By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Although her recent college degree is in music education, Shelby Leyland of Imperial will instead be teaching English in Japan this next year.
Leyland, 22, graduated this past spring from Hastings College with a Bachelor’s Degree. The city of Hastings is a “sister city” to Ozu, Japan.
The two cities have occasionally hired teachers from each other’s colleges. One of Leyland’s professors asked if she would be interested.
“I was thinking of a music career,” Leyland explained, “but was ready for an adventure first. It sort of fell into my lap.”
Ozu is described as “rural,” but Leyland said it is a city of about 20,000 people south of Tokyo in the southern part of the mainland.
Leyland will be team-teaching in a school in Ozu. That means that she won’t be in a room of students by herself, but will plan lessons, among other things.
She’s been told that she will be “like a glorified tape recorder.” A teacher will say something in Japanese, and she will repeat it in English.
The school days run from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. five days a week. Leyland will have weekends off, as well as the months of August and March. She plans to travel.
“I’m really excited to tell students about America and culture, as well as English,” she enthused. “I want the cultural exchange. Your kids teach you all the time.”
Leyland, the daughter of Jeff and Jo Leyland of Imperial, will initially live with a family. She will then move into a furnished apartment.
She leaves Aug. 17 for at least a year. Leyland has the option of teaching more than a year if she wishes.
Her parents were unsure of her decision at first, Leyland said, but were reassured that another former Hastings College student is already teaching in the Ozu school.
When asked what she would miss during her year in Japan, Leyland exclaimed “I think, oh my gosh, is this a smart decision? But, anyone can live through a year, even if it’s bad. I’m sure this will be a good experience. I’m excited!”