Jul 27, 2018
Fact: You do not work 24/7. You may work seven days a week depending on the schedule you prefer to keep, but definitely not 24 hours straight. Obviously, you need to sleep and eat, and you devote time for those.
So, in those times and days when you are not working, how do you plan to spend them? Sure, you’ll need to get some rest, but how about getting yourself rested or refreshed while developing yourself as a teacher at the same time?
Here are some ways you can add dimensions to your personality, and thereby add to the things you can share with your students:
1. Read. On what? On anything that interests you. Allow your curiosity to grow as you read, so that it drives you to read more on connected topics. As adults we somehow, for some reason, cease to be curious and to seek knowledge. Maybe because society has set an expectation for humans to always know, to always be certain, and to always have a reason. It gives us some sense of security and a certain level of comfort. Once we have the knowledge we need to get by in life, we lose interest in learning and we stop asking questions.
There is nothing to lose and everything to gain in being curious and staying curious, like a child. By remaining curious, we expand ourselves, we learn, and we become more interesting to our students.
2. Travel. This is a really good way to develop yourself as you teach English here in Japan, for the following reasons:
- Most students love to travel, be it domestic or international, and they appreciate it if you, as their teacher, can carry a decent conversation with them about travel;
- Japanese people are immensely proud of their country. They love inviting foreigners to visit their hometown or favorite destination. It will definitely work in your favor if you can show genuine interest in their travel talk.
3. Develop a hobby.
I have a colleague who, as per her own admission, is anti-social. True enough, she spends most of her free time alone, taking care of her beloved pets - guppies and beta fish, marmots and guinea pigs. On other times she also paints (water color is her medium), with her pets as favorite subject. Once, she also painted my 2 dogs. And yet on other times, she does origami - lots of it. Oh, and if she gets bored with all of those activities, she engages in her very first hobby - writing.
All of these hobbies of hers, she gets to share in her classes. She is a big hit in our children’s classes because of her creativity. The kids in our eikaiwa just adore her. Now that is someone who claims to be anti-social and (even funnier) doesn’t like kids very much. She once shared with me that her being a teacher of kids has become a running joke in her family back in the US.
What is my point in sharing her story? Developing a hobby can definitely give you something to share. Reading and being abreast with what’s going on around the world can make you knowledgeable to your students, but sharing your hobbies with them makes you more accessible, more human.
Of course there are other ways to develop yourself as a teacher and as a human being. They all lie on one principle: being interesting. Believe it or not, being an interesting individual can be generated from within - yes, just by you. And trust yourself that you'll be able to figure out how to do, or be that.
A teacher by profession, yet always a student of life. Currently living in Kanto, but in love with Kyushu.