Dear Pacific Tree International Language Academy,
First of all, I am eternally grateful for the wonderful opportunity I got to improve my English, experience the Philippines varied culture and to meet wonderful teachers. Although we didn’t have enough time to know much about the Philippines, I garnered a lot that I can share with my students and the other teachers.
The Philippines, gives way to so many culture shocks such as no traffic lane, bad traffic jam, no toilet paper, and so on. I was surprised to hear constant honking of horns during day time and also midnight. I found that it became quiet only around 4 a.m. I was also surprised to see the flood after the heavy rains and also the people who enjoyed the heavy rain. However, I also noticed a similar lifestyle between Japan and the Philippines. It is that people work hard from early morning until late night. Owing to the bad traffic jam, people wake up very early and arrive at their work very early. From this experience, I thought we, Japanese, need the skills to enjoy our lives.
I’d like to highlight three things about our lessons. First, initially, I was very surprised at the one-on-one lessons and the size of the classrooms, which were quite small. Although I’ve studied English in some language academies in some countries, I’ve never experienced one-on-one lessons abroad. Frankly, I was very impressed that my teachers worked hard to prepare lesson plans only for me every day. I could feel that they really thought about me and took care of me because they prepared the lessons focused on my weaknesses in English. Through this experience, I realized it’s very important to prepare lessons that cater to the students’ needs. This could motivate them to study hard and do well academically.
Secondly, to be honest, I didn’t expect our teachers to give us so much homework. However, from this experience, I learned when my teachers returned my homework with positive comments and praises, no matter how hard it was, I could feel very happy. I also realized I was compelled to do better next time. On the other hand, I also learned we have to think carefully when we give our students homework, because every teacher could give them homework during one night. Although I know how the teachers feel and why they give them homework, I thought I should think carefully about the amount of homework and the deadline. On a different note, I was lucky to get homework to interview someone. It was my first homework in the Philippines. As a result of that, I could talk to the staff in our hotel and realized the difference between our languages and lifestyle. Thanks for my homework.
Thirdly, I clearly remembered, the lesson on phrasal verbs. It is what I really need to work on. Usually I just try to remember the translation in Japanese, however it was totally different. Not only did I have to remember the meaning but also the teacher asked me to make some example sentences with those phrasal verbs. I thought I couldn’t survive only remembering the translation. Then I realized it’s important if the students can make their own sentences with the target languages or vocabularies. And that was I realized I haven’t taken enough time during my lesson with my junior high school students to complete this. I often cut off those.
In regards to TKT lessons, I feel sorry for our teachers because I haven’t prepared anything for TKT. As for me, I’ve already studied similar things in TESOL so I could get some ideas, however, I think it’s very hard for someone even an English teacher to get ideas if they haven’t studied that kind of thing before. After I came back to Japan, I tried to find some places to take TKT. However, I only could find few places. If this program continues in Pacific Tree International Language Academy and if it’s possible, I think it’s better to take the real TKT during this program.
I think one of the most valuable things I experienced through this program is getting a chance to meet such wonderful teachers. I really appreciate all of the teachers and especially Ms. Sakai. Thank you very much for your warm support, we enjoyed our stay in the Philippines. They also joined our additional programs such as visiting the DSWD and joining the city tour. There were really great experiences and also emotional experiences for me. I didn’t have any ideas about what kind of place the DSWD is, so I was nervous before I met them. However, there was no need to be nervous. They were really friendly and I think they encouraged me to believe what I do every day and keep doing. When I go through my everyday life as a teacher in Japanese junior high school, it’s hard to see and feel how our education works for the students, however I think I was encouraged to believe and keep going what I do. The other thing that really moved is that every child in DSWD told their dream. I’m sure if I asked the same question to our Japanese students, they can’t tell their dreams. Now, I’d like to be a teacher who can help our students to have dreams.
Finally, I’d like to say thank you very much again to everyone who supported us. Sincerely,
Nango Junior High School