As I mentioned in an earlier posting I thought I introduce some of the students at Smith’s 英会話 Hirakata that inspire me to be a better teacher, if it weren’t for them I’m not sure I would have grown as much I have. That’s what I love, students that challenge me to be better. As they grow, I, too, must grow. The better they get, the better I must become. I believe that we’re all in a constant state of change – either for the better, or unfortunately for the worse. Few, if any of us, ever try to become worse but all that is necessary for that to occur is not work at being better. Stop exercising for a few months and you won’t be able to maintain that dynamite body you have. Stop studying and you’ll soon forget what you’ve learnt (I know b/c I used to be a good speaker of Japanese). Continual study and exercise is the only guarantee of growth.
One such student is a junior high school student and I have been teaching them for 3 years now and I must admit that during the first year I had my doubts as to whether they would be able to learn English – their homework was always the bare minimum (something I am familiar with because I used to do the same thing years ago). It wasn’t hard to figure out that they had done it just before class and hadn’t spent much time on it. It got so bad that I had to explain to sit down and explain what I expected of them which was homework that
1. was neat
2. had new vocabulary in it (with the Japanese written above those words so they wouldn’t forget it)
3. was not repetitive
4. took over 20 minutes to do
While it did take some time they did get the message and nowadays their effort in their homework has translated into a larger vocabulary with which to carry on conversations with. Just the other week when I asked them “How tall is your friend?” They responded by saying, “He’s as tall as you.” While that may seem simple for native speakers I have found that few young students would choose to use such grammar and simply say “Same as you” or perhaps “181cm.”
While their effort hasn’t quite translated into high grades at school yet, I am amazed at their progress and believe that the foundation they are building will serve them well into the future.