Hi, I’m Ryan, and I graduated with the LTS cohort of 2013. Since then I’ve been teaching at Tokyo International University in charming Kawagoe, Japan, about an hour northwest of Tokyo by train. Positions for full-time English teachers are usually limited to a few years in Japan, so last year it was time to begin the hunt for another job.
Hello Ryan! Thanks for catching up with us on the LTS blog! The last time we heard from you, you described your work at Tokyo International University. Now you are about to start a new adventure. What are you doing next?
I was really excited (and extremely relieved) to land a spot at Kanda University of International Studies, a school that focuses exclusively on foreign language studies. It’s in Chiba, about an hour east of Tokyo. With the arrival of COVID-19, everything has changed. Like schools around the world, Kanda has made all courses online for the first semester, my entire orientation to the university has been on Zoom, and collaboration with colleagues from afar. It looks like this will be the new norm for the foreseeable future! Let’s hope we can make more of a human connection in the fall.
What is interesting or exciting to you about this new position?
I’m particularly interested in getting involved in their Self-Access Learning Center, where students can be trained to direct their own learning (related to my final project in LTS!). I’ll be starting at the end of March, and I’m really looking forward to what’s in store.
You’ve said you had a good experience at TIU as your first teaching position after LTS. Looking back on your 6 years at TIU, what do you think is key to a positive and growth-oriented workplace? What should our LTS graduates be looking for when they interview for positions?
I really lucked out with TIU. It was the first opportunity for employment after LTS (Thanks for the heads up, Keli!) and was a wonderful experience. Both the administration and my colleagues were very supportive; at no time did I feel I couldn’t turn to someone for help or information. There were also plenty of opportunities for professional development and learning. I hope new LTS graduates can sense such an environment when they begin looking for jobs.
It’s been 6 years since you graduated. What do you hope to learn, experience, or discover in the next 6 years?
Looking forward, I’ll continue to develop professionally and enjoy my life here. I intend to get more involved in research at KUIS’ center for autonomous learning, a subject I’m very interested in. I also want learn about my new community: find new haunts, meet locals, and participate in neighborhood events. And, of course, continue my life-long study of Japanese!
A last question – how important do you think it is to stay in touch with colleagues from the past as you move through different phases in your life?
Life after LTS has been a real adventure, just like the program was. It’s always fun to hear what old classmates have been up to. Many of us have been lucky enough to see each other at various celebrations in our lives. Staying connected is sometimes a way to learn about professional opportunities, but it’s always a way to remember and enjoy good times.