Soon my son will be turning two, hard to believe because it feels like just yesterday that he came into my life. In the West we have an expression we use to describe this time of his life – “the terrible twos.” Now it turns out that our son has decided to get a head start and is already causing mayhem (in both good ways and bad). I suppose it must be frustrating for him to know what he wants but to be unable to express it to us in language that we can understand. It takes a lot of guess work and effort on a parent’s behalf to keep a child happy. But the rewards are staggering. One of the secrets is to keep things fresh. It’s amazing how just a slightly different approach feels brand new for children. Play a game individually and it’s one game, play the same game as a team and it’s entirely different. My wife is amazed at how creative (or she might mean silly) I can be. I just believe that if one thing doesn’t work, try something else. And if that doesn’t work, try again. Too often people try something once, don’t get the result they were after, and quit. What a shame. It’s amazing what can be accomplished by just applying a little effort.
In many ways I could say the same thing for teaching English. Having taught for over half my life I have come up with so many ways to approach different situations in the classroom. As each student is an individual, being able to understand just who they are and what they like goes a long way in inspiring them and knowing how to help them reach their potential. At Smith’s 英会話 all the teachers are given a dedicated system that works allowing students ample time to USE their English and at the same time freedom for the teachers to keep things fresh. 4 years ago Soapbox was created for the teachers to share their experience with people who wanted to know what life was like in Japan but now it has become a community where teachers share their ideas and experiences with other teachers as well as students. And while it might be slightly hard for some students we now have a Japanese blog so that our message reaches them as well. Recently we have introduced a TOEIC listening practice site for those eager beavers. I wonder what’s next?!
It’s truly amazing just how far we’ve come as a group. 9 years ago when I started out in Hirakata I was all alone but now am lucky to work alongside some wonderful people that make teaching an even more rewarding job. I am able to share my knowledge with not only my students but my co-workers as well. Together we are building a strong foundation that will allow us to handle the demands of our growing student base.
Life is meant to be fun. Learning is meant to be fun. So go enjoy yourself and challenge yourself to try new things. That’s precisely what we do at Smith’s.
ps. A great big thanks to all the students that are reading this. It always inspires me to want to write more 🙂