Initially, I started teaching as a means of travel and experiencing a new culture, outside of my home country of Canada. Eventually, after several years and various teaching contexts, I began to find that teaching offered many rewards, apart from salary, including the opportunity to be creative, personally connect with others, motivate learners to succeed, develop my own skills, and a host of other positives. I think though, that my initial teaching experience in Japan (which served as a sort of a ‘training ground’ for me) shaped my outlook and foundational philosophy towards Teaching English as a Second Language. Operating in several different work contexts brought me diverse training exposure as well as the accumulation of a broad skill-set specifically attributable to extensive practice with a diversity of teaching materials and environments, instructional methods, corporate demands, clientele, and cohort interaction. Tenacity and determination enabled me to excel to the highest levels of the EFL field in Japan. My professional path lead me from a rudimentary commercial language school in Sapporo (English Circles), to a much more established one adhering to a sound method with more sophisticated resources and rich history (Berlitz), into one of the most prestigious and internationally connected private schools in Japan (Tamagawa Gakuen). My experience in Japan both challenged and encouraged me to continue to pursue a career in English Language Teaching.
I taught EFL in Japan, from June 2001 to April 2010. I instructed an estimated 9,480 students over 23 months (about 2800 hours of class instruction) at English Circles Inc., (Sapporo, Asahikawa, Hakodate) and around 14,520 students (4450 hours of instruction) over 58 months at Berlitz Japan Inc., (Sapporo and Tokyo, respectively). I also delivered corporate lessons at: Benesse Corporation (HQ, Tokyo), Isuzu Motors (Kanagawa), Sapporo High Court (Sapporo), and Toyota Motors (Shibetsu, Winter Training Grounds). Further, I worked as Instructional Designer and Head Facilitator at Asahi Culture Centre (Sapporo) for 18 months before transferring via Berlitz (then, my principal employer) to Tokyo in Sept. 2005. In April 2008, I took a position at Tamagawa Academy (senior high school) as full-time EFL instructor/consultant in the Center for K-12 International Exchange. The position involved several roles including instructor of EFL Aural/Oral Communication (11/12), Core ENG (9/10), and special-focus courses in “Writing 12” and “Listening 12” for university entrance exam success and overseas transition. Other responsibilities there included film club leader, curriculum oversight, assistant term exam developer/reviser/scorer/proofreader/and language consultant. At Tamagawa, management encouraged me to provide extensive input to facilitate international programs, including various forms of study abroad, including Round Square. These contributions consisted of: (1) heading the curriculum design and delivery of the ‘Rise & Shine Overseas Preparatory Program’ developed to provide language basics needed for communication during overseas home stays, (2) assisting visiting international students to assimilate and engage in school activities and campus life, and, (3) drafting, proofreading, and/or supervising internal and external communications related to affiliate Round Square schools (such as Ivanhoe Grammar School, Goethe Gymnasium, Harker, and so on). Apart from my autonomous responsibilities at Tamagawa, I also team-taught senior students alongside the department Director (topic-based writing with a main focus on translation of JPN sentences into ENG), performed various administrative tasks, and assisted visiting and outgoing exchange students under the supervision of the Director of the English Dept. & International Programs. While in my second year at Tamagawa, I delivered evening classes at Machida International Centre (Tokyo) facilitating senior learners with EFL and Western culture/etiquette. I also ran numerous informal private language lessons outside of company hours throughout my time abroad. Since leaving Japan in 2010, in addition to delivering ESL in Canada I have served as lead teacher at a Canadian college piloting the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) (‘Refugees & Citizenship Canada’ (IRCC) program, taught for 11 months in Ukraine (grammar intensive instruction), 11 months in Saudi Arabia, and most recently a four-month contract in Myanmar. In sum, I offer the benefit of this work and life experience. I believe that as a result of: (1) the breadth of my exposure to both the commercial and international scholastic facets of the EFL and ESL communities, (2) a relevant graduate degree and TESL Canada (internationally recognized) certification, and, (3) an extensive cultural immersion, I have developed a wide knowledge base and degree of cultural sensitivity and awareness that make me a solid candidate for most EFL jobs.
My approach consists of a mix of components and principles stemming primarily from Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)/Task-based language teaching (TBLT), the Direct Method (DM), and the Immediate Method (IM). By alternating between or mixing components of the Direct and Immediate Methods and the Communicative and Lexical approaches within a Collaborative student-centered learning framework, I have found success instructing individuals and small groups effectively, and in managing and motivating larger groups of learners in ESL/EFL, cultural, workplace/overseas transition, and pre-bridging educational contexts.
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