Ms. Maya EZOE
I worked as a math teacher at one of the elementary schools. One of my responsibilities is to assist teachers to enhance their teaching skills, and another one is to help students understand math better. I taught 4-6 grades for 2 years. In the class, while my counterpart mainly made lessons, I went around and gave children one-to-one tutorials. And after school, we reviewed the lesson we had and planned for the next day together. [restrict]
What surprised me most in my school is that some of the students were slow to catch up. Since I used to teach in elementary school in Japan before I came to Palau, I used to think “Children are supposed to try even if they face hard problems.” But some students I met were not like that. When they had hard problems, they tended to quit to think because they didn’t know how to solve nor think.
Since then, I started to cooperate with teachers to think about strategies to make students try, but we struggled at first. Though we tried hard, we couldn’t make a dramatic change during the 1st year. The students were very nice and friendly, but when it came to during teaching them math, it was hard to get them under control so that we could teach our lessons to enhance their understanding. This is because they didn’t keep rules such as to sit quietly, to listen to what teachers say, and to respect others. We needed to teach them individually, so my English speaking skills improved but actually, I wasn’t sure about the students’ math skills.
After a year, I finally came to realize that they were changing little by little. I think this is because they changed their mind as they moved up to the next grade. Maybe they were looking for an opportunity to change themselves. First, they came to try to solve even the difficult problems that needed some steps to find the answers.
Also, they came to write the solutions with steps we teachers didn’t tell them do so. Especially, what made me happy most was that everybody looked at the board and listened to the teacher explaining. Of course their efforts allowed them to get a good score on the test, which made them happier.
It seemed like they enjoyed studying math. Sometimes they came to me saying “Sensei! I got it!” or “Ok, now I know how, you can go,” which made me sad but even glad.
Having seen them changing, I am proud of themselves so much as I have seen them trying math hard, and I am also very happy to have met those students in Palau.
Moreover, since it turned to be my 2nd year, some teachers said to me, “Give me more advice. I want to improve my teaching skills.” or “Why don’t you come to my class?” When I heard those words, I could feel they needed me. I loved the time spending with teachers chatting or arranging the classroom until late together.
I recognized how enjoyable education is. Teaching jobs are very good because we can see and assist students in making their progress. Even after I get back to Japan, I will try my best as a teacher believing in their progress. [/restrict]