Now, my feelings regarding these lessons have changed. A while back, Mark Smith recommended reading the Robert Kiyosaki “Rich Dad Poor Dad” series and I did. From that point, I read several other books, one being “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. One common point that both books make is that we can’t let ourselves be controlled by the fear within ourselves. In my particular case, I tended to fear making mistakes and the unknown. With respect to the observation lessons, I dread screwing up in front of everyone, or not knowing what someone is talking about. The point I learned from the books and Mark (almost every time we talk) is that we learn from our mistakes and not knowing something should motivate us to want to find out the answers. To sum up my observation lesson experience, I’ve learned that there is always something new and fresh I can learn from listening to others’ advice.
Last Friday, I had a big observation lesson (kenkyu jugyou) at one of the Junior High Schools that I teach at and as usual the stress nearly killed me, but it made me stronger. First, here’s a little background information. Observation lessons are quite common in Japanese Schools. The purpose of the lesson is to let co-workers observe and critique the lesson. In some cases, they are used to evaluate the performance of the teacher. I’ve had several whoppers. The one I fear the most is in November. Several hundred people come from all over Japan to see the lesson, including top officials from the Ministry of Education and some of the best Educators in the field. I used to worry so much about these lessons that they actually caused some ulcers.
When considering our Smith Schools of English, the same should hold true. We should never get too comfortable and cocky with ourselves. We can and should always continue to learn and expand. Otherwise we could get left standing in the dust. But, it’s not just learning new stuff. It doesn’t hurt to do to a little review or refresher course from time to time. I’m planning to do the Smith training courses this summer with one of the new teachers working at the Smith School of English Tsuruhashi Franchise. I know there’ are things I’ve forgotten and heaps of new improvements too. Finally, I don’t think it would hurt to have another franchisee or two, or even Mark himself to come by your school from time to time to observe and share some of their comments and advice with you. The worst that could happen is that you’ll learn something new and grow from the experience..