As I mentioned before, I was picked to be a participate in an English camp and it will definitely be an experience I will always cherish.
Teaching the lessons was new for me, but when partnered with at least one other TUJ student, we always bounced ideas off of each other and got the activities finished. I learned that if the lessons are fun, the students are more likely to want to learn and participate, so we got the students involved as much as possible. For example, for the Olympic Games lesson, after the students finished one of the worksheet activities we had 3-5 of them come to front of the class and when we gave them an Olympic sport, they would model it. As an alternative, we would model and the students would have to tell us which sports we were acting out. It was something that made the rest of the class laugh and put them in good spirits because it was fun (and who doesn’t like fun, right?) so they participated more.
We also rewarded the students whenever they conversed with us in English. Each student was given a card with 10 circles and each teacher was given stickers. We gave the students stickers only if they approached us and spoke English. However, this couldn’t be a simple “Hi, give me a sticker.” They needed to engage us in conversation by asking us questions and talking about themselves. These Q&A sessions mostly took place during mealtimes and in between classes but it was about more than giving them stickers. It gave us an opportunity to bound with the students. I met a student who absolutely loves Elvis Presley and the Jackson 5 despite only being 15 (Yep, good music has no age limit). I also met students who enjoy the same anime and movies as I do. I got to know a lot of the students and we shared a lot of the same interests.
Overall, I think all of the TUJ students came to the consensus that during these two days, it really felt like we were celebrities. Crowds of students would surround us to ask us questions and take pictures with us. During the last day, there was time set aside for picture-taking before everyone was free to leave so once finished, a fellow teacher and I started to make our way back to the main building where our luggage was. Within five seconds, three students came up and asked to take pictures with us. We finished and two seconds later, another five students approached us for the same thing. At some point we decided to run and after managing to get five feet closer to the building, SURPRISE, more students and more pictures. Once finished, we ran while saying to each other, “No more student. No more students. No more students!” Despite our short-lived celebrity status, we had the chance to write short personal messages of encouragement to the students and I truly felt like I was their 先生(teacher) . 私の心は幸せでした。(Watashi no kokoro wa shiawasedeshita = My heart was happy.)
I’m extremely glad I got to participate in an English-teaching event while in Japan. I think it has furthered my desire to want to teach here after I graduate. As a teacher, I became a different person. The quiet, reserved person that most people know me as became loud and animated for her students. The students at Yamato Nishi High School were wonderful and I feel like even though it was a two-day event, we really bonded. I see so much potential in them and I hope to see them again in the future. However, if I don’t, I still wish them all well in whatever they pursue.