Greetings from Caroline Kano - New Teacher!


Greetings from Caroline Kano

How do you do, everyone? It is a great privilege to be asked to write a message of greeting and self-introduction to you, in anticipation of beginning my classes at MEL School this April. I am Caroline, from London in the UK, and I have been living and teaching English in Japan for some years now. I first lived in the city of Kure in Hiroshima prefecture, and then in the city of Matsue, in Shimane prefecture – former home also to Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), whom I much admire – before I came to Tokyo to teach at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies eleven years ago. I am often asked what brought me to Japan. In fact, I mainly chose to come to Japan for two reasons: namely, having studied Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, I had both a fascination for oriental culture and a love of Language. I wished to learn Japanese and know more about Japanese culture, and I was also attracted by the idea of exploring my own language through the experience of teaching.
初めまして。キャロラインと申します。4月からMEL Schoolで新しくクラスを受け持つにあたり自己紹介の機会をいただきとても嬉しく思っています。生まれはイギリスのロンドンですが、これまで数年にわたり日本で英語を教えてきました。11年前に東京外国語大学で教鞭をとるため東京に移るまで広島県の呉市と私の敬愛する小泉八雲のかつての故郷でもある島根県の松江市に住んでいました。母校のロンドン大学では東洋・アフリカ研究学科で中国語を学び東洋文化への憧れと言語への深い関心を抱きます。日本語を学び、日本の文化をもっと知りたい、そして外国人に教えることで私の母国語である英語にも発見できることが多々あるに違いない。そう思い、日本に移住しました。
Indeed, when I first came to Japan, people from other countries were still quite a rarity. However, I was intrigued by the term Internationalization which I began to hear, as more and more people appeared to want to learn English. At the same time, I remember how my students, children and adults alike, despite a definite desire to be able to speak the language, tended to be inhibited by the constraints of a grammar orientated system of school English education and an inherent cultural shyness. Somehow, though, while endeavouring to comprehend the former, I was able to feel a sense of affinity with the latter. This was because, as a child, and even into adulthood, while always painfully aware of what I was missing in life, I was myself quite lacking in self-confidence and an ability to speak out. It was only after coming to Japan, and seeing my students in a similar situation, that I realized it was my responsibility to overcome my own shyness. I wanted to show my students how much more fulfilling life could become with a positive attitude towards interacting with others.  
Nevertheless, and in all honesty, to some extent due to my aspiration to be a part of Japanese society, it was not easy for me to bring up my own daughter and son to be bilingual. Although they have themselves made an effort to learn English, the fact that they did not grow up speaking English naturally is something which I now regret. In a way, I think I have been doing my best to compensate for this over the years with other school and university students I have since had the pleasure of teaching. Particularly with the increasing emphasis not simply on internationalization but on globalization and the prominence of English and cultural diversity in the corporate workplace in Japan, I feel ever keenly that it is my role to encourage in my students a sense of inquiry, an openness to diverse opinions, and the challenge of attempting new things and making discoveries. Above all, I want them to know the joy of expressing themselves and sharing ideas through communication.

Thus, with its cheerful and caring atmosphere, and its focus on nurturing the skills of communicative English in its students, it is both an honour and a further exciting challenge in my life for me to have the opportunity to teach at MEL School. I will certainly do my utmost to help my young students enjoy the experience of communicating in English and build confidence in their ability to do so. I am very much looking forward to meeting you all. どうぞよろしくお願い致します。
MEL Schoolでの生徒たちが生き生きと楽しそうに英語でコミュニケーションする力をつけている様子を見て、ここで教える機会を得られたことは名誉であり、私の人生において心躍るような新しい挑戦だと感じています。生徒たちが自信を持って英語で意思疎通をはかる経験を楽しみ、力をつけること。そのゴールに向かって最大限の努力をしていきます。皆さんにお会いできるのが今からとても楽しみです。どうぞよろしくお願い致します。

Caroline Kano

January, 2019

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