Time in Japan:
7 years plus
Where are you from?Georgia, USA
What brought you to Japan? The United States Navy. After leaving the
Navy, I returned to Japan for a summer vacation and decided to stay for six months. Since
I was teaching and coaching at a high school in the States, I wanted to explore teaching
in Japan. So, I was going back and forth till 1993. In 1993, I returned to Japan as a
missionary. At this present time I' serving with Grace Bible Ministry International but
to support myself, I am teaching English.
How did you come about teaching at the school for the blind? I am an
educator. I came to know the truth about language schools and wanted out. In during so, I
applied with the Kanagawa Education Board for teaching positions and they introduced me to
the Kanagawa Prefecture School for the Blind in Hiratsuka. I had no experience teaching
blind students, but I had experience working with students who were slow learners. It was
very challenging for me as a teacher.
What was your initial feeling? Determined to learn a new skill of
teaching. As I said before, I have taught students who were slow learners. I thought this
experience would help out. Overall, it is very challenging for me as a missionary and as a
teacher. Also, I'm fortunate to have supervisors as Mr Kaneko Akira and Mr Murakami Yu.
They have taught me many things, such as how to teach these students.
How's it been so far? It's like a whole new discovery. I threw all of my
previous teaching experience away and started from scratch. I've learned a new teaching
skill. I've learned how to reach into a world that was totally unseen by my human eyes
before. The students have taught me many things in teaching and understanding their world.
"Though I was blind, but now I see." Knowledge is not for keeping, it's here to
be transferred to others. One cannot control knowledge. It belongs to all of mankind.
What are the major differences here compared to other schools you've taught at?
Noise. Activity of normal teenagers. Here you don't find a lot of that. The use of the
board is not needed in my classes. Patience is an essence. To speak repetitiously, over
and over, because redundancy is very important. Encouragement and love is a wonderful
thing to have to share. Some students are adjusting to his/her blindness. Some are losing
their sight little by little. All were not born blind or totally blind. So, encouraging
them with hope for their lives is needed. The need to be a part of society even if one is
blind is important. I try to instill a great hope for their lives in them and to encourage
them to always do their best.
What are some difficulties you have as an educator? Describing adverbs
and adjectives is tough. For example, colors. How does one describe a color to a blind
person? The beauty of a sunset over the mountains or on the horizon of the sea? How the
wind affects the leaves on a tree or the clouds in the sky? Descriptive things are the
Recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan? What is truth? What is
right? What is wrong? Where will I go after death? The recipe is Jesus Christ. He said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6. This recipe will not forsake
you nor ever leave you. It was the recipe for yesterday, it's the recipe for today and
it's the recipe for tomorrow and forever more. It is the recipe for a happy and successful
life anywhere on the planet.