Hello everyone. I’m Toru from Chiba, Japan. I have been working as a science teacher for 5 years at a senior high school in Japan. I stayed in Finland to learn about the Finnish style of education and to volunteer as a Japanese language teacher for 3 months. Before I came here, I had stayed in Canada for about half a year to learn about the Canadian style of education as well. Both of the experiences were awesome for me.

These days in Japan, we need to be more tolerant for opportunities to face various perspectives and different values from all over the world. I believe that the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 will help Japanese people to recognize the importance of understanding each other regardless of the languages and the cultural differences. In this situation, I have come to think that teachers also have to have global perspectives as well as students in the educational field. This is one of the reasons why I decided to go abroad and learn more about education in other countries. Needless to say, it was a big decision for me.

I have met lots students and staff members with different backgrounds in each educational field through this long journey. I tried to tell them about the Japanese educational system, both the Japanese traditional culture and the latest one though I’m not good at speaking English. I devoted myself to practicing English for every single class and presentations because I thought it was an incredibly valuable opportunity for me and wanted people to know about our fascinating Japanese culture. I think I especially have to mention about the students who chose my Japanese class. All of them have been kind, polite, and wonderful. I really appreciate them because they always tried to support me. The time we spent together was a truly valuable time thanks to them.

With absolute certainly, I can say that what I experienced here was something I never can learn from numerous obligatory trainings for teachers in Japan. This experience broadened my perspective and gave me precious relationships with the people I met. I was so lucky to meet great students and staff members here. In addition, because of the fulfilling days I lived through here, I have gotten to like Finnish people and culture though I couldn’t be brave enough when it comes to jumping into the frozen lake just after a sauna.

Based on this experience, I’m looking forward to telling all these stories to my students and staff members in Japan. Thank you for giving me such a great opportunity to stay here. Hopefully, someday I will be back here in the summer season. Thank you again, and see you next time!

Toru Ishii