Teacher Spotlight: Tiffany Barber’s Journey Teaching English in Japan

A Journey of Teaching and Learning

Tiffany Barber shares her enriching experience as a first-time Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Japan. From adjusting to a new culture to embracing the Japanese way of life, Tiffany’s journey is inspiring for aspiring educators and travellers alike.

Discovering Japan

My first time in Japan has been a great experience. I am grateful for this opportunity to live and work in a different country. I have been adjusting well. The first 2 weeks I was very busy with company training, moving into my new apartment, and establishing residency. It has been lovely to travel around Japan so easily due to the wonderful public transit. I am enjoying my neighborhood and school placement very much. I have signed up for community classes to learn more Japanese and practice Tai Chi. It is the primary language I use now when I am not around other English speakers.

Teaching English in Japan

The first term of teaching English is going well. The teaching staff and administration are very friendly and helpful. They are trying their best to welcome me by showing me around, giving me snacks on my desk, inviting me to school meetings/ceremonies and sharing their experiences too. In the classroom, students are trying their best and participating, typical class management is used. Overall, it is nice. The Japanese public school system is very different from where I am from in a good way. Outside the classroom, I play outside most days at break times, chat in the halls, and help every day during cleaning time. I say hello to everyone. I feel like a celebrity. I play dodgeball with the kids. I see students on my way to the bus stop after school and sometimes when I go to the library. School lunch is the best and I am glad I eat it every day.

From Outdoor Educator to Classroom Teacher

This is my first time teaching in a classroom. In America, I was an outdoor educator. My goal for the first teaching term work-wise is to get to know what students see as relevant and cater to their needs. Team teaching or co-teaching I think is best. I also wish to continue learning people’s names and learning more classroom games. I am at a school in the countryside and next term I will be at a different school.

About Frances Mignonne Weiner

Franci, our Graphic Designer and Social Media Manager, brings a unique blend of creativity to TravelBud. At 23, she holds a degree in Humanities from Stellenbosch University and is currently completing her postgraduate studies in Sustainable Development. Born and raised in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa—a beautiful coastal town nestled in the heart of the Garden Route—Franci is an ocean and mountain lover at heart. When she's not crafting captivating visuals for TravelBud, you can find Franci frolicking in the mountains, trail running, or swimming in the ocean.
Filed under  Japan • Teacher Diaries 

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