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Interview with my Mother

By , Naperville, IL
What made you want to become a Japanese instructor?
“I’m not really sure why, mainly because I get to use both English and Japanese in the class. I also decided to become an instructor because I knew what it felt like not to know or understand what someone was saying to you because I emigrated from Japan to here, when I was around 29.”
What did you have to study in order to become a Japanese instructor?
“I obviously had to study Japanese, but I also had to study how to teach people Japanese. It was a lot harder than you think. Knowing a language and teaching a language, are two different things. I also had to study English a little bit more since I was teaching in English. I went to college in Japan, and it was pretty fun.”
Did you want to be a Japanese instructor when you were a child?
“No, I did not want to be one when I was a kid, but once I was around 22, I decided that I wanted to become one and I started to study how to teach. I was already teaching English a little in Japan, so I had some experience of teaching students a new language.”
Is your boss nice?
“My boss is very nice, and she is always thinking of new ways to make learning a critical language easier. She always thinks for the students and I look up to her.”
Is your schedule flexible?
“My schedule is pretty flexible – I get to choose what time I want to teach my classes at the beginning of the year. But, if I am sick or my kids are sick, I have to cancel the class for the day because I am the only Japanese teacher there and there are no substitutes. That is why I do not like cancelling classes too often.”
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
“To have more courses; there are only beginner courses at the University and a lot of students are asking if there are more, but sadly there aren’t any because the University doesn’t offer any.”
What is the best part of your job?
“When students are becoming better and better at speaking Japanese; to the extent where they are able to switch colleges and go to school in Japan instead. I am especially happy when students tell me about how they would love to work in Japan someday or keep studying Japanese even though again, our school doesn’t offer any other levels than beginners. It’s also great to hear when students tell you that their happy that they took your course.”


What is the worst part of your job?
“When students work very hard, but aren’t able to grasp the concept of Japanese and they don’t get it; even if their trying their hardest.”
How much time do you spend preparing for a class?
“For one class, I probably take up an hour preparing for it. I teach three classes in all.”
Is there a certain level you like teaching the best?
“I think I like teaching either Japanese 1 or Japanese 2 (the first two levels in the class) because they are all new students, and they always study harder in those classes because they are newer.”
What type of students comes to your classes?
“Many of the students that come to my classes are students that already have an interest in Japan. They mainly like the games, anime, and other parts of Japanese culture. They all really LOVE it and I enjoy teaching them.”
Out of all of the jobs you have done, do you like this one the best?
“Most definitely. Even when I grow to be about 70, I would still like to be teaching Japanese, especially to my grandchildren. That would be great!”





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