ESL Students Lessons

ESL Students Lessons - Interview of Todd Lenkowski

Todd Lenkowski owns California Bear English School near Tsujido Station in Fujisawa, where he teaches English lessons of all kinds to children and adults.

He agreed to speak with How to Teach English in Japan.

1. Please tell us about yourself as a teacher (where, why, how long you've been teaching etc.).What kind of teaching did you do in Japan?

I got started in teaching as a volunteer at the local YMCA in San Francisco. Who would have thought it would have lead to this?

From there, I started teaching PE but had a lot of problems handling the kids and I stumbled upon a book titled "Jobs in Japan" that led me to a job with Nova.

I returned to the USA for a year with Berlitz followed by a one year teaching stint in Brazil then returned to Japan with ECC and a small school owned by its much larger parent cram school company.

After working at all those eikaiwa's, I jumped at the chance of getting my own school when a friend put his up for sale.

2. What are some of the highs and lows of teaching ESL studentslessons?

It's definitely a high to see a smile on someone's face and that bright light go on in their head when they grasp what you're teaching; but a certified downer when you can't get your idea across when you're lacking just the right world. Bummer.

3. What are some of the highs and lows of living in Japan?

Living here in Japan is a high everyday. Just today for example I went out to do a few errands on my day off and people were so kind while I was withdrawing cash form the ATM. A Japanese lady told me to go ahead at the ATM line while another man was bowing to me while he was cleaning the machine. ATM'S in the States never looked so good.

If you don't speak or read Japanese well, no doubt it makes life much more challenging. For example, the bank I use has only two ATM machines that include English so I have to make a farther trip for that and although Japanese people are extremely polite it can often work against you when everywhere you go you feel like you're in a fish bowl. It's impossible to keep a low profile, and there is a slim margin for error for foreigners living in Japan.

4. What advice would you give to someone interested in teaching ESL students lessons?

If you're in school, major in English or study something English related. Study the language of the country you intend to teach in, and/or get certified in one of the TESOL or TEFL courses.

5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a more successful teacher of English?

Get as much experience as you can teaching in a variety of settings and ages so that you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. The more experience you have under your belt, the more valuable you are to an employer.

Visit Todd Lenkowski`s California Bear English School in Tsujido

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