I have just completed my eikaiwa training for Coco JUKU with my fellow trainees and we all passed with flying colors! I really appreciated the way our training courses were split up between presentations, demo lessons, and trainer/peer feedback. From the very first day we were teaching mock lessons using the 3P method (Practice, Presentation, Production) with some of the text books. Our trainers were very skilled and formerly worked for other teaching and eikaiwa programs like JET, Nova, and AEON. They watched us individually and gave us a generous amount of feedback on how we could improve our eikaiwa lessons. For example, sometimes I spent too much time explaining things that Level 1 and 2 students may not be able to fully comprehend. To prevent this, my trainer suggested I model more of the activities for the students instead. The goal of the eikaiwa lessons are to prompt the students to speak more than the instructors, so I revised my lessons to encourage speaking through roleplay and focused discussion activities. I definitely learned a variety of strategies to cater to students of all interests and ages. I am excited to rise to the challenge of expecting the unexpected as an eikaiwa teacher!
Our training was split between teaching adults and teaching younger children ages 5 and above. The adults are easier to teach because they have a lesson with a Japanese instructor teaching them the main focus and grammar of each lesson before taking our conversation lessons. Most of the adults come to eikaiwa school with a specific interest in mind (business, medical school, practice for the TOEIC), so it is relatively simple to adjust the lesson to fit their interests and personalities. Children, on the other hand, are a lot less predictable. Some of them only understand basic classroom English, so more modeling and demonstrating activities are required. However, I had a lot of fun teaching the demo kids lessons! I got to use a puppet and sing songs which was very fun and enjoyable. My fellow trainees were very witty and creative while roleplaying children so I got to see a variety of scenarios (such as an overly genki kid who wanted to run around all of the time) that were helpful in making me aware of what to expect when teaching a children’s class.
I was informed that my school in Tokushima is close to many hospitals, so I will be teaching a lot of English medical lessons. I will most likely be teaching kids for half the week, but all of them are above age 7 and pretty well behaved according to my branch manager. I found out I am teaching my first lesson to a married couple on Tuesday morning and I am very excited! My school usually runs from 12:00-9:00 which is late but gives me time to wake up and not rush to work. I met my branch manager today and she was super nice like most of the people in this company I’ve encountered so far. She didn’t speak a lot of English so I made casual coversation with her in Japanese and asked her about the city. When we arrived at the school, she bought me a bunch of shampoo and cleaning supplies for my apartment and helped me get situated. I bowed and thanked her profusely because I probably would not get that kind of hospitality back in America! The Japanese English teachers knew a lot of English, even slang, and I was amazed at how fluent they were! Though my school is very small and I will currently be the only native English instructor, I am happy to know that I will be surrounded by people who care about my well-being and that I can practice Japanese with and ask for help.