“Hiroko” joined Smith’s Hashimoto one year ago as a private student. During her first few months, she was very shy and reluctant to take chances with the language, and I (wrongly) assumed that she was a beginner. A very serious person, not one to smile much, she absorbed each lesson very well, always acing the following week’s review. One day I decided to try a less-structured lesson and give her a “push” toward using English in a real conversation, and to my surprise she began talking about herself and what she had done with her life so far.
She went to a university in Tokyo, and during the last year she lived alone in Ikebukuro near the school. At some point she fell into a serious depression, but she was able to graduate and find a job in this area. She felt the need to do something for herself, face her fears and get active, so she began taking guitar lessons. Not long after that she came to me. I was very touched with her honesty and trust in me for sharing such personal information, moreover, blown-away at her hidden ability to speak English.
Having never been outside of Japan, six months ago she told me she wanted to take a trip, and finally settled on going to San Francisco- by herself. To make a long story short, I walked into her first lesson of 2015 to see a huge smile on her face as she said “I did it!” She did some truly amazing things- jumping on buses, trains, ferries, ordering food, talking to people, etc., beaming as she told me about her trip while showing me photographs. This young woman is a perfect example of what we try to do with our students, and that is build confidence in using the English language. She is on fire now, already thinking about where to go next, and I am delighted with her progress, especially over such a short period of time. Learning and using English has done her a world of good, and given me a huge dose of satisfaction. Thank you, Hiroko!