Hey there cyberspace! I hope your 2023 is off to a wonderful start!
For a lot of people, the beginning of a New Year is a time to start fresh! Normally, I don’t do anything for New Year’s, but this time, I decided to try something really big! Unfortunately, it didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, so maybe I should go back to my normal routine next year. Anyways, let me explain.
I’m sure you know that I’ve been at Fruitful English for a long time, and love teaching. I always live in Japan, and while my Japanese has been ‘good enough’ for a long time, I wanted to do what many of you are doing on Fruitful English: I wanted to take my language skills to the next level, learning from a native speaker and trying to get to that ‘native’ level!
So, I enrolled in a Japanese language school, and this was actually my first time formally learning Japanese. I’d always studied on my own, if not sporadically, from various resources online or in textbooks from friends. Plus, being lucky enough to be able to travel and live in Japan extensively, I always had opportunities to practice speaking with friends. However, I realised through my own teaching that the only way to improve is learning with a native speaker, so I signed up for a school in Okinawa.
Unfortunately, I learned quickly that there’s a big difference between a ‘good’ teacher and a ‘good’ school, and a bad one. And, unluckily for me, I got the worst of both. I won’t ‘name names’ as we say, but despite the school’s seemingly good reputation, they couldn’t have been much worse.
Despite promises of classes tailored to students’ level, and opportunities to practice, the entire class amounts to a ‘tutor’. You’re given a variety of teachers with widely varying competencies. Some just tell you to ‘ask them questions if you need it’. Others are good enough to actively sit down the students and help them through the textbook. But, in the end, it’s just that: a tutor. There are no lessons, where the teacher explains something for all the students. There is no ‘chatting’ where the teacher asks questions to give students speaking practice. In short, it’s a disaster.
I don’t want to end on a sour note though, so there’s a silver lining! As I always say, mistakes are good, if you can use them to improve! Well, though my school was disappointing, it’s inspired me to really study Japanese in earnest. So, it’s time to seek out a private teacher, and continue learning from comfort of my own home!
I’ll talk more about my journey next time! Get in touch if you know of a Japanese teacher too!
座右の名”The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”