Mr. Hines


“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” — African proverb

“Before coming here, I had a test prep background, focusing primarily on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), and the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication). I was also teaching at a vocational college, so I have a lot of experience teaching. I also taught English in Korea for a number of years, so I’ve been overseas for more than a decade, almost 12, 13 years now. It can be a rollercoaster. It can be dramatic, because I am my own support network, and my family is back in New York, but I’ve learned to lean on them virtually.

I was not really sure if I was going to stay in Japan for another year, or if I was going back to New York. I was getting homesick, then the coronavirus came and it removed all of that decision-making process from my hands, so I thought, “I’ll just be here for a little longer.” The homesickness kind of subsided after a while. I talked to my family, and they agreed that it might be better for me to stay here, even though they constantly ask me when I am coming back, so it’s a very funny dynamic.

The transition to Sacred Heart has been great! Once I was offered this job, the answer was, “Yes!”  I will say that it is a blessing. It came at the right time, and it is wonderful. It’s a great environment and everybody the students, teachers, faculty, and staff members have been great. This is my first year teaching at an international school, and there is a lot of structure here— a lot more than I was used to, and that’s a good thing. There’s also a sense of professional encouragement and development. Also, coming more from a world where companies work with education, the business aspect was sometimes more important for them. To me, though, the education aspect has always been the most important, so I knew right away that this was a place that I wanted to work since I knew that Sacred Heart takes education seriously, and the emphasis on it is number one. 

Going to a school like this, you’re building a strong foundational network. A lot of the students that go here are very confident, intellectual, and have good connections. That’s important. When I first came to this school, seeing the way that the girls interact— you could see the confidence, the expressiveness, the self-assurance very clearly. The way [Sacred Heart] is a single-sex school, seeing women in their element, you all look so comfortable around each other when you’re in the classroom. With the void of young boys, you are all able to express yourselves more, to really be more your true, authentic selves. I believe the environment and culture play a part in this. This school has mastered developing young women’s minds, and that’s a skill that takes time to develop. 

I am excited to help my students and see them develop over time. I’m really interested to see how much of an impact I can really have on them in the time that I have them in class. I think I have several pieces of advice for my ESL students. One piece of advice is: practice makes perfect. That’s a mantra that I hold onto for students, definitely. If you continuously practice a skill, you will improve. Another one is: discipline is necessary to be successful. You can be successful without discipline, but it’s much more difficult without it. Third: plan. You could be successful without a plan, but it definitely helps to have one. I’ve learned that over time. So, have a plan, but be flexible enough to adjust it. Lastly: enjoy the process. Focus on the destination because it’s important that you want to get there, but enjoy the process of getting there. Sometimes I didn’t enjoy the process as I should’ve, and missed out on a lot of my life. Now I enjoy the process, and it makes getting to the destination that much more fulfilling. 

This year, while it may be tough, and while it’s a new reality for everyone, you could run from it or be afraid of it, and live in fear, but you still have to learn to live the day, despite what is going on. Enjoy being with your friends, enjoy spending time with your family. Enjoy it, because not everybody can. I recently heard, “All the other events in your life prepare you for a point, or where you get to.”

Sometimes, we think, “Why am I going through this?” But all of these trials and tribulations have prepared you for handling [other challenges in life]. They have helped me think, “Don’t overreact, relax, keep calm, stay in the moment, stay in the present, and keep pushing, and working towards the goal.” 

Remember, don’t forget to appreciate each and every day. Each day is a lesson that hopefully prepares you for the next.” — Mr. Hines