For my CIP, I was able to be an English Teaching Assistant at Kita-Oji. Back in America, I teach high-school students every week, so I really looked forward to connecting with students in Japan. At first, organizing a set time for my CIP was extremely hectic. My sensei wanted me come on days I had time, but that resulted in me coming in on different t days every week.
My first day was nerve wracking. It was a Friday, so there’s were 2 1-hour classes. The first class had 4 elementary students, while the second was 2 junior high students. Primarily, my role as an assistant emphasized pronunciation and it was my job to say words/phrases from the textbook so that the students knew how to say it. Aside from that, I would sing songs with them, play games, ask them questions, and reading to them! I wanted to learn all their names, but that was extremely challenging the first few weeks, especially with having entirely new students almost every week.
Classes would go by really fast and since the classroom was in my sensor’s house, on days when I stayed late, I was able to have dinner at her house. At those meals, sensei and her sister feed me their homemade bread and their handmade glass sculptures, and we would talk about Japanese culture, their family, and their past experiences in America.
As the weeks passed, and I started coming in only on Tuesdays, I got more comfortable with teaching. It’s fun to watch the students run around and hide before class, so they can jump out and scare each other. It’s even more amazing to watch their continuous growth week to week. They’ve gone from being shy and mumbling their unsure answers to proudly saying “Next Page” before I do, and loudly counting all the way to 20!
Each and every person involved in my CIP was so precious to me. I’ve been absolutely honored to be able to meet them!
Getting to see your kids make progress with English sounds like a great time. What was it like communicating with the kids? Did you find it difficult?
It was so much fun! My sensei pushed only using as much English as possible, so I would teach in English and she would translate if the students didnt understand. But they picked up on English quickly in my opinion. Big words, of course, were a no-go and they were also really shy. However, sensei had put up a cute christmas tree and the students were enamored. They would ask me for the name of each ornament in English and spent the day running around yelling “Christmas Tree!” It was very cute.
This sounded like a great experience! It seems amazing that you were able to not only interact with people of different ages, but also engage in more conversations and activities beyond the assistant teacher’s role. I am glad that you were able to have a good time and find something that fitted with your interests and experience.
Thank you so much Angel! I’m glad I received this opportunity as well. It makes me extremely happy to know that I enjoy teaching regardless of what country I do it!