My first class as a Japanese Language Teacher

I had mentioned a few weeks ago about my wish to teach Japanese. The idea was born out of two things

  1. This blog which documents my journey as a self-learner
  2. My need to stay connected with the language

Around two weeks back, I had reached out to the language institute I had attended for Japanese lessons in search for a weekend teaching gig. I had some experience teaching random subjects to 15-17 year olds back when I was at university and thought teaching a language would be the same. The institute got back to me asking me to do a couple of demo sessions post which they would decide whether to hire me or not.

Last Sunday was my first class at the institute. I had before me 10 adults, some older than I, most with no knowledge of what Japanese sounded like. I began my class with basic vocabulary like ご挨拶 before introducing Hiragana. The entire session went on for four hours and by the end of it, we were all tired.

I remember the time I had been the student. The four long hours were difficult. But I kept going back because Japanese was my world. The others, however, did not have that motivation. The class that began with a strength of 10 people quickly reduced to a mere four or five. I had learnt then that not everyone loved the language as I did.

After my class, a few concerned students reached out to me hoping I would provide them a magic pill to quickly turn them into masters of the language. Truth be told, I was annoyed that they hadn’t done their research before coming. But I sent them off with a few words of encouragement, hoping they’d  put in the time and effort learning a language needed.

While the students do their bit, I, as a teacher need to do mine. A major fear that I face is not knowing how to answer a student’s query. The fear that my own basics might not be so strong as I’d hoped creeps up time and time again. However, I’ve been told by my friend, an aspiring teacher of science, that this fear is common and that there’s nothing wrong with it.

I hope that my students and I overcome our challenges during the course of the next few months. Teaching Japanese is a totally new experience for me. It is certainly challenging, but there is a lot to learn here – about myself, about handling people, about teaching and learning a language.

It’s time to prepare for my next session. Lets go!



9 thoughts on “My first class as a Japanese Language Teacher

  1. So I can definitely understand your frustration as a teacher, because I felt the same way sometimes when I shared some interesting facts with my students and they were just like -_-;; But I also think that four hours is a little intense for a beginner’s level class; in my opinion powering through is an okay technique for some people but sometimes a slower pace or time to digest and process material can also be helpful. In fact, even at my level in Japanese (or Korean), 4 hours is a long time. (Maybe I am not such a studious type haha) Anyway the good thing is that you still have 4 or 5 students coming back to learn so that means you’re helping those people 😀 Keep it up~

    1. The reason it is 4 hours is because the class is meant for working people who can’t make it during the week. I do hope my students enjoy the language as much as I do.

      You teach as well?

      1. Ah that makes sense then. I kind of wish we had those kind of classes over here too, I usually see ones that are in the evening but downtown so I wouldn’t be able to make it anyway what with the traffic. 😦

        I taught English in Korea for a year but also did some independent one-to-one tutoring when I was in college. One friend has asked me to teach her Korean but I’m not sure how that will turn out haha she’s already terrified to take my level test ;;

      2. LOL. Teaching a friend should be fun. You will have one more thing to talk about. 😀

        Having such classes helps in that we cover all the points we need to cover in order to write the test. But in the end, all of that comes to a naught if they don’t practice during the week. I’ve had a couple of my students come up to me and tell me they don’t get time. 😦 And they want to write the test in December.

      3. By test do you mean the JLPT? If so, that’s a pretty lofty goal to make it by December while starting from scratch around now… @_@;; I think I heard JLPT 5 isn’t so hard but even still, if you only get the one class per week, you’re right and they’ll need to study every day on their own D: I assumed they were mostly just studying casually but that changes things haha;;;

      4. LOL. That is a lofty goal. Most of them have joined because their jobs require them to learn Japanese. So I’m not sure if that is motivation enough to learn a language

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