Here at KAE we have hundreds of tutors that are the key to our courses, without them quite simply we wouldn’t be able to do what we do best.
Our tutors all have tonnes of experience in their fields and a true passion for the subject they teach. We went to meet Hiromi who is a Japanese language tutor who also runs some of our one day sushi making classes too.
Name: Hiromi Stevens
Favourite food: “I have to say Japanese food don’t I? I do like sushi though”
Favourite hobby: Tennis, music, theatre and reading.
Favourite film: “That’s a tricky question, my favourite recent film is The Kingsman.”
What do you do when you don’t teach for KAE?
As well as working for KAE over a range of courses, Hiromi also teaches at some of her local schools. This includes the Tonbridge School and Benenden School. When she has time she also offers private tuition as well.
What do you enjoy about teaching?
“I have a passion for the subject that I teach. I love to see students progressing and showing an interest in the area that I teach. My first ever proper job was as a language teacher.” What was clear from Hiromi was that helping people understand why she has such a passion for the Japanese language and then watching the passion flourish in her students is a very rewarding part of her job.
“I also find that with adults, the teaching becomes a two way thing, I teach them Japanese and they teach me more about the English language and life generally.”
What made you go into teaching?
“It was by pure accident that I became a teacher. It was the last job that I thought I wanted to do. I have lots of teachers and professors in my family, looked at them and didn’t want to do their jobs. However, I started to teach and began to absolutely love it.”
To advance her teaching Hiromi moved from Tokyo to Kent in 1990, moved to Hong Kong a few years later but the appeal of the Kent countryside drew her back and she continued teaching in the UK.
What do you like about teaching for KAE?
Hiromi teaches a wide age range not only through her work with KAE but through teaching and local secondary schools. So we wanted to find out what made working for KAE extra special.
“There is a huge difference between adults and young people. Adults tend to be better behaved obviously but they are more motivated to learn a language, it isn’t something they need to do like it is at secondary school. I also find that with adults, the teaching becomes a two way thing, I teach them Japanese and they teach me more about the English language and life generally.”
When speaking to Hiromi, she told me how much she loved the age range of people that come to adult education classes. She has had people as young as 18 in the past and husband and wife and mother and daughter combos come to learn too.
What would you say to someone thinking about taking a language course?
“A language skill is a skill for life. It opens up the world and opportunities. Not only that but in a class you can make new friends and meet others who have a similar interest to you.
It’s never too late and is good for the brain, to keep it going. It’s difficult to make the first step but just go for it!”
Do you have a favourite student experience?
“A few years ago we used to offer GCSE Japanese. I had one student who came to the class and due to work and family commitments I was concerned that he might not be able to get through the course. I shouldn’t have worried though because he knuckled down and worked really hard and then ended up getting an A*! In my first year 100% of my students got an A* and in the second year, 3 students got an A* and 1 got an A so I was really happy about that.”
What do you think makes you a good tutor?
“Hmm…I’d like to say that I’m not a typical ‘teacher, teacher’. I like jokes and fun in my classroom as well as learning of course. In the past some students have come to adult education and they had given up with education after school but after coming to my lessons went on to university and one student continued to do a masters so I feel not only proud of them but happy that I could make an impact on their lives and motivate them.”
Are there any quirks of the Japanese language that you love?
When I asked Hiromi this question a smile came across her face straight away and I would soon find out why…
“We don’t have a future tense and only have two irregular verbs, everything is phonetic and logical too. There is some pronunciation that always gets a laugh in the classroom. The phrase for ‘you’re welcome’ sounds like ‘don’t touch my moustache’ as you say it.”
It was clear to see that Hiromi not only loved teaching but loved how adult education can really help people blossom and gain a new passion. Despite falling into teaching it has turned Hiromi from a naturally shy person into a fantastic tutor and very open, warm and welcoming person who credits becoming a teacher for changing her life completely.Back to the Magazine