Greetings, my name is James, and I am the English instructor at BumbleB English. I started teaching English to my kindergarten-age daughter in the fall of 2012. After a few years, more students joined our lessons, and we added more classes and finally created BumbleB English. Over ten years later, I teach children from elementary school students to high schoolers. I also teach college students and professional Business English to adults. We teach at our classroom in Yoga, Setagaya-ku, and provide online lessons for remote students. This way, we can help students in Japan and outside Japan via online Zoom lessons.
Regarding my personal history, I was born in Pennsylvania, which is located on the East Coast of the United States. Growing up, I was active in sports and played baseball, lacrosse, American football, and wrestling. Like many high school students, I wanted to move away from home and gain new experiences. So, I decided to attend the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California (USC), where I received a B.A. degree in political science and East Asian Studies.
At USC, I enjoyed studying the history of China, Korea, and Japan and learning about the development of the East Asian economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. I also took several Japanese-language classes and joined study-abroad programs as a student.
After graduation, I was accepted into the JET Program, where I taught English to junior and senior high school students in Hokkaido for two years. Although my role could have been more substantial, I enjoyed teaching the students and helping them learn more about the world outside their hometown.
After I returned to the U.S., I moved to New York City, where I worked for a British/American investment firm and a leading financial data provider. These valuable experiences in institutional sales, trading, and research led me to an MBA in finance from the University of Rochester in New York. After graduating with my MBA, I continued to work in investments.
In 2005, I moved to Tokyo, and after a few years, my daughter was born. A few years after that, my son was born. Being a multicultural family, I felt it was important for my children to be knowledgeable about both cultures (Japanese and American), so they attended local kindergarten and elementary schools. My son attends a local junior high school, and my daughter attends a local high school where English is the primary language of instruction.
Teaching my children English has been frustrating but rewarding as they are both now at or close to bilingual. My daughter passed Eiken Level 1 as a sixth-grader and has scored very high on the TOEFL tests. Though my son is a bit more challenging to study with, he passed Eiken Level 2 in fourth grade and is starting to take his studies more seriously now that he is a junior high school student.
At BumbleB English, we focus on helping students gain English skills; firstly for their educational benefit, as English is an essential class for elementary school, junior high, and high school. For advanced learners, we help broaden their horizons to understand other cultures and viewpoints and help students express their own views in English. We use traditional textbooks and workbooks for English as Second Language learners (ESL), but we do also use native English materials for advanced and native English students. In addition, we use several online educational resources, including Quizlet, Newsela, and MobyMax.