I’ve been teaching English for over half my life now…Looking back I’ve been lucky enough to have met some lovely people. As I also studied Japanese for quite some time I have been able to become a student of why Japanese people choose certain words for various situations or why they use certain grammatical structures to create various sentences. Seeing students improve and use their English to improve their livelihood gives me great joy.
However, I am rather saddened that many students after studying abroad think that their English study is done, because they can communicate quite smoothly. For those students lucky enough to get such an experience what often happens is that they become very comfortable using English, almost too comfortable. Many pick up a lot of slang along with some choice words. The biggest problem I find though is that they are limited to certain situations, business not being one of them. And more often than not, those people with a good command of English get jobs in which they are asked to utilize their skills on a regular basis and this is where they run into trouble. Unfortunately most people only realize this after a few years time. When they do finally decide to take the classes they find out their English has deteriorated since they came back to Japan from lack of opportunity in speaking it. So it makes their job that much harder.
People often say to me that they want to learn English NATURALLY…which does definitely help but just learning something naturally doesn’t make you great at it. In my experience, regardless of what field we look at, the only thing that can make us great is hard work and dedication. In other words, study.
I wish there was another way because studying does take time. It does take effort. And it’s not always cheap. We all have two choices; to be more than we are today or to be less. I have dedicated myself to becoming the best teacher I can be and to share my knowledge with my students, my friends and those that are interested. We never know what tomorrow brings but if we prepare for it by making ourselves more valuable then the future will always be bright.