Findlay High School’s new Japanese teacher arrived with a mission to not only teach students a new language, but to build cultural connections.
A graduate of the University of Findlay, Tanya Schubert has extensive experience in language instruction. She’s taught English in Japan and Japanese in the United States, while also working as a professional translator.
Teacher and Liaison
At FHS, Schubert teaches Japanese I, a new offering this year. The course already has a high enrollment and is projected to grow more next year. “There is clearly a desire from a lot of students to learn the language,” she said.
Additionally, Schubert is helping two Japanese exchange students, currently attending FHS, to acclimate to the U.S. She is also collaborating with FHS administrators on the application process for Findlay students who have the opportunity to attend school in Kawaguchi, Japan next year.
Partnering with UF
Schubert has also partnered closely with the University of Findlay to build connections between her students and the university’s international students. UF students from Japan visit her classroom to provide language support to her high school students. In October, Schubert’s students took a field trip to spend a day with their Japanese college friends.
Benefits of Japanese
Schubert points out the multiple benefits of learning the language as Japan is the number one foreign investor in the state of Ohio, and there are numerous Findlay residents from Japan, or who work in one of several local companies that are Japanese-owned. There’s also a significant professional need for Japanese speakers. “A lot of students with STEM interests recognize that Japanese can serve them well as a foreign language,” she said. Additionally, students recognize the value of putting Japanese on college and job applications because it demonstrates that they are up for a challenge.
The Japan Foundation — a Japanese organization designed to cultivate friendship and ties between Japan and the world — provided a grant to help start the Japanese program at Findlay High School. Schubert also expressed her gratitude for the ongoing community support for the program. “We can’t grow without collaborating together and supporting each other as a community,” she said.
“I am taking Japanese I because I plan to apply to the Kawaguchi exchange program and I want to be a good candidate. Japanese is a lot harder than Spanish because you have to learn a whole new alphabet of symbols.”
“I’ve always wanted to travel abroad and study in Japan and I planned to do it in college. I am very happy that FHS is offering this opportunity now in high school.”
“Last year I took an online Japanese language course and I really liked it. I’m excited to take the course this year with a real teacher. Japanese is very different than Western languages. Unlike Spanish, the words do not even sound similar to English words, which makes it more challenging to learn.”