Student Nomination Story

My passion has always been in foreign language. Since elementary school, I was obsessed with perfecting my skills in Korean and after 7th grade, I enrolled myself into Level 1 Japanese. Though I could have stopped taking the class after my recommended three years, but part of the reason why I continued to take the class was because of Ms. Eilene Oyama. Sensei (Japanese word for teacher) knows how to teach her subject well to her students. I often hear students taking other foreign languages complain due to their teacher’s teaching method, but the reason why I can actually read, write, and speak in Japanese is because she explains all the grammar, gives examples, and has us practice with our speaking partners. Not only does sensei teach in a way I can remember information permanently, but she is loved by her students for her warm and caring personality. Whenever I see sensei, she always gives me a smile and says “Good morning” in Japanese. Recently, I’ve been sick and I haven’t been able to rest properly due to Japan Quiz Bowl and other events, but sensei always checked on my condition whether she saw me in the office or in class. And before Japan Quiz Bowl, I was worried since this would be my first and last competition, but sensei told me to have more confidence in my skills as well as other words of encouragement. She didn’t need to say much to express that she believed in me and her other students’ skills. Sensei gives mini pep-talks to her students and another reason why students are so impressed with her is because she remembers a lot of details, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this. So far, I realized that sensei tends to remember most of the students’ first names, last names, their made-up Japanese names, as well as other details, such as whether you have a sibling or not, what you want to major in, etc. Although I don’t really tell people much about myself unless they ask, sensei seems to remember almost every detail I told her. Although I don’t understand how she has the time and energy, sensei puts effort into all of her classes and clubs she advises (Japanese culture club, Japan Quiz Bowl, Yearbook). I wasn’t part of any Japanese clubs last year, I can tell that she had to especially had to put more hours into the Japanese culture club this year since we had three schools visit. Not only that, but she has been and still is continuing to work with the students who will participate in Japan Quiz Bowl Nationals while teaching us AP Japanese students to pass the test. Oyama sensei often tells her students that she’s thankful to us for continuing to take Japanese even after we passed the number of years for graduation, but she should know that the reason why most of us even continue is because we enjoy learning Japanese from her. For the past 5 years, sensei helped me improve my skills tremendously and I wish I can become a respected foreign language teacher like her in the future.

Holly Cho

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.