- Can you introduce yourself?
- What have you found interesting, surprising, or even difficult through teaching at Best Teacher?
- Can you talk about the cultural differences you have had with your students?
- Can you talk about tips and know-how for learning a foreign language?
- What have you experienced in Japan?
- What makes you special in teaching English at Best Teacher?
- Do you have any encouraging message for students?
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, everyone! My name is Goran. I am from Serbia, and I have the distinct pleasure and honor of teaching the English language to people from Japan at Best Teacher.
Because I adore all things Japan, I have a desire to one day go to your country for post-graduate studies in order to acquire interpreting skills for the Japanese language. Wish me luck!
What have you found interesting, surprising, or even difficult through teaching at Best Teacher?
The only difficulty I had was at the very beginning of my work here. I entered this company with little to no teaching experience behind me. That’s not to say that there is no basis for my being admitted to work here; I had to pass some rigorous tests of knowledge and conduct during a lesson.
I was quite nervous at the beginning when I first came into contact with all those eager students, due to my lack of experience. As it turned out, I managed my nervousness well and was able to direct my energy towards assuring a smooth experience where students can learn what they wanted to learn as well as some things they weren’t expecting to find out. As a result, after more than a year of everyday lessons, I can proudly say that there are some students who have stood by me since the very start.
Can you talk about the cultural differences you have had with your students?
There are so many cultural differences that can be experienced through sheer conversation, even with video calls, but, every once in a while, Japanese culture, indeed, seeps into the conversation.
When introducing ourselves, the student usually uses “nice to meet you” as we would use “hello!”… I think it’s because of the Japanese customary phrase “hajimemashite”（はじめまして）, which is slightly different than “nice to meet you”. Examples like this are tiny differences. In fact, I relish finding all the common human traits we all share. Without them, any attempt at conversation would be futile.
Can you talk about tips and know-how for learning a foreign language?
Serbian language, my mother tongue, is a part of the Indo-European group of languages, which include English, German, French, Italian, Hindi, Russian and others. This is somewhat of a mitigating circumstance when it comes to language acquisition for me. For example, I was able to comprehend 40-50% of Italian language after only spending ten days in that country. The real challenge came in the form of the Japanese language for me.
Based on my experience with it, I can tell you that three things should be practiced by anyone who wishes to become good at a language.
① Beginners should learn gradually, not all at once
② Mimicking of pronunciation should constantly be on your mind.
③ Oral reading, I can’t overstate the importance of the third one. It is unfortunate that so many people feel embarrassed when it comes to reading aloud. They either don’t use voice at all, or they rush through it. Speed comes with time. With enough oral reading, our brains get attuned to the foreign language we are learning. Remember this.
What have you experienced in Japan?
I have already experienced so many places and events in Japan. I was living in Nara; visited Kyoto and Osaka on more than one occasion; saw Hiroshima, Miyajima, Tokyo, Kobe, Himeji-jō… My regret is that I only saw one hanabi-taikai（花火大会）, while I have never been to Kyushu and Hokkaido before. Yakushima in particular sounds like a place I would definitely like to hike through. I should mention I miss kotteri（こってり） ramen terribly.
What makes you special in teaching English at Best Teacher?
I am fully committed to enabling a full understanding of lesson material in students, even when there is not enough time to explain it all. That’s what I use that advice box for after the lesson.
Also, I consider myself a person of many interests, so, aside from pronunciation corrections, which I specialize in, I enjoy in sharing my love of biology, astronomy, geography, movies, anime, video games through conversation. Because I am a linguist, I am able to provide a deeper understanding of etymology in words, that is, their origin. This way students are able to learn advanced vocabulary.
Do you have any encouraging message for students?
Many students are unaware of what a flexible system Best Teacher has. You can (and you should!) write about literally anything you like in the Writing Room. Don’t limit yourself on situational conversations.
However, talk about what you want to talk about IN THE AMOUNT you want. It is likely that a teacher with your shared interests will finish that script with you. Topics that are near and dear to you make English learning so much more fun than what it usually is.