Japan EAP ESSAY!
My goal in life is to become a teacher. I wish to become the best teacher ever, it's as simple as that. In addition to that I want to be able to affect the entire syustem. I want to be able to help the educational system where ever I may go. My dream is to to be the education system's savior. It's extreme, but it's certainly worth a try. If I were able to re-invigorate the American school system I would be the happiest person alive. Of course, I have to start somewhere; and that somewhere is my own classroom.
I think that the best way to achieve my plan of reinvigorate the school system is to be able to objectively look at the strengths and weakness of it. Because I have spent my entire life within the American school system, I have no other perspective from which to view it from. My time in Japan will be spent trying to comprehend what can arguably be called the world's most famous school system; the Japanese school System. It is only when I have immersed myself in the Japanese school system will I be able to look at my own American school system with any sort of distance or analytical perspective. Obviously attending college as a foreigner in Japan can in no way reproduce the experience of growing up as a student in japan, but having a small experience is much better than having none. To at least experience a year of school in a Japanese university among Japanese peers will get me one step closer to knowing the student side of the Japanese school system.
In addition to the experience and peer interaction, I plan to take a heavy regiment of both Education and Psych classes in Japan. In particular, I will focus on japan's presentation of the Japanese school system, however, I think that taking a class about japan's view of America's School system would be rewarding as well. As for the psycology, I plan to continue to take classes which specilize in areas of Child psychology. After I graduate, I hope to be accepted into the JET program, and teach in a Japanese school. Here I would be able to complement my experience as a student in Japan with the experience of being a teacher in Japan. Once my time as a JET teacher has ended, I plan to return to the US, and get my teaching credentials. Finally, I will be able to put my study and experience to work, in my very own classroom.
My principal interest in life is children. In many ways, all children are the same. But in many more important ways, children differ drastically all over. Children raised in the same house can be as different as children raised on different continents. I want to go to Japan to see first hand what makes Japanese children different than American children. This doesn't mean sitting and playing with children, (because I doubt I will get much time to do that) but by living in Japan I will have a chance to be immersed in the youth culture of Japan. A great deal can be learned about a culture and a specific demographic within a culture by the popular media. Understanding Japanese youth will help me better understand the Japanese school system? For example, in the US we have video games and anime, and yet the government says that it is violent and corrupting the youth. In Japan they have the same things, in fact they even make them, and it all co-exists with the "ideal" schools.
I started studying Japanese in 8th grade but my real instruction didn't come until 11th grade (1998) when I took Japanese in high school. My teacher spoke no English during class, so after two years I got pretty good at understanding Japanese, even when I didn't know all the words being used. The teacher also emphasized the memorization of kanji, so when I started Japanese at UCSC in fall of 2000 I had the advantage of more practice with kanji, and more practice with listening comprehension than that of my peers. As the year moved on I continued my study of kanji, and reading, and rarely have trouble understanding the teacher. When I have talked to native speakers outside of class, I have (or so they say) been able to express myself coherently and accurately.
My high school Japanese class did more than give my aural comprehension a vigirous workout, It offered me a once-in-a-lifetime oppurnunity� twice. During my first year of Japanese, the teacher gave us a chance to have Japanese students stay with us for two weeks. Naturally, I was the first to sign up. The experience was great. Not only was it a wonderful oppurnity to practice my japanese 24 hours a day, but it changed my perspective on my daily routine. Things I had taken for granted were questioned, first by Chigusa (the student who stayed with me the first year) and then again by myself. Why did I talk to my cats? Why did I take my shower in the morning? Why did I have to change my outfit every time I went outside? These were real honest questions from a very innocent girl who just wanted to know what Americans were really like.
The next year I played host to Shinji, who it turned out, was as unusual a Japanese student as I was an American student. We hit if off wonderfully, and spent the week chasing ducks at the local pond, laughing at the Spanish channel and taking pictures of each other with underwear on our heads. Shinji and Chigusa were complete opposites, yet through both I was able to examine and see myself in a new light. Where Chigusa wanted to know about the plants in my yard, Shinji wanted to know if we could see my friend's punk band play live. Both helped me appreciate my life and my friends (and having my own car.)
Through a coincidence, I left for a 12 day trip to Japan with my older sister (who lived in Japan for 4 years) the same morning that Shinji left to return to his home in Japan. During my stay in Japan, I experienced a considerable range of Japanese culture. My trip started in my sister's Texas educated Japanese friend's 1 room apartment, and progressed to an inn in Kyoto, a Ryosan in Hiroshima, and finally shinji's rural house 3 minutes walk from the coast of the pacific in Iwate. It felt like each day I was moving farther away from the Americanized Japan and closer to the center of Japan. I truly loved every minute of it, from the neon and crowds of Akihabara to having to walk through the snow to use the outside restroom at Shinji's Iwate home. No matter where we went, all I could think
and that's about how it went...