First Full Week

This past week was my full week at work, plus a few new Japanese experiences!

My TA position keeps me pretty busy, as I am going to classes along with students, and have office hours on my time away from classes. Working with students has been interesting, as the experience depends on the class. Like my experience in America, there is a wide variety of students that all have their own personalities that they bring to the classroom. While there are some very outgoing students, who are not afraid to try and practice their English with me, many others seem a bit hesitant, especially when I first met them for the first time. I have been trying to be welcoming (smiling, saying high, trying to remember their names) as much as I can so that the awkwardness breaks a bit. I find that as I get to know students (which mostly comes from 1 on 1 interactions of having a lengthy conversation) they get more comfortable with me, and try to use more English.

One thing that I took for granted was vocabulary. As someone who like reading, I know a lot of big words that are not commonly used in conversation, and can be confusing for students who do not have previous exposure to the English language. Therefore, I find myself commonly trying to explain words more creatively, often using a picture, acting or trying to use the student’s imagination. Honestly, I find that my own understanding of the English language has improved, because I have to think critically about the meaning of words, rather than just internally understanding them.

My ability to speak Japanese has also improved. I feel more confidant talking with people in Japanese, in addition to having English as a fallback in case the other party happens to know a few words. I like to refer to this way of speaking as “Japanglish” and usually is accompanied with a lot of hand motions to convey basic ideas a bit more clearly. I feel as though I could go almost anywhere with only minor help from the dictionary app on my phone.

Next Post, I plan on talking more about The types of people that I see around Japan, as well as what interesting things I have seen.

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