I have a confession to make. My Japanese is pretty crappy. There, I’ve said it.
I mean, I can read a menu. I can figure out what’s going on when I watch a movie or join a conversation about everyday topics. I can go shopping and get around. And in my defence, Japanese has three writing systems, one of which contains thousands of ideograms. Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking how great it would be to be able to read a whole newspaper….
I can think of several reasons why a language teacher should also be a language student.
- It makes one more empathetic towards the students.
- It helps understanding of WHY students make certain mistakes with English
- It enables the teacher to use L1 in the classroom
- It sets a good example for the students
A serious question of priorities. Ideally, I would study Japanese, teach, do classroom research, publish and present, spend time with my friends and family, watch the football, keep up my photography, and go to the gym. Some of you self-disciplined scoundrels manage it all, I know. But if you are native speaker of the language you teach, do you think it is more important to study another language, or to engage in professional development activities? Which, ultimately, makes you a better language teacher?