Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaching English

No, not full time and not even part time. I am teaching 2-4 times a month now, I just started in July. Between you and me, I get asked to teach English at least once a week, if not more. It happens to me everywhere I go. If I'm at swimming club. At the yochien. People who live in our housing community...even if I'm just chilling at a Summer festival for example someone is bound to walk up to me and ask me. I don't really mind the question at all. But when Branden was younger for example, I had my hands full taking care of him and that was fine, I absolutely loved doing so, he's my son, I love him to bits. And then when Noah was born 6 years ago, it was just out of the question me teaching, I then had my hands full twice as much, but again it was my pleasure, I love my kids. I was much too busy taking care of the house and my young babies to be out of the house teaching anyone else, other then my own children anything, you know what I mean, I hope. : )

However as some of you know, I did teach elementary school in Denver for a few years before Noboru was tranferred to Hawaii and ultimately to Japan (way before we had kids). And I loved being a teacher of native English speaking kids. It was so much fun for me. I'm just really good with kids. Always have been. I never really thought I'd be good at teaching ESL though. And again with raising little kids of my own all these years it was never an option. However I have many fabulous ESL teacher friends and I do think what they do is amazing and I respect them so. I always feel a kinship to teachers probably because of how I started out in Denver though. : )

Fast forward to now. I started thinking about 6 month's ago, with Noah going to be in elementary next year. I guess I could teach 4 times a month tops. It would be some good extra pocket money for me. I mentioned to Noboru, I might consider doing something like that.

I actually spoke to some of my in real life friends about it first who I trust and can talk things over with and get some of their thoughts. I first spoke to my 2 good friends, the Jogo-san and Noriko-san. We spoke about that at our favorite Indian restaurant in great detail many months ago. And they did give me a lot of information. Keep in mind the Jogo-san has taught English here in Japan for like 10 plus years at different English schools, though she is now working at Narita airport for an airline which will not be named for her privacy, but it's not Delta. And Noriko went to uni to be a lawyer but also taught English here, I think I could be wrong I'd have to ask her. but she speaks amazing, so she could have. They told me how much to charge. Start up fee or no start up fee. Conversation only or conversation plus reading and writing. We covered every topic. I also showed up with tons of questions. Because again I have zero experience teaching in Japan or esl for that matter. I asked, what if a student cancels the day of...do I charge them or not. We went over everything humanly possible. I appreciate knowing they'll always be here for me. Even for something like this, that's a true friendship we have.

The Jogo-san also invited me to her house another day and we went through all her old teaching materials. She let me borrow a stack of the ones I wanted. And I went and photo copied so many lesson plans. Like a few years supply amount of them.

I also spoke to my dear friends Rumi-san and Kaya-san about it too. Rumi has sent her children to English school for years. And so she had a very good perspective there too.

I don't just jump and leap without knowing what I'm jumping into. I'm a planner type person. So, I felt around March-ish I had a really good handle on things. With their help and guidance.

What is my long term plan? My long term plan is to teach out of my home once a week... twice a week tops. Just have a class. For maybe yochien aged kids. And maybe...just maybe a class for elementary kids. I don't have any intention of this being full time or even part time. I honestly don't want to be a teaching business. I think people who do that rock and like I said nothing but respect from me for them. But I just don't think I would want to devote that much time to it. Once a week sure. Every single day. No. I do like my life the way it is now and I don't have any intention for my life to change too drastically, because of me having a job. If that's the case, the job will have to go. And that's what Noboru thinks too. We like the lifestyle we have now.

The one thing still getting me was.... like I said, I feel no nervousness or anything teaching native kids at all. I could pop into any international school or school in the US and go! Feel comfy and in my element.

But....again I felt really unsure about teaching ESL. Do I have what it takes. And I really thought a lot about it. Not everybody likes it.

So, anyway you know how I shop at all sort of different stores. Anyway, I was at a store saw a sign in English only. Hmm. I mentioned it to Noboru and he said, you know that type of job could be the type of job that you could actually get some experience from. Once you get the hang of it. You can start teaching at home if you want. And if you don't want to, fine too.

So, I went to the interview in June. They said....this job would only be 2-4 times a month. I'm only interested in working that amount anyway, I said, I am a mother of 2 little boys, one is in elementary and one is a nencho in a yochien someplace. The job would only be 2 hours at a time. So 2 hours a week. That sounds like all I'm interested in at for the time being anyway. So we were on the same page with regards to work schedule already. : )

I am also going to be working with a Japanese teacher. They asked me/requested of me 1 thing..... to never speak to the kids in Japanese ever. That's tough for me sometimes. I teach the 3-4 years old class. And then right after I teach the nencho class. It's pretty easy for me. It's 2 hours a week. 1 hour class and then another 1 hour class after that class.

They started me at 3,500 yen an hour. And then emailed me after my first class and said they were happy with what the principal said about me and are paying me 4,000 yen an hour. They also pay me gas and mileage. So, just me going there...I get 8,000 yen for the 2 hours, plus gas and mileage so about 9,000 yen for showing up for 2 hours. Not too shabby. The Japanese teacher plans all the lessons. She calls me 2 days before to confirm with me. The school gives me my schedule a month ahead, if something doesn't gel with my own home schedule or Branden and Noah's school schedule I can email them and tell them...such and such date isn't going to work. And that's fine.

It doesn't interfere with my regular life. At all. And 2 hours a week is not so bad.

I have now taught a total of 4 classes, have taught 2 different days in July. I did email them and told them I would be unavailable during the time I was in Hawaii though and that was fine. And they were thrilled I taught the 2 days. How do I like teaching ESL? I honestly really love it! I love being around the kids. They make me laugh. I guess me teaching kids doesn't matter what their first language...I just really enjoy it.

Last class, I played..."Mrs. Wolf What Time Is It" with them. And I caught some kids to have for lunch! They laughed and I chased them all over. The other class, I had them play Simon Says, I had them, hopping on one foot, patting their head and rubbing their tummy's at the same time. I had them doing all sorts of crazy stuff. They loved it, used English too! And I loved it! Playing with them, made me laugh! I couldn't believe I got paid for that. We also teach them new words, role play etc so they are learning. But it's a lot of fun. And I am really enjoying it.

I am working only once in August. August 9th and then after that I'm free. Noboru will be home with the boys while I'm gone for 2 hours. And I'll have made around another 9,000 yen for August which isn't too bad for barely working at all. So again not heaps of money but a little pocket money for taking my own boys to the movies or out to lunch or whatever. : )

Will I end up loving this job, so much so I keep this job? It is a very easy job and so much fun. Or will I eventually move on and start working at home once a week, because I actually want to start planning my own lessons and stuff. I honestly don't know...can't predict the future and won't even try. Whatever happens, happens. But for right now...I'm working at 2 private hoikuens. : )