I wanted the chance to travel abroad and live in a foreign country while also teaching children and adults the English language. English is probably the most widely used global language and being able to communicate with my Japanese students and co-workers was inspiring, rewarding, and educational.
What inspired you to teach ESL?
Why did you chose Amity?
I chose Amity, which used to be a part of AEON, because I wanted to try teaching various ages and education levels. I taught students as young as 1 year old to as old as 50 years old!
Describe your day to day activities as an teacher in Japan.
I went into work about 45 minutes before my scheduled time so that I could ease myself into my routine and see whether anything unexpected had popped up. I helped change humidifiers, printed out attendance, wrote out lesson plans, and prepared any props and materials necessary for my classes. Sometimes I had to interview prospective Japanese teachers. I would ask them several questions that required certain tenses (past, present, or future) and then listened to them read a short story to hear their pronunciation and test their reading comprehension. I also had to hand out fliers at the local mall sometimes or post them in a neighborhood by the school. Otherwise, I taught anywhere from five to eight classes a day from either 12 to 9, 11 to 8, or 10 to 7. At the end of the school day, everyone had to complete his or her assigned chore, which could be cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, wiping doors and walls, or cleaning windows.
How has this experience impacted your future?
After working in such a rigorous environment, I am definitely more patient and more capable of adjusting to new challenges. I feel more worldly and more tolerant of other cultures, and I want to use my experience to help myself professionally and personally so that I am a better worker and a better individual.
What is one piece of advice you would give to others thinking about teaching abroad?
Be prepared for different business practices and different attitudes about education. In my workplace, my manager preferred to micromanage everything and everyone, which could be intimidating and even felt invasive. That was just her personality, though, and the school functioned very well. Also, be sure to communicate as much as you can with your boss(es) and co-workers, If you have an unruly student or are having difficulty explaining lessons to a class, ask for help and even supervision if necessary.