ESL Teacher Interviews: Misako Yoke

Kaplan have the pleasure of talking to Misako Yoke. Misako is a TEFL certified EFL teacher/coordinator, author, Language Learning Counselor (for Japanese ESL Learners) English to Japanese Translator and Voice Over artist (specializing in ESL/EFL educational projects). You can discover more about Misako here.

What made you become an ESL teacher?

Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved the adventure of travel – the unknown, something different. As a non-native English speaker, I soon found English is an essential language while pursuing my dream to travel abroad.

I first started sharing what I learned with my friends, and then, my knowledge and passion has continued to expand - made me realize that teaching is actually learning - I decided to become an ESL teacher.

How would you describe your teaching style?

A large part of my teaching style is 'facilitator'. I make the materials in a clear and comprehensible manner, so my students will not only learn English, but also learn the subject content as well. Another part is devoted to giving the students confidence; I try to be as supportive as I can.

What cultural insights can you get from teaching ESL?

The majority of my students are Japanese and a very few are Mexican, but teaching them have helped me to reflect on my home country's culture from an international perspective.

As growing up in Japan, I was taught and have developed a great admiration for the discipline and dedication towards one's study and work, although the “take it easy, have fun” culture from Mexican students is something I need to adapt.

Have you experienced cultural difficulties from teaching ESL?

Not from teaching, although I've experienced plenty of "challenges" when I lived in American Samoa. What I learned from the challenges is that the most compelling learning experiences come from living in cultures that are sharply differently from my own. It can lead to a rounder, more fulfilling life, if you are able to be open-minded.

Which other ESL teachers do you admire and why?

I admire Mr. Duncan ("Speak English With Misterduncan":)! He's been providing videos for ESL learners since 2006, reaching 300 of them (as of October 16, 2013). The hilarious and over the top attitude in these YouTube videos are filled with laughter, yet very resourceful.

What would you say to someone who was considering becoming an ESL teacher?

Go for it! The world is changing, the way of teaching is also changing, but the will for teaching is always treasured.

What do you think is the future of ESL teaching?

As the world becomes increasingly global, and English is the dominant societal language, I believe the demand for English will continue to be high. Cloud-powered social media, on-line and mobile tools will help ESL teachers to work on an international and collaborative project in a flexible way. I think "the adventure continues" for the future of ESL teaching.

Which superhero would you be and why?

She’s not a Superhero, per se, but Mary Poppins is the best for me. She tells us that every daunting task can be overcome in the delightful song of "A Spoonful of Sugar", and teaches the longest English word "Supercalifragilistic- expialidocious". This ridiculously long word has some sort of magic - my students are willing to make an effort to remember it!

Many thanks to Misako for participating in this interview. Do you agree with Misako's views on the ESL industry? Please leave a comment below.

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