We’ve got another great tutor to introduce you to. Meet Cathy, an experienced languages tutor, specialising in English and Japanese. Cathy is a real pro, having taught English in Japan, and Japanese in Australia. She’s even got some really funny stories…..if you ask nicely.
TB: How did you get into tutoring? What motivated you?
CS: I’ve been teaching for as long as I’ve been working, and have always enjoyed working with students one-on-one, or in small groups, to help them overcome obstacles to their learning. But now I’m not working full-time, so this seemed the perfect way to do something I enjoy to top up the bank account.
TB: You tutor English and Japanese. What fascinates you about these subject areas?
CS: I love language – especially learning and teaching language. When I began learning Japanese in high school, the idea that there were sounds and symbols, so completely different to what I was used to, but that made sense to someone else, fascinated me. It opened up a whole new world for me and the more I learnt, the more fascinating it become.
As for English, I realised it really is confounded language. I’ve seen so many of my own Japanese friends and others, even native speakers, struggle with it. As a native speaker in Japan I kind of fell into teaching English. I’d never thought too much about how English works, but as I said, I love language, so I took on the challenge and the more I tried to teach, the more I learnt myself. It was enough of a challenge learning Japanese, but English was more complex than Japanese, so I could really sympathise with them in their struggles. I found it quite fascinating, if not frustrating(!) to try and figure out the rules of English and explain them so they made sense. So now I quite enjoy teaching English especially to non-native speakers, or to those who find English difficult.
TB: What do you think makes you a great tutor?
CS: I’ve been on the journey. I know what it’s like. So I am patient, and I love students and my subject areas.
TB: What’s your best study tips for students?
CS: Practice makes perfect, especially in languages. There is no substitute for using the language. Look for opportunities and make opportunities to use the language. And of course, don’t be scared for making mistakes.
TB: What’s the best advice you were ever given as a student?
CS: Just say it! Don’t be scared of making mistakes. Just say it!
TB: What do you wish you were told as a student?
CS: Don’t leave all your study until the night before the exam! I managed to bluff my way through high school because I worked well in class, and did most of my homework. But boy, did I pay for it when I got to university! Cramming had not put stuff into my long-term memory, and I had not learnt to study properly. In high school, the teachers give you loads of practice in class, and if you do your homework, you’re pretty much set. But in university they give you a lecture and a text book, and you have to take your own notes and that’s it – the rest is up to you. You need to get in good study habits in high school if you don’t want a major shock at university.