My name is Waconda.
I was in Japan for about 20 years. There I taught at universities, colleges, conversation schools, companies and did many intensives. I also taught children at my friend's school across the street. I enjoyed the teaching but really did a lot of train travel. It is a safe country so I could come home late at night and never, ever worry.
I have been tutoring students from Mexico at local libraries for the last year. It is different from teaching and tutoring in Japan, but it is also very interesting and rewarding when I know I have helped a student reach a goal, overcome lack of confidence, be able to communicate out in their real world.
My style of teaching is usually student centered. I think those in this country and in Latin America learn best to communicate by communicating. But when doing content teaching, I am happy to lecture a little bit. Most recently I was a volunteer at the Aransas Pass for Youth Summer Camp and did story time on Friday mornings using books from our local library. The students were good listeners and I asked a few questions to clarify, but mostly had the goal to encourage what is called extensive reading ... pick up a book because you like it and read it and think and talk about it because it really interests you.
I really, really enjoyed teaching goal-oriented company classes and would love to do so again. In Japan, this meant using commercial, in house texts, teaching TOEIC. When I taught students on their way to college, I taught the speaking part of TOEFL and speech prep activities. Again, it was very satisfying to see students reach their goals. I have enjoyed phone English. The last phone English I have done was at the Ministry of Education in Tokyo talking about serious subjects with the students -bullying, curriculum-the very hot topics that the Ministry of Education has to deal with after the filters of local school districts. Decision making for a teacher and a person there is living in a bottom up decision making process society. Very often the ones on the top are very educated figure heads, but the real decisions are made by those in the schools, in the PTA, and in the communities. So, it is something of the opposite here, one person or a board makes serious decisions.
I like shorter intense classes because I think students focus better and pay attention. But I have taught all day, 3 hour, and 5 hour classes.
My goals for a typical tutor session or class:
A student leaves the class, or when I do if I travel to a company or home and s/he or they feel GOOD! They have accomplished a goal-maybe very small-pronouncing a word correctly, or they have improved on a skill, or they have learned something they really wanted to learn. Or, without acting up or out too much, they have showed their creative side. I have learned a great deal from students over the years.
And a student wants to continue to learn...
US experience...tutoring Spanish speaking students here in Arkansas Pass...
Interviewing Spanish speakers for the US Census
Helping a student to prepare for her early childhood course of study at Del Mar
Improving two American students with literacy skills
Volunteer storytime and reading activities at Arkansas Pass Public Housing.
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