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[YRP Students' Essays] My Target on Developing English

I was five years old when I first went to America. I had even no clue where I was or why I was there. Without knowing anything I went to my kindergarten. The special thing about my kindergarten was that there was a teacher who could speak Japanese and English and another teacher that could speak Polish. My kindergarten took kids from Poland or Japan. We did activities together and learned about each other's cultures. When I first went into the classroom we got worksheets. The teacher told us to write our names, but I didn't even know how to write my name yet. As I was getting more and more confused, one of the teachers came up to me speaking in English telling me to copy this, and she handed me a name tag that had my name in English. When I got my name tag, I felt a little relieved. As the day went on, I started learning easy phrases and started learning the alphabet. I also started making friends and I felt very confident in myself. As days passed, I got used to living in a new country and my English got better.

When I arrived back here in Japan I was thirteen and I went to a Japanese public school. What they were teaching was elementary-level English, and I thought this was too easy for me. So what I decided to do was to take EIKEN to test my English level. I decided to take level two. I started studying vocabulary words that I was unfamiliar with and started practicing the listening problems that they have on the tests. About a month after I took the test, I got a notice saying that I had passed the first test, and I was now ready to go take the last test. About two months after I took the test, I learned I had passed level two of EIKEN. When I found that out, I was really delighted. The next level I would like to challenge is level one. I heard it is very difficult, but when I improve my English more, I would like to challenge myself with it someday. My parents were considering if I should take a test to get into Doshisha International Middle School because they had heard that the school takes kids from different countries and teaches English at the student's level. I wanted to get into this school, to keep improving my English and learn more vocabulary, so I started practicing writing essays everyday. I am not very good at writing essays, so I had trouble practicing, but my dad took me to a place where they taught me how to improve my writing. After months of practicing, it was the day to take the test. I was very nervous and as I was sitting there waiting for the start call and I started to feel worried that I didn't practice enough. About an hour later we were done with the test and I felt very confident. Then when we found out I got into the school, I was filled with joy. Now here I am today still using English and hoping to get better at it as I get older.

To improve my English, I will read more English books, speak in English with my brothers at home, help with my brother's English homework, and talk to my friends that are in America. I think by doing these things, it will help me not to forget my English but to improve. I am reading a few books in English right now to help my vocabulary skills and to help me read faster. Whenever I am reading I always highlight the words I do not know and come back to them later to look them up in the dictionary. In this way, I can memorize them and use them in the future. Reading books can also help you when you have to write a story. You can come up with many ideas by using examples from different books you have read. To improve my English, I will also speak in English with my brothers at home. When I was in America, I always used English with my brothers because I was used to speaking in English because of school. I even spoke in English with my parents because I wasn't confident using Japanese. But now that I speak in Japanese everyday and the people around me use Japanese, I can speak in Japanese with my brothers and parents. I would like to speak in English with my brothers because it will also help my brothers keep their English, too. But when we are speaking English, we sometimes forget how to say a certain word, so we end up saying it in Japanese. I know this will not help us improve, so when we do not know how to say it, we must try using easier words or a similar word that can help us understand each other. So from now on, I will try my best to use English with my brothers when at home. One of my brothers got into this school, so he is going to come from this year. He decided to take the test because he wanted to learn more English and wanted to study English at his own level. So when my brother gets homework from his English class, I would like to help him whenever he has trouble. This can help me review and maybe learn something new. My youngest brother is forgetting English, so I would like to help him also. He can only understand very easy phrases, and he misspells words very often, so I would like him to develop his English more. To teach him, I need to make progress in my English, so I will talk to my friends in America. Since my friends only understand English, of course I can only respond back and ask questions in English. I think this will help me communicate with my friends and they will help me improve. My friends sometimes use difficult words I do not know, so I always look them up and keep the conversation going. My friends don't want me to forget my English, so whenever I am on the computer, they always talk to me to help me remember my English. But I was surprised that I can forget English this quickly. I realized that if I do not continue to speak or write in English, I can easily forget it. I want to remember how to read and write because I have a dream to be an English teacher for little kids.

My dream is to be a teacher for kindergarteners. I would like to teach Japanese kids English to help them in their future. The reason I want to become a teacher is because of my kindergarten teacher. She helped me out when I first went to school. I had no clue where I was and I could not speak English, so I was very confused. But my kindergarten teacher could speak in Japanese and in English, so I was very glad. She helped me remember easy phrases when I had trouble. She sometimes wouldn't let me go to the bathroom or help me open something until I asked her in English. I sometimes got frustrated with myself for not understanding something or couldn't communicate with other friends because we were only allowed to speak in English while we were in school, but luckily my kindergarten took many kids from Japan, so I made friends very easily. My teacher always helped me with any trouble I had and things I could not understand. I had bad memories because I could not speak in English, but since my teacher was there for me, I felt very thankful. I thought I was lucky I got to go to this school. Another thing I felt lucky about was that I was lucky to go and study English from kindergarten. Since American kids start to learn from kindergarten, I did not have to worry so much about messing up. But if I have started going to school from elementary school, everyone would have already known their alphabet and would start learning other subjects. I felt lucky that I got to learn English from the beginning. Now I am here today, able to speak in English. I think all my teachers that have taught me have helped me improve my English every year and I feel very special right now. So my dream is to become an English teacher.

To improve my English, I need to study more words and need to have a goal to accomplish. This way, I can achieve something and concentrate on what I am going to do. My goal is to pass EIKEN level one and to get a higher score on TOEFL than last year. To accomplish this goal, I need to start studying from now and do everything I can do to improve. I would like to keep talking in English and try my hardest in my new English class. I will keep talking to my friends in America to keep my English skill the way it is. I am still a middle school student, so I have a lot of time left. So I do not want to rush to decide what I want to do when I grow up, but my goal is to be an English teacher. I would like to aim for my dream and also keep my English because I know it is not an average thing to have and I am very thankful that I can speak in two languages.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Chiaki Kato, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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