Thank you for taking a look at my profile. I am a dedicated, organized, patient teacher, deeply interested in language and its complexities. I am always open to learning, always considering ways to improve, and I genuinely enjoy engaging students.
My undergraduate degree is in Japanese language and literature. I have approximately 25 years’ experience using written and spoken Japanese, as well as translation between the two, in a wide variety of professional and private settings.
I have been tutoring for six years, working independently with a variety of students including high school students, college students, and college faculty. For the past year I have been teaching in a community college setting as well, working with adults who are interested in learning Japanese based on various personal or professional motivations but have no prior experience.
I enjoy teaching Japanese and if asked why, I can give two distinct but symbiotic reasons: I find the language and its relationship with Japanese culture as interesting and compelling now as the day I began studying them in the early 1980s, and I never become jaded to the gratification of seeing the progress my students make. I call those two reasons symbiotic because I believe the first of them enhances my ability to create the second; that is, I believe my genuine interest in the material is conveyed to students in my teaching, and that enhances the quality of their initial exposure to what they usually perceive as extremely foreign material when compared to learning a language like Spanish for example.
Additionally, as a teacher I pride myself on being patient and able to work “outside the box” of the typical translation approach in which the convenient “A means B” is the extent of a teacher’s explanation. Especially in the case of teaching Japanese, I believe such a flat approach is not optimal. I use a native English speaker’s awareness of their own language (which students tend not to be aware of until I highlight certain elements of it) to describe elements of the material I am teaching. Given the many dramatic differences between Japanese and English, I believe this is irreplaceable as a teaching skill.
I am also a skilled, experienced writer, editor and proofreader in English, with flexibility in a broad range of subject matter, focusing in but not limited to the humanities. I can be helpful to students in guiding them toward ways to effectively communicate using the written word: structuring their thoughts, using words to their advantage, connecting one point to the next in a piece of writing. I can provide work samples on request.
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