Welcoming Shiho Yabuchi to Kennedy


Rowan Hesford

Shiho Yabuchi and Daniel Carolin pose for a photo in their classroom.

The start of the 2022-2023 school year has brought many things to Kennedy. For Daniel Carolin’s Japanese class, it has brought an assistant teacher from Osaka, Japan. Shiho Yabuchi joined Carolin just this year, and will continue to teach alongside him until the end of the 2023-2024 school year.

Having a native speaking assistant teacher in a language class isn’t common. Carolin has had teaching assistants in the past, but one that is fluent in Japanese has made a difference to the students and their learning. Whether it be speaking or writing practice, Yabuchi enjoys helping.

“She brings a lot to the class…it’s someone to model dialogs with…and fresh ideas on how to approach teaching Japanese to students,” said Carolin. “I think the class is more dynamic with two teachers.”

Yabuchi hasn’t always worked with students. Before coming to the United States, she used to be in charge of sales planning at Coca Cola in Japan. Her experience in teaching wasn’t as broad as it is now. 

“I think the class is more dynamic with two teachers.”

— Daniel Carolin

Since assisting in Carolin’s Japanese class from the beginning of the school year, Yabuchi has observed students’ behaviors towards classes at Kennedy, versus schools back home.

“I like it here because more students try to engage in class and speak up compared to students in Japan…there, not many students raise their hands. They have their heads down…teachers force them to answer,” said Yabuchi.

This isn’t the only difference Yabuchi has noticed between Kennedy and high schools in Japan. While it is not her first time in the United States, the contrast in students is still surprising.

“Here students can select classes by themselves, but in Japan teachers decide where they need to be for every class,” said Yabuchi. “They also have very strict rules about uniforms: you can’t dye your hair, no piercings or wearing makeup,” said Yabuchi.

She was happy to work alongside Carolin and hopes to go into education. After her two years of assistant teaching, she plans to either teach Japanese in other countries or move back to Japan and find a career in education there. Regardless where it takes her, she was glad to share her knowledge with the students at Kennedy.