Winter 2013
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escc hekinanThe City of Edmonds has had a 25-year relationship with its Sister City of Hekinan, Japan. One very important element of this relationship is the ongoing presence of an Assistant English Teacher (AET) selected by the Edmonds Sister City Commission and hired by the Hekinan Board of Education. This position assists Japanese language teachers in the Hekinan middle schools and in many ways is Edmond's unofficial "ambassador" to Hekinan. A new AET will begin teaching in September 2013, and applications for the position will be available soon.

Lindsay Donahue is the current AET in Hekinan, Japan. With 6 months left on her contract, she reflects on her stay in Hekinan: Being an AET is more than just teaching English; it's about connecting the Edmonds and Hekinan communities through language, culture, and friendship. Serving as the AET at five middle schools in Hekinan for the past three years has been a crash course in all of these things. Teaching English to energetic teenagers is a new adventure every day that begins with bows and polite greetings and ends with hugs, jokes, and the antics of nefariously clever students who angle for extra credit points with the finest English prowess they can muster. Hekinan is a small town, and I feel connected to almost everyone in it because of their unfailing kindness. There aren't many towns where I could walk down the street and greet half the people I meet by name, but Hekinan is one of them. People here value relationships, even with their friends from their sister city halfway around the world. Whether I am looking for conversation or trying to figure out all of the strange foods at the supermarket, the people of Hekinan have been unfailingly kind. I have loved every minute of my time here, and even extended my contract an extra year! My experience in Hekinan has changed my life, and I hope I can continue my involvement with our sister city for years to come.

Lindsay writes a blog about teaching in Hekinan called "Lessons from Rural Japan," and one of her popular posts is "3 (of the many) Things I Love about My Students." Lindsay describes her blog: "When you're a middle school English teacher in Japan, you learn something new every day. This is a compendium of the lessons I've learned and the oddities I've encountered." Lots of photos, and earliest posts show the middle school where she teaches.

If you, or someone you know, are interested in applying for this very rewarding position, please contact the Sister City Commission.


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