The Greenlist of English Schools in Japan

Thoughts and Opinions on Teaching English in Japan, plus many lists of good schools in Japan at our homepage. You can post your resume or job for free too. Check out the homepage!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quest for a Better Lifestyle

Pictured: Our Canadian home and school, imported from Cloverdale,
British Columbia

Originally published in the Vancouver Sun, 2001

For many readers, children and adults, the brain drain is more than an abstract theory.

Sayonara, Canada:
People laughed at Kevin Burns, when he said he would own his own school. Now he and his wife own three and Burns teaches at a Japanese university. His wife Ikumi is
a junior high school English teacher as well as co-managing Kevin`s
English Schools

Minami Ashigara Shi, Kanagawa Ken, Japan

I am lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
At this moment, I am sitting on a hill top, looking out at miles
and miles of trees. It is so green, beautiful and
only 10 minutes from my home.

I don't live in the Great White North anymore.
It is sad that in Canada today, you often have to move
somewhere else to do what you want to do. Yet it also
angers me to hear people complain that there's no work
in their home town and that is why they are on welfare
or employment benefits--as if that explains everything.
I want to scream at the TV: "Move then! Go to where there's work!"
There are many displaced Canadians in this country. They cannot
get a decent job back home.

I decided that I would be a teacher when I was 26.
If I liked it, one day I would own my own school.
People laughed. With a Bachelor of Arts in theatre,
I landed a job at one of the biggest English language conversation
schools in Japan. I learned enough to open my own school
two years later. I now have a small chain of three
schools, an hour and a half south of Tokyo,
and one of them is in my Canadian, Victorian style house.

Teaching English in Japan is a funny business and not
easily defined. It is part entertainment, part modeling
and part education. Studying English week after week
can be incredibly dry and progress slow. But if you
liven up the classes with humour, and make them into
your own David Letterman or Larry King Show, the
students keep coming back for more. I sometimes don
a funny nose and glasses for my class of high-powered
business executives. Sometimes I am not sure if I do it
for them or for me. It keeps me sane.

My first school grew to more than 100 students in the
first eight months. So I hired two part-time
teachers to help, a Canadian from Victoria and an
American from Missouri. I believe in free trade.
After work, I kick back with a Labatt's Blue,
watch Kids in the Hall on TV and , if I get bored,
a Mike Myer's video. Is this Canada or Japan?
Would you like a Canada Dry before we go further?
That Scott Thompson is funny, eh?

My Japanese wife is great. She owns a small boutique and
co-manages our schools. We have three beautiful children.
They all have the blessing of Canadian and Japanese

Although I miss my family in Canada very much and can
never really go back to the home I left, I like it here.
Where I am at this moment is quintessentially Canadian.
What could be more Canadian than sitting among
tall cedar trees, listening to the birds,
on a hot, sunny summer's day?

Kevin Burns is the owner of Kevin`s English Schools,
the Canadian schools in Japan!

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