Almost everyone in life has had a teacher of some kind. However, the level of importance that a teacher has is different. Some people remember certain teachers for life, and others don't think of their teachers at all.
For me, I cannot say that I have had many good teachers or many bad ones. I have had a mix of both, but I feel this has benefited me in a way. Now while I talk a lot about Japanese, I don't think I have ever discussed the experience of having an actual Japanese instructor. Taking Japanese formally in class is a lot different than self study. It's the perfect thing for some, but a burden for others.
For me, the experience has been somewhat in between. I've struggled a bit in Japanese through my classes, yet I don't feel I would have reached my current level without any help. Still, I practice self study because I want to become the best I can be at Japanese. Regardless, I am very thankful for my teacher.
To make things more clear, I take Japanese at my college. I am in part three as of now, and hope to continue and take all the parts during my college years. I started with the basics of the basics in Japanese, going in thinking it would be hard and incredibly difficult to learn. Throughout my classes, I found that Japanese can be easy if it is taught in an easy way.
We learned and perfected our language skills with many methods, ranging from songs, story books, and skits. Our exams were somewhat tough, but with enough studying I was always able to make a good grade. Aside from this, numerous cultural values and stories were added in the mix. I began to realize that even though I came in simply thinking I was learning a language, I began to take away more than that.
The most significant trait of class that I can think of, is the fact that we work with a partner nearly everyday. This is usually decided on where we sit during class, so a few people catch on and sit near their friends. Others, like me, prefer to be thrown into a mix of new people. I've made many friends with this class alone and most of them are people who think like me, and enjoy the same things that I'm passionate about. It's such a great feeling.
In the end, the point I'm trying to make is that none of this would be possible without my teacher. When it comes to remembering Japanese words, her voice rings in my mind. When it comes to learning and recalling certain cultural facts, I remember the stories from class. When it comes to simply picturing Japan and the Japanese language, I simply remember my teacher.
I can't even imagine my college life without Japanese. I feel it would be a lot less colorful if my school didn't have it. So even though people may think teachers do not do much, there are some who do. I for one will remember my Japanese teacher, and all the things she has taught me. The amount of work she puts into teaching us is impeccable, and different from every other teacher I have ever had.
My question for you all; have you ever had a teacher who stands out above all the rest? Do you prefer self study or formal study when it comes to Japanese?