Japanese Teacher at MCHS since Fall 2002
B.S. Psychology, Minor East Asian Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
M.A.T. Tufts University, licensed to teach Japanese grades 5-12
Japanese Language Background:
I am 4th generation half-Japanese by birth, but was raised in an English-speaking home. Curiosity about heritage and love of foreign language led me to seek out study abroad experiences that led to a life-long love of all things Japanese.College Japanese studies led to my living in Japan as a student twice. I then spent most of my young adulthood in Japan, working as an English teacher at a high school in Kobe.
After taking a university position in Kanazawa where I worked with exchange students from around the world, my ambition changed to sharing my love of Japan with youth in the United States. After completing teacher training at Tufts University, I am now blessed to teach high school students Japanese. I firmly believe it a great strength that I share a learner's perspective with my students; I had to learn everything I taught them, and I can empathize with their challenges and celebrate their successes. My journey to native-level fluency (Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Level 1) is one I hope I can inspire my students to take as well.
I often say ここで、日本語は家族 "Here, Japanese is Family" Over the past decade-plus, I have enjoyed as an advantage of being the sole Japanese teacher, keeping my students for their entire Japanese career, and watching them grow together. Watching them grow together as adults and classmates is as rewarding as watching their language skills and cultural knowledge grow. Our classroom is a place that is safe for students of all creeds, colors, backgrounds, and values. It is a place of respect, where everyone is valued.
It is also a place of high expectations. Our policies and rules can be found as a PDF elsewhere here, but here are a few beliefs that are core to what we do:
Nihongo is a Team Sport: Language is a social experience, and we need each other to get better at it.
It is okay to make mistakes: what is important is what you do next!
Practice makes permanent: by doing routines and repeating practices, we turn 'work' into 'skill'