Yesterday, one of my current students had a chance to sit down and talk with another potential student who had just returned from the UK where she worked as a ground staff employee for ANA (All Nippon Airways). My student is now in the process of taking interviews for such ground staff positions and flight attendant positions with some major air carriers. The potential student, who I met through another of my current students had agreed before hand to come a few minutes early to talk with my student.
This kind of networking between students can be a very positive experience. Left on their own they sometimes become very nervous and distraught when they are not selected after going to the last of 4 interviews etc. They really need to hear from another person who has “been-there-done-that” and survived.
In this particular case, the potential student who is a high level student and had come to take a trial, was so kind and reassuring to my student that I could tell that she was greatly relieved after only 15 minutes of talking. The potential student just told her about her experiences studying and working abroad and about the many other young people who she met there from Japan who had gone to the UK after failing to land a job in Japan. The main point she made was that it was not the end of the world and should she not succeed this time in Japan, she could absolutely enjoy and benefit from the experience of living, studying and working abroad. This potential student was an inspiration to my student and what she said really made my student feel much more at ease with her situation. I had been telling her the same thing for the past two weeks but coming from another person her age, the message really hit home.
Such networking among students can really be a positive thing for them. I encourage it through a once-a-week activity I call the “Okamoto Night Out” which is a free talking time in a local cafe. The students appreciate this time and join when they have time.
It really makes me feel good to see such an exchange of opinions that are relevant to the students’ current life situations. It makes me feel like I am doing much more than just teaching English. I am facilitating this networking between students and they, I think, appreciate this gesture from me and realize that they most likely would not get this kind of help at most of the other schools.
I never cease to enjoy this job and to find pleasure in knowing that I am providing a valuable service for my students.
Al Bartle (Smith’s School of English – Okamoto)