In the past, I have experienced working for YCAC summer camp as an assistant, and for YIS summer school as an elementary homeroom assistant for two consecutive years. These were both a two-week long experience that I took time out of my summer break to participate in. Currently, I am working for two tutoring jobs teaching koto for one, and maths, English, and Japanese for the other. I have been teaching koto for a year and a half, and the other tutoring job for 4 months now as of November 2018. All of my work experiences so far have been to assist or teach elementary students. I’ve chosen this because I am considering getting a degree in education after university to become an elementary school teacher, and hopefully come back to YIS. These experiences have helped me grow as a person and taught me many important tactics to help increase my engagement with the children as well as between the children.
Since YCAC summer school and YIS summer school were my first two work experiences, it made me realize the most things. At YCAC throughout each day, we assisted the children through different activities such as swimming, soccer, drawing, singing, etc, to overall create an environment to practice their English. At YIS summer school, although there were still many activities going on, the program was more oriented towards more educational subjects. The children came from many different schools so they were new to engage with one another. It was very clear from the beginning that some of them were more outgoing whilst some were very shy, which made it more important that I as an assistant will have to make the shy kids want to participate and feel comfortable in the environment. One way that I accomplished this was by partnering them up into random small groups during group activity and make sure to not be overprotective of them whenever they wanted to rely on me to convey their ideas. I felt that it is very important for the kid to at least try to speak for themselves, but stay supportive of them if it doesn’t work out the first try for reasons such as another kid being rude towards them. To attempt to equalize the interaction and status between the children, it requires the louder kids to stay calm and be open-minded of others and the more shy kids to be confident in themselves and take a risk. Having the children experience things on their own first, then guiding them through what is right or wrong helped them grow as a learner and care for others. Overall from these two summer experiences, I was able to acknowledge the importance of the assistant’s role to notice these aspects in children and help them notice their strengths and weaknesses to eventually become an interactive human.
My two ongoing work experiences have helped me understand how to build a connection with children on a personal level since it is a one on one interaction. Since both of them are very young (3rd grade and 6th grade), it is very important that I keep them motivated to work. One way that I’ve learned to do is set goals using the time. For example, I would tell them we can take a short break once we finish a task or concentrate until a certain time. When it is break time, it is important that the child is doing nothing related the work and fully focusing on relaxing. This helps them reset their ability to concentrate on the next upcoming task. Another tactic to maintain their interest is to make them feel accomplished and confident even if it is a topic they’re struggling with. I do this by praising and complimenting them whenever they get anything correct or are able to think critically in the situation. Even if they do not get anything correct, it is important to stay calm and guide them towards the correct solution rather than telling them directly of what they should be doing. Overall in order to develop a healthy relationship with the child, it is important that I listen to their stories, show that I care and have interest in what they like to do. This helps grasp their personality, which helps keep a conversation and make the lessons fun.
From these four work experiences that I’ve gone through so far in my life, I have learned how to create healthy relationships between children in a large community, as well as on a personal level. I will continue to take these opportunities to deepen my understanding of their way of thinking and aim to succeed to become an elementary teacher. I genuinely enjoy working with children and feel that I have an appropriate attitude and outlook to be in a position to work with them.