March, 2012: Breeze Issue #53

A Free Monthly E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese


Mitsuhiro Tanabe (Roosevelt High School, WA)


Hello. My name is Mitsuhiro Tanabe and I work as an assistant teacher at Roosevelt high school, in Seattle, Washington.

Washington State has many prosperous Japanese language programs with more than 100 Japanese language teachers in the local association, WATJ.

The activities of WATJ, or Washington Association Teachers of Japanese, are very earnest. They meet up periodically and have workshops about pedagogy such as assessment, rubric and Web material. Now I am also a member of WATJ and it is a very meaningful way to network with other teachers.

I also assist at a nearby middle school, which is very different compared to the High school and I enjoy the two environments very much.

There are three teachers, who I support at my school. The first is a lady who is a native Japanese speaker with lots of experience teaching in high school. The second is another lady who is a non-native Japanese speaker, who teaches with a new style. Lastly, there is a gentleman who is a non-native Japanese speaker with experience teaching in middle school. Their classes are all taught with a different style and show the distinct style of each person, ‘to each his own’ as they say. I mainly teach grammar and culture and learn from their teaching methods.

Fortunately, I have the opportunity to observe other middle and high schools in the Seattle School District. I hope that I can visit as many schools as possible, and learn about the various aspect of teaching. 
Taking a foreign language class is requirement in our school district so students have to study another language. Most of the students seem to enjoy studying Japanese, but perhaps there are also students who don’t want to study a foreign language. Despite that, I would like to help them understand how interesting the Japanese language and culture is.

As you know, Japan is smaller than the U.S., but Japan is spread over a long distance north to south so there are many different cultural aspects to life in Japan. I will keep trying to show the different faces of Japan.
On the other hand, I would also like to keep learning about the various faces of the U.S.