Coming to Japan was a blessing for me. I have had a rough life, before joining the military in 2001.
My departure date for leaving to bootcamp was September 11, 2001. Sad to say, due to the world events that happened that day, my flight was cancelled.
Arriving to Japan in January 2002, I have been to Afghanistan, I have been to Iraq. I learned a lot within my 4 years of service. Married, had kids, divorced. (just in case you are wondering). During that time, I was able to learn a lot about Japanese business.
I was a video game tester, telemarketer, and video game voice actor before a close expat friend persuaded me that the REAL work and career move in Japan, would be to teach English. My first time teaching at "Kids International" , was not a pleasant experience. it was 30 children. no Japanese staff, and all of the other English teachers quit that day. To top it all off, the kids were bad, fighting, each other, and it was SO difficult... and there were cameras everywhere so Mothers/Fathers could watch how their kids were doing from their cell phones.
I moved onto Seiha English Network. It was a great experience! They provided me with proper training and I was teamed with a Japanese lady assistant who was bilingual, plus, all materials were at the schools! I could wear any clothes I wanted! YES!!!
However, I lived in Kanagawa, and all of my schools were in Chiba/Saitama/ and sometimes NAGANO! Which was strange because the teachers who lived in Chiba/ Saitama/ Nagano, had schools in Kanagawa. Very strange indeed. They would also move curriculum month after month, keeping the same yearly routine, I did not agree with this. Over time, I grew tired of having a Japanese assistant because everytime I spoke English to the children, they would look at me crazy, then turn to the Japanese assistant, who would translate and the kids would say "AAH AHH WAKATTA" then look at me crazy again.
From then, I went to Balloon Kids. Whose motto was to teach English, WITH English. I also had to wear a suit. Your whole weekly schedule was with you at all times. 6 days a week, I went to different places (preschools, culture centers, private schools, government funded institutions) with a HUGE bag on my back with ALL of my curriculum. Balloon Kids was better than Seiha in many ways. There were weekly meetings, where you gave your attendance reports, students progress reports, and actually had to report the good things and the bad things of your classroom. The curriculum was structured by the company, but the methods and the use of materials were up to the teacher. Your class was YOUR class.
During the Balloon Kids time, and still to this day... I have maintained a class of elderly students at a shiyakusho. It is mainly conversation based and from time to time, we work on printouts, worksheets, and group reading... I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful group of people to take care of me.
Since leaving Balloon Kids, I have taught as a freelance teacher at the yochien, for almost two years. Making my own materials/ curriculum, and handling administrative tasks on my own has helped me grow as a teacher so much more.
In conclusion: From many experiences in Japan as an English Teacher, I have learned many things.
To always be on time for lessons, no matter what. Even if I am sick, I will go to work (except in dire sickness).
I will take as long as I need to in order to make sure that my students understand my material thoroughly. There is no rush.
If my students are sick, a make-up lesson is always available. (but payment is always due on the first of every month ;) )
An English class with a Japanese bilingual assistant is absolutely worthless. If you have any hope of learning English, it is with a native speaker and you (the student) in a classroom setting.
Since many of my client's cannot speak English, and my Japanese ability is good, but broken...
Many mothers/fathers wonder, "what goes on in JJ's classroom?" "What is my child learning?" "Is there a way I can help my child?" "I want to see if my English ability is more than my child's!" Haha, admit it... you know you thought that, hahahahaha.
WELL! This website is the idea. My whole lesson will be broken down into Japanese by my lovely girlfriend on this website. There will be audio/video soon... but for now I will give you basic explanations. Whenever you would like to check the progress of your child's lesson, or if you want them to show you what they have learned... please, come to this site.
Thank you, and enjoy the site.