From 2002 to 2004, I served as a volunteer teacher of English as a second language for the Greenville Literacy Association, as part of my participation in the Heller Service Corp of Furman University. I taught practical, everyday English skills to immigrants from many different countries. During this time, I first learned that English teaching can empower students, help to give them a better life, and help build peace and mutual understanding among people of different cultures.
The average class size was about 6 to 8 people, and the students’ ages ranged from 17 years to 65 years old. The student ability levels ranged from beginner to advanced. Twice a week, I taught 2 or 3 classes at a Greenville Literacy Center near my university in Greenville, South Carolina. This was my first experience in teaching English as a second or foreign language. I learned a lot and the experience gave me a good preparation for my responsibilities in Japan.