he slowly sat down on the old brown wooden chair on the night when the snow decorated the view from the window of his apartment. In the early morning, when the snow was still there, he opened up his old-fashioned black leather notebook and wrote down his memory of Matsuyama with the earthworm-like words, which nobody but he had to decode. When the sun boldly painted the gray sky of London, he took Bakerloo line from Paddington to Waterloo to see his wife’s smile in the hospital, thinking how Piccadilly Circus changed since the time he dated her. As always, as soon as he arrived to her room, he sat on her bed with his black leather notebook and spoke of his memory to her, which she loved more than anything.

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