I had a student study today. She is rather special in that she is one of the first to start at my school back in 1999. She is now a married housewife. Back when she first started studying English she was an OL. After a few years got married and quit her job. Her husband’s job moved her to Korea for a year, therefore quitting Smith’s. She stayed in Korea for a year and took up Korean lessons. She moved back to Japan, but her new apartment was a 45 minute ride to my school. This didn’t deter her from wanting to come back. Actually before coming to her Smith’s lesson, she studies Chinese in Kyoto.
Anyhow, I started off the lesson with the loop and wrote on the board, I prefer (a) to (b) because (c). I gave her an example and in return she said “I prefer English lessons at Smith’s to Chinese Lessons in Kyoto because Smith’s makes me feel relaxed. I said to her, that’s a really good example. She said, it wasn’t an example but the truth. I told her to elaborate on it. Her comparisons were rather different. Her Chinese lessons were stern, strict, and repetitive and therefore she was somewhat afraid to make mistakes, not to say she wasn’t learning from them, she’s a very good Chinese speaker. Commenting on her English lessons, they were the total opposite. She could express her feelings openly within a friendly relaxed atmosphere and wasn’t afraid about making mistakes, moreover, other students she learns with are relaxed too, making it a fun lesson. She also mentioned the same when studying in Korea. She said that it would be far harder to have the enthusiasm to go to her Chinese lesson after studying English, that’s why she always takes her Chinese lesson first.
Ending, she took a lesson a few weeks back with another housewife, after the class they took the train home together, she said to me how happy the other student was that she was studying at Smith’s and wished she had found my school earlier.
This gives me reassurance that Smith’s lessons are well organized, fun, never repetitive, relaxed and above all flexible.
These little things I hear from the students are sometimes surprising, rewarding and moreover gives you satisfaction that our system works making our jobs a whole lot easier.