On Smith’s blog we discuss a variety of topics all revolving around our English conversation school business. We blog about our curriculum, teaching techniques, suggestions for how to improve communication skills. Often we discuss our company philosophy and our approach to coaching students to communicative confidence. One aspect of our school we rarely discuss is the core of it all: our English conversation students. Jim from Smith’s School in Sagamihara recently published an interview he did with one of his students. It was nice to learn so much about this particular student. I wanted to introduce a few of our students in Otsu as well.
Who are these wonderful people who we spend time with every week in our classrooms? They come from all walks of life. Different ages, different backgrounds, different careers. All of our students come to us with their own goals and dreams and we do our best to help them. The following 4 students kindly agreed to share a little bit about themselves.
The International Traveler
Masako is a retiree. She started studying at Smith’s School of English in Otsu in 2002 at the age of 53. Masako worked as a designer for over 40 years. She is artistic and creative and loves to travel. As she often goes abroad with her husband or friends, she needs English to travel. More importantly however, she has made numerous international friends over the years and she likes to communicate with them. She prefers to meet them face to face but she also sends letters, emails or enjoys video chatting online. As an extra way to sharpen English skills, Masako recommends to her fellow students doing crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble. She enjoys reading novels in English, especially hard-boiled detective novels.
Working Hard @Home & Abroad
Taro is a laboratory worker at a mid-sized company in Osaka. He has 3 kids and enjoys traveling with them to Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan, when time permits. Taro joined Smith’s School of English Otsu because he was promoted at work and needed to communicate with foreign partners. He often has to travel to various overseas factories during production sometimes for weeks or even months, working hard to see his projects through to completion. Without English, Taro could never do his job. He has been studying with us in Otsu since 2015. His original purpose for coming to us was for business English, but we now talk about a wide variety of topics. When necessary we help him with reports, presentations and so on, but he also wants to be able to enjoy casual conversation with overseas colleagues.
Studying Abroad & Having Fun
Anna is a university student who is studying to become a teacher herself. Aside from basic English skills, we discuss the concept of teaching, and education in general. She has done study abroad in Canada and Hawaii and goes to a university with a focus on languages. Anna joined our school in 2017 as she still wants to improve and expand her English knowledge. Furthermore, Anna loves Hula dance and often takes lessons with Hawaiian teachers in English. She keeps in touch with friends she made during her study abroad and home-stay. In class we often talk about her school studies, practicum and teaching techniques. As I also have experience teaching in public schools, we can have very interesting conversations in class. She has been an English conversation student in 4 different countries, and continuously improves her abilities. Good job!
Meeting Her Favorite Singers
Satoko is an office worker. She loves music and many of her favorite musicians are English speakers. In order to understand their lyrics, as well as read their blogs and social media posts, she started studying English grammar and vocabulary. Satoko often travels to Canada, the USA and Europe to see concerts. Sometimes she pays extra for “meet-and-greet” where she can meet and chat with the artists one-on-one. She came to Smith’s School of English in 2012 after attending a meet-and greet event and not having the confidence to speak well. Since joining our conversation school she has attended many such events and often enjoys 5 to 15 minutes of conversation with her favorite singer! Satoko likes several Canadian musicians, so I really enjoy talking with her about Canadian music, people and culture.
Students Who Inspire
Over the years we have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of English conversation students to achieve their goals. We are proud of the work we have done together and are happy each and every time a student succeeds. Honestly speaking, we have too many wonderful students to be able to introduce them all. These four are each unique and exceptional in their own ways. They inspire us to do the best we can in every lesson. We wish them all the best of luck in their endeavors.
About the Author
Hello. I’m Edward Iwaskow, Smith’s School of English, Ohtsu, Owner and English Conversation Coach. Originally from the city of Nanaimo on the west coast of Canada, I have been teaching English in Japan since 2007. In my free time, I enjoy cycling and hiking, as well as studying Japanese and traveling around this beautiful country which I am lucky to call home.
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