August 25, 2021 | Andrew Hurst

Phoenix, AZ


Hometown: Billings, Montana

Degree(s) Obtained:

Bachelor of Arts in Bilingual Education (Southwestern Assemblies of God University, 2013)

Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Arizona State University, 2020)


Q: Can you explain your upcoming teaching assignment in Himeji, Japan? What are your primary responsibilities?

I will be working as an Assistant Supervisor of English (ASE) teaching English to the high school students of Kotogaoka Municipal High School. I will be working with another teacher to develop and implement English curriculum. Since the students have had English since elementary school, I will be focusing on fluency and pronunciation. I look forward to learning the Japanese educational system along with developing positive relationships with my colleagues and students.

Q: How excited are you about this opportunity? What are some of your thoughts and feelings as you prepare to leave?

I am super excited to go to Japan! I am looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing the culture and language. I am just now learning Japanese, so the language/cultural barrier is larger than when I moved to Costa Rica in 2014. However, I am ready for this experience and have heard nothing but good things about Japan and the hospitality from the people. They are so kind and willing to help. I know there will be a learning curve, but I trust God to give me wisdom and bring good relationships into my path. 

As the days get closer to my departure, I am nervous about all of the unknowns. After spending a year at home in Montana with family during the COVID-19 pandemic, I got very comfortable in my daily routine. I know there are a lot of unknowns, but at the same time, I am excited for this opportunity that will push me out of my comfort zone. 

Q: What led you to deciding on Japan for your next teaching assignment? 

This opportunity opened through Phoenix Sister Cities Teach Abroad Program. Japan is the country that offered a teaching opportunity. I had two job offers at the time. I asked the Lord to close the door that needed to be closed and He did. I have been moving forward with this opportunity as the Lord provides the steps. I am amazed at how He has provided. I accepted the position as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) and after a month, I was promoted to an ASE (Assistant Supervisor of English). I am the only ASE going and was one of five participants accepted out of 60 applicants. I am so beyond thankful for this opportunity to go! 

Hannah alongside Japanese students at the Phoenix Symphony with the Arizona State University Global Launch Program
Hannah alongside Japanese students at the Phoenix Symphony with the Arizona
State University Global Launch Program
 

Q: What steered you towards teaching ESL? What do you find most fulfilling about the nature of your work?

When I was 18, I spent time in YWAM (Youth With a Mission). It was during this time that God really placed international teaching on my heart. And with each culture I experience, the more I wanted to learn the language and help teach English or other life skills to help students live successful lives. I have loved being around people from different countries ever since I can remember. 

"The most fulfilling part about teaching is that I am also learning while I’m teaching. It’s a cyclical process between the community, the students, the teacher, and the culture. I do not take this gift of teaching for granted. I want to use it to the best of my ability to help better this world and grow the Kingdom of Heaven!"

Q: How does your faith influence your career?

My faith is my number one priority. I strive to let my works and my speech be as unto the Lord and as a testament to my faith (Matt 5:16). I ask the Lord to shine through me wherever I work. I am very much of a people person, so any job that has the opportunity to work with various groups of people is preferred.  

Q: What are you most excited for as you step into this new role? 

I am most excited to meet my students. It has been around 4 years since I’ve taught, so I’m looking forward to creating these relationships. 

I am also really looking forward to all the amazing food I will get to try! I love fish and veggies so I think I will be set in Japan! 

Q: Looking toward this opportunity and reflecting on your time pursuing your graduate studies at Arizona State University, how do you think SAGU prepared you? What sticks out to you about SAGU’s program? 

"I am so thankful for my time at SAGU. I met so many amazing friends who I still stay in contact with to this day. I am also thankful for the times during chapel when we would have a guest speaker from a different country or there would be a highlight of international influence. My professors and the staff at SAGU were vital to my growth as a Christian, student, and young professional. They were/are a great support during and after my studies. I know if I need anything, I just send an email. To be able to have that kind of loving and trusting relationship with a professor is honestly so comforting and priceless."

One thing that really sticks out is the comradery and connection I made. My experience at SAGU prepared me for both my master’s studies at SAGU and my professional career with a solid Biblical foundation as it relates to education and the world.  

Q: Would you recommend SAGU’s Teacher Education program? 

I would recommend the Education Program. I met several people in the program that have been great resources, references, and friends. The professors in the program are so knowledgeable, kind, and willing to help you in anyway to become a successful educator! 


To learn more about SAGU's Teacher Education program, click here.

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