Native Language @ ISB

Community Resources

Japanese: Miyuki Jessee

Where have you grown up and spent your life?

I grew up in Saitama, Japan.  I studied in Illinois, USA as an exchange student for one year during high school.  After graduating from university in Japan, I worked and lived in Hong Kong, Thailand and Tokyo.  

What are your fields of specialty and your interests/hobbies?

My focus is teaching language both as a foreign language and as a heritage language; Japanese is my mother tongue, and I have an EAL teaching background.  For the past few years, I have been focusing on Japanese heritage language teaching in an international elementary school, but I have also taught middle and high school.  

Being a mom of two active boys keeps me busy but I’d like to get back to running.  I hope I will be able to run a half marathon by the end of this school year.  In addition, I enjoy playing around in the ocean, such as snorkeling, diving and (SUP) paddle boarding.

What excites you about teaching Japanese after-school at ISB?

I’m very excited about coming back to ISB and this opportunity!  I am very pleased with the school’s support of the PNLA program.  I’m simply excited to work on the development of children’s heritage language in our community setting, where everyone can take part.  

What are three tips for ISB families trying to maintain their children’s native language?

  • Keep the language real and alive. Try having conversations with your child, not limiting the language use to greetings and one-answer questions.  
  • Avoid seeing heritage language learning experience as an “academic subject.”   Language development shouldn’t be an effort just between parents and children or teachers and children, but everyone around the children.  Fortunately, we have a very supportive community here.  
  • Let’s make a community which works together to help support heritage language learning.  As the English saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.”  Children need a community to develop their identity with their own heritage background.