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Work: Teaching & Lecturing

Teaching English is inevitable if you come to Japan without anything concrete planned. But once you have enough Japanese under your belt, you can teach just about anything that you are knowledgeable about.

English teaching is how I got my footing and it's really hard to let it go. My youngest student is 4 years old. My oldest is a retired businessman. I still love what I do but if you've been here as long as me (13 years as of this posting) you can go a little crazy, if English teaching is all you do. I guess that is why a lot of foreigner go back in the first few years.

My first break-away from English was doing cooking classes. Specifically it was "Cooking in English" class. A local community centre suggested the idea and other community centres soon bought into the idea. Of course the main attraction was having a westerner showing you how to cook western dishes. English comprehension was not a major issue because students actually got to see what they had to do while you described it to them.

About my four-year mark in Japan, I started getting more comfortable (and more expressive) in the Japanese language and that opened up new possibilities. Doing one-off lectures in Japanese is not only marketable, but the preparation work improves your Japanese ability immeasurable. My lecture notes contained the vocabulary notes for any new words I needed to use in the lecture. By the time I actually did the lecture I had most of the new vocabulary memorised.

As my Japanese improved, so did the opportunities. For two years I taught courses in Imaging Technology and Visual Design Production at Tokoha University. This was at their Junior College in the Faculty of Art & Design. It was the same deal here too: I had the Japanese right in my lecture notes and referred to it as needed. Only this time, the vocabulary was new to my students too, so I had to write the kanji on the blackboard.

I also teach computer along with network trouble shooting & repair. (See Hardfocus for these and other business services.)

Recently I have added two more things to my teaching list: Nutrition and Salsa dance.

More on these in the near future.

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