Xanath Y Jimenez Garcia

Teach Enrich Empower

Konnichiwa Eigo Sensei! (Hello English Teacher!)

My name is Xanath Jimenez, I am 23 years old and I’m from California, United States. I graduated from the university in June of 2017. During my last year of university, I was exploring to see what would be next after graduation.

Since, I did not have the opportunity to study abroad during the last four years I considered potential options to go abroad. From the options I found, teaching English was an option that kept coming up. Since I had worked at an elementary school at an after-school tutoring program, I had experience in a teaching environment with children so teaching English seemed like a good fit.

I decided that teaching English abroad was something I wanted to pursue and saw that job postings required or recommended being TEFL certified. I wanted to be prepared and have the recourses to be a better teacher for students. At my university I did take a few linguistics classes that had similar information, but this course allowed me to see it through the lens of English learners. Taking this course let me gain the tools to be able to teach grammar with the numerous sample activities to have with students. I try to make English fun and not just another subject that the students study. We play vocabulary identification games and sentence building. The students really seem to enjoy being in teams and competing against each other.

“I try to make English fun and not just another subject that the students study!”

I am currently teaching in Gotemba, Japan. It is a city about an hour and a half from Tokyo and right by Mt. Fuji. The surrounding areas have been fun to explore. I’ve been visiting temples, shrines, parks, etc. It’s been beautiful watching the changing of seasons in the nature all around. Driving has been an interesting experience since the wheel is on the right and we drive on the left, which is the opposite of how we drive in the United States. So far, I’ve only gone the wrong way once!

Unfortunately, I don’t speak Japanese very well. I mostly know only basic vocabulary. This does present a challenge when I’m trying to communicate with the students and I’m trying to check for understanding. The best thing I’ve found is to check through worksheet assessments and oral quizzes. This offers me a better way to see what needs more review and what the students have understood so far.

Teaching English is a great opportunity for personal growth through exploration of a different culture and language. My biggest piece of advice would be to try to learn the native language, but to not let it be an obstacle to stop your travels. Learning the language and local customs will only add to the overall experience of being in a different environment. As well as offer a better way of communicating with the locals and with your students in and out of the classroom. So far, I’ve had a great experience exploring and getting to know my students and coworkers!

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