Southeast Alumna Teaches English to Japanese Students

septemberandjapaneseSeptember Hinkle of Fredricktown, Mo., an alumna of Southeast Missouri State University who is going to pursue her Master of Arts in English from Southeast in the fall, taught English to students in Japan last spring.

September said she loved the culture of Japan the most and the challenge of adjusting to their society.

“Everything was different, so I had to learn the culture and adapt my ways of teaching and doing things to better suit the people I was a guest of. People casually say good morning to complete strangers, and it was refreshing. It was a challenge that I relished,” September said.

Her favorite memory of her time in Japan was when she taught Japanese student the meaning of the word bald. They had been using “baldness” to describe someone.

“It was a fun lesson on teaching them the word in a casual conversation – that moment is when the students take an interest in English outside of academics and are using it in their casual conversation. Those are the moments to take pride in, because it means they are enjoying the language,” September said.

September is currently writing a paper about her experience in the classroom in Japan. She will present her paper at the North American Chapter World Council for Curriculum and Instruction in 2013 in Montreal, Canada.

She says she’s very excited about her opportunity to speak and feels honored to have been invited to the conference by Dr. Jean Benton, a faculty member in the Department of Middle School and Secondary Education.

“My paper focuses on diversified learning to help students gain the best education possible,” September said.

September says her favorite travel destination is Japan, although she’d like to travel to other Asian countries such as Korea and China. She plans to continue to student teach at other places outside of the United States during the summers.

“The culture was interesting and it was my first time living outside of the United States. It taught me many things about adapting to my environment and skills in communication when the people may not know the same language as you,” September said.

She will teach English to first-year students in the fall in conjunction with the Southeast Department of English. She says that due to the university’s education program, she has learned the process of education as well as the application of teaching. She says she knows, “that I will be prepared to plan lessons and impart them to my students in a fun and innovative fashion along with the guidance of the English department.”

Reading and video games are her favorite activities, and hopes to be able to incorporate video games into her future classroom lessons and to her students.

“My advice for future Southeast students is to be involved with campus life or with their fields of study,” September said. “I never thought I would go to Japan and teach English, but I did because I took a chance on doing something that was different than my normal way of doing things. So – as some of you remember Mrs. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus saying – take chances, make mistakes and get messy. Take a chance and do something you don’t normally do. College is a time to discover yourself and create the person you still want to be in the next 10 or 20 years. Be responsible and independent, but don’t be afraid to take a chance and try something you may never get the chance to try again.”