The first year of teaching is always difficult, whether you are working for yourself or for a large company. Working for yourself presents a few extra complications and worries, and I must admit that I didn’t always have a lot of confidence in what I was doing or how I was doing things. I had some concerns about the curriculum and the decision to live and work in Tokyo. But things change…
I think the turning point for me happened about eighteen months into my Smith’s Shimokitazawa experience with one student, I’ll call her “M”. She was one of our first students and as such she would always manage to have a class alone. When M started she was a low pink and tried very hard in class, even doing some of the exercises that I suggested at home. On a very small level I thought I saw some progress, but it wasn’t until we both saw just how much she had improved that we became excited. In her seventh or eighth month at Smiths she had the opportunity to have a class with two other low level pink students, and to put it simply she ran circles around them.
To be able to share in her pride and surprise at her progress was the most rewarding and inspiring event for me. It showed me, M and the other two students that the Smiths curriculum really works!
M continues to study hard and can now tell me about her recent business trips where she has the opportunity to use English as an international language.
This may seem like a very small thing, but to know that my efforts actually have an effect was all the motivation and reassurance that I needed.