Gami is a young Japanese university student, who wants to be an English teacher. Right now, tho, she’s in the States, learning and having fun. Here’s a recent blog post which reminded me of the importance of offering/setting challenges to young people; to try something new, to believe that what they can’t do today, they might be able to do tomorrow :

These days she asked me to do babysitting in her friend’s house. At first I hesitated because I cannot speak English well and I had never done it before. But she recommended it me because she thought that babysitting would be a nice experience for me and I can learn about American family life. The children were 3 and 8 years old girls. I made dinner for them, played with toys, and read stories before they went to bed. It was a nice experiment for me. Like this babysitting experience, after I met her I could do many things that I cannot do only staying on campus and hanging out with my friends.

And speaking of challenges, here’s a tip for some simple challenges for my students: getting basic info about their own country.

When I take part in Japanese table I am asked about Japanese culture every time. They asked me why Japanese people say we do not have religion. They asked me the population and area of Iwate, Morioka, and Japan. They asked me the origin of Japanese traditional events like Setsubun, and Hinamatsuri. Every time I cannot give exact answers. When I asked about the population of Chicago or the origin of St. Patrick’s Day, etc to my friends almost all of students can answer. I realized how I do not know about my own country and culture.

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