While my job is to teach English I find that the best way I can help students improve their communication skills is by getting to know them. Teaching grammar is essential in the beginning levels but as students improve the more we can understand who they are as people the better we can teach them. It’s great finding out what students really love and discussing it with them during our free conversation time. At times students do need to be taken out of their comfort zone and have to deal with topics they are unfamiliar with as they will lead to new vocabulary and really challenge students. However people in general like talking about themselves, I know I do, so I encourage my students to share their lives with me. This month I learned that one student was having a photo exhibition so my wife and I decided to head down to Umeda and take a look. As photography is one of my interests it really inspired me. In fact I took more pictures yesterday than I had in over two months (well, excluding pics of my kid). When I get a chance I’ll upload a few for people to take a look at. Later this month I’ve been invited to my student’s “Nou” performance and I’m really looking forward to it I’ve never had a chance to see it performed before. Although I can’t attend everything I’m invited to I really do appreciate being asked. All I can say is that it’s great being an English teacher in Japan.