My last student on Saturday evening surprised me a bit when she thanked me for teaching her English and said that most of all, she was thankful to “get used to” talking with foreign people by learning English from me. She said that she often gets approached by foreigners who ask her directions on the street and could not respond to them before but now can do so. I told her that I was happy to help her “get accustomed to” speaking with foreigners.
So as an English teacher in Japan, we also serve a different purpose, we are here to help our beginner students get used to speaking with people like ourselves. We have to remember this and always be polite and helpful. We are, in a way, cultural representatives our of countries and must take this responsibility seriously. But this can also be a fun and rewarding responsibility.
Al Bartle (Smith’s School of English – Okamoto)