Ever wonder how you could use Japanese as a career? Look no further! We interviewed some of our lovely senseis in US who learned Japanese as a second language and embarked on a career in teaching Japanese. Not only did they talk about their experience as a Japanese learner but their experience becoming a sensei and the positive effects it has had in their lives! We hope these videos encourage you in continuing your journey in learning Japanese and that you too, can be a sensei!
"I have a million Japanese grandparents taking care of me."
Kamenetzky-sensei is the winner of ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year! Since she was young, she wanted to become a teacher and as a High School student, she decided to take Japanese. That led her to her love of the language, culture, and meeting her Japanese language teacher that still inspires her today.
"People were so excited when they saw me trying to use Japanese."
Swick-sensei was one of the finalists for ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year! She started her interest in Japan and other cultures through her three-week homestay and exchange in Saroma, Japan, which was Palmer High School's sister city. Her experience in Japan connected her to study abroad in countries such as Sweden and Scotland and then eventually directed her to teach Japanese in the High School she graduated from!
"My Japanese teacher gave me a cheerleading cone to speak through."
Brown-sensei started her interest in Japanese through her friends and decided to take Japanese. Through Japanese classes, she was able to have an amazing Japanese teacher that worked with her in Japanese but also with social anxiety.
"Everyone in our Salinas group is so supportive and much like family."
Lupisan-sensei started her interest in Japanese through anime and learned Japanese in High School. She continued her Japanese language education and eventually started working with her High School Japanese teacher, Yo Azama-sensei.
"There's something that island culture calls to me."
Collazo-sensei started his interest in Japanese through karate, which is a form of martial arts! Through his trainers that spent time in Japan, he was exposed to Japanese culture.
"My decision in taking Japanese at 15-years old was one of the best decisions in my life."
Tsuruta-sensei started her interest in Japanese through her language classes in High School! Although she knew nothing about Japan, taking Japanese opened her up to another world she didn't imagine.
"When you learn another culture, you learn a little bit about yourself."
Brandt-sensei started her interest in Japanese through her language classes in High School and continued studying through college and became an exchange student!
"I hosted a Japanese exchange student at our home and our whole family started taking Japanese night classes."
Moy-sensei started her interest in Japanese through her experience with hosting a Japanese exchange student. That experience helped involve her whole family in learning Japanese!
"Among the foreign language teachers at my school, I'm infamously known for being a poor language learner."
Balsomico-sensei started his interest in Japanese through his experience as an English teacher through the JET (Japan, Exchange, and Teaching) program.
"I was not done after a 10-week summer course and fell in love with Japan."
Takeuchi-sensei started her interest in Japanese through love of learning languages and then discovering Aikido, which is a form of martial arts! She decided to learn Japanese to connect and understand her instructor.
"Japan is embedded everywhere in our lives."
Nemastil-sensei started her interest in Japanese through her language classes in High School! One of the biggest reasons why she decided to take Japanese as it was different from English or Russian, her native languages.