The best person who can help you to become a better English speaker is YOU.




My name is Doctor Grace Tampus. I was able to teach in the university that produces top-notchers… in many board examinations, And you will have to know that this products that we have are now having very good positions in the government offices. The lot of them, my students.


How long have you taught?


When I graduated, I first taught in a private school. It is a school for women. It is called St. Theresa’s College. And then after which, I went to Cebu Doctor’s University. I taught medical students.


I’m a psychology graduate and at the same time, an education graduate. I also a clinical psychologists.


Which is your major?


Because I’m a Master’s Degree in Counselling. In the philippines we get our degree after we graduate in high school, For at least four or five years. After which, you get another four years for a Masteral Degree, where you get another major.


There on, you get a Doctorate Degree, the highest position that you can get, maybe about two to three years. But, you can get it in other countries like you go to States, if you go to other countries like Singapore. I visited Singapore, I visited Australia, I also once go to Israel.


To study English? You visited 3 countries.


But, I work in two countries. One in Jedah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And I also work in US, I was in California. I taught in California.


What was your job at that time?


I was a Clinical Psychologist. Those countries. So, I never work only in the Philippines, I work the other countries.


I taught at Saudi Arabia for two years, and one also in States for six years. And I came back 2011. Because my daughter married an Australian citizen. and my daughter has to be assigned in the Australian embassy, she’s a nurse.


She got married to somebody who works in Australia. And I came back because my husband wants to stay here. He is also a doctor just like me. My children are nurses. Two of them are nurses, one is married and the other one not yet.


Now are you a teacher?


I’m managing the school. I’m teaching too. I go to University on Saturday. Tomorrow is my teaching day. Saturday and Sunday evening I teach in the University.


When is the holiday?


Somehow someday.


You don’t need?


There is. I’m not really staying here quite long. I can always take a break like a half day. But since I’ve really wanted Howdy to move on. So, I really want the teachers to learn cause, putting them in a very nice environment like having model to them.

Punctuality, you come early. You come without absences;they will also get your values and your attitude. So, I really come here very early. I come here at 6 o’clock I go home at five.


Wow! Are you a Filipino?


Yes. But Japanese like disciplined people, right?


Yeah! Compared to Filipino, we are very strict about time.


Yes, I know. I get a Japanese friend when I was teaching in Australia, when I was send for scholarship. I was send to Melbourne… And Japanese people are really very hard working.


You think so?


The people I met. Those who were working with me there in the work and they’re very good English. Highly educated. They speak English just like me. And they date with me. And they’re very young. They’re not that old.

They are very executive looking people and they speak very good English. They even present. They can make presentations in English, no Japanese. And I’m amazed they can.


Yeah! Me too. Because in Japan, it’s rare to meet people who can speak English.


But they went to State and studied, maybe because of their background, environment and the practice that they have every day and they seem to learn a lot.



So, why did you decide to come here?


I was in invited in to come over…. And to train, to be a consultant, to help the school. Will everything I can do for academic reason. And I love the work.


But, In my opinion, to teach for Filipino and to teach for Japanese are difference, maybe.


Yes. Very. But it is an accomplishment on our part if we can teach Japanese to speak English even if they have difficulty, that’s an accomplishment. That’s something that we can do.


You want to do what you cannot do?


Yes. So, it is an achievement on your part. If you can teach me in Japanese and I will learn it from you then that is a very good accomplishment on your part, if I can teach you English and you will learn it from me, that’s a very a good accomplishment.


Yes. It’s a challenge. It’s a good thing for me. I would be able to produce someone like you who can speak English.


But usually, Japanese don’t have the confident to speak English.


I know. But if you motivate them, then they’ll also try their bests. Because if they learn how to speak English it will may give them the self-confidence. It will boost their moral. They feel good.


But, usually, Japanese are very shy.


Oh yes, I know. Yes. Just like Filipinos. They are also shy showy. They’re also shy. Only because we can speak English we look as if we are not shy but we are also shy. Most of the Filipinos are also shy.


So, for teachers, shy student are very difficult.


Yes. Because they seldom talk. and they speak very slowly because they are very cautious, but, in the later part day after day, we just letting them know that taking mistakes is okay and the more mistakes you make, the better, because the better you learn.

So, we always allow them to make mistakes and we’ll just correct them nicely. because we don’t have to force them or maybe put them down because that is how we learn. We learn in a very difficult way. But you have to motivate them. You have to help them.


Motivation, very…. importance.


Yes. And, one important motivation is the teacher. Because if the teacher is good, the student will feel good with you and feel comfortable just like you feel comfortable talking to me because I accept you, I allow you to make mistakes.



For teachers, what is important to teach students?


First, they should learn much, because they cannot give what they do not have. that’s Knowledge. that’s the skill.


Second is the ability to handle the students. The Japanese students, because the culture of the Japanese, though seemingly the same as the Filipinos, but the Japanese have the brain but they cannot speak. It’s difficult for them to enunciate words because of our alphabet.

Your L, your R. Very difficult. Your S, your F and your D. So, it’s difficult. But, as I said, patience is a virtue. So they have to be very patient. They have very kind. They have to be very accepting.


And third, they should’ve very good characteristics. They should be accommodating. They should show that they are happy even if the student has difficulty, you still show your smile, you still show your good attitude.


So, usually you teach these three points?


Yes. Definitely. I have to let them know that teaching is not only a kind of occupation, but teaching is a mission. It is a mission because we give service. It’s not, teaching is not getting a salary is, teaching is helping someone to become better. That’s the legacy we would to put in Howdy.


I have question, what’s the point and the ability…, What kind of person are you going to hire?


First, we always have their credentials. Their papers. And the resume contain all the courses you have taken, because if you have taken the courses needed for teaching then it is easy to train you to be in the classroom. So, that’s the first requirement.


Second requirement, we interview them. So, if they can speak English, they can handle words properly and they also have the confidence to answer questions, that’s one thing that we also consider.



How about the character?


Before that, we ask them to take a tests, they have an exam. The exam, it may be knowledge exam. There is also characteristics exam that will reveal who you are because that’s a psychological tests.


It’s a test that will ask you questions like; how do you like? What color do you like? That will reveal what kind color you like if you say you red, may be you like, you are a person with a strong personality. If you say blue, if you say you’re a blue person you like peaceful community. There is an interpretation on it.


Very interesting.


Then you say, chronologic again, how many are you in the family? You are the middle sibling, so, if you are the middle and how do you react with your eldest and your youngest, do you fight with them? because there is such thing as middle child syndrome. So, psychological test will reveal who you are.


Because of your major. If you ask some question you can know what kind of character?


Yes. I would be able to tell if you are person who likes just simple world. If you are also like challenges, we have questions for you. For example, if you are in a jeepney, and then the jeepney met an accident but it didn’t hurt you, you were able to save yourself, what would you do with the other people who were hurt?


I will help somebody.


That will reveal that you have a kind heart. That would reveal that you are for people. You are not only for yourself saving.


Some people say they will run away?


Of course, because they are afraid, secondly they will just sit because they’re shock. Or the others say that I will just look at them. But there are people, despite the fact that they are afraid, they still have the time to help others. So, it could reveal the personality you have.


Very interesting.


It’s nice you know, because you will be able to see there are teachers who are good in their characters, there are also teacher who need your help. So, by that kind of test, you will be able to see how you can help them.

So, there are teachers who belong to a family that, by nature, our environment, in psychology, our environment shape our behavior. If you have a father and a mother and a very good family, of course, you grew up very nice. But if you have a broken family, sometimes there is also a dysfunctional thing that you have in yourself.


So, there are adment needs like you need someone to support and your father is not there because he left you, so there is a lacking need. So you would know that he may not be able to relate to other people. So, a teacher who is like that, you can help by supporting her. By giving her love. By giving her an environment that is accepting.




So here, In the morning before we teach. So, we have an assembly. And then we pray. Just a prayer, a simple prayer. Just one little paper prayer. Just opening the day. So, we have a kind of a prayer. If you are assigned, then you write your prayer and you just read it.

You may not be a Catholic, you may be a Protestant, you may be a Latter…. But it’s a ecumenical prayer. Everybody will understand. So, after the prayer, we have a team group work by…. we have exercise.


It is a training?


Yes. In the morning, five minute. If you exercise, we sing, because Filipinos is every good in singing. We dance. Just to motivate you to move physically. After that, we will have some announcement for the day. Then after which, everybody will go to work.

At noon time, middle day, 12 o’clock, they had their break. At 1 o’clock, we start at 1:30, at 1:00 o’clock, we again have assembly then we pray. Then we all have again our games, maybe exercise, pray. So we repeat altogether. At 5 o’clock, when we finish, we meet again. To end the day, we also pray for us to be guided in going home…


And then we will evaluate the day. We’ll see if there is any problem that comes up with the students. Do you have any concern that you have a difficulty with you see, you have difficulty with your doing. So they will tell me.


You ask only teachers? How about students?


No. The students they don’t, the teachers, because they are the once meeting the students. So if they have problem, they come in an assembly they will say I have a problem with this, so how do you solve it? So, that troop team will help the teachers to really become feeling accepted. because they are always supported.


I felt, you are good at managing people. Because I was a manager in Japan and have to manage people, my co-worker, so it’s very important thing to keep their motivation.


Yes. And to be with them, because if you put yourself like that and they’re here, they could not come to see you but if you put yourself like that and they come to see you, you are just part of her and they feel good.

You know, the teachers are our important asset, because who teaches, even if you are good manager if your teachers are not happy, you cannot achieve a very good structures. So we make our teachers happy.


Is this your task? Your job?


Yes. That’s my function. So, that’s why when you ask me do you stay here, I stay here, I meet them in their cubicles, I talk to them, I eat with them, I have games with them, we sometimes have lectures, discussions with them, because if they see me, they will also carry what I am as a character. How to become a good teacher.


How long does it takes to train?


The training does not really have the beginning and the end. It’s always continuous, So we started May for extensive training, so when we start having our classes early in July. Some other days, there is no much student, we train them.

We meet probably if you have one hour a day, we can meet in about three times in a week and then we discuss about how to pronounce words, grammar and all these.



Tomorrow you’re leaving to Japan?


No. I will go to Dumaguete.


Oh, Dumaguete. I was the speaker in Siliman University. Siliman University is a big university in Dumaguete. there are a lot of Protestants and the students are really selected. and I was there three days, I was in the alumni hall and they invited me to speak for the teachers. I used to go around the Philippines to speak. I used to go to Dumaguete, this Wednesday I go to Leyte. Last Saturday I was in Bohol.


To visit the university.


In the University. Talk to the all teachers.


What’s the topic?


It’s about professional development, like how to teach very well, strategies in teaching. Then I go to big universities in Baguio. St. Louie University. They all invite me and if I go there, they pay for my plane, they also pay for my hotel. I stayed in the hotel in the downtown hotel of Dumaguete. And then, and they pay my trip back and forth.



It’s a nice kind of thing when you are a teacher because you can see how people admired you and appreciate what you can do.


because with my qualification, they seldom you see somebody who can speak, who can present and who can also manage. I manage school here, I go to the university and teach, I also go to other schools to help them. because some other teachers need help. So I go to schools right now.


So, what is your goal?


A lot of it. but the most important goal is I go and serve others change their ability to become a better teacher. That’s a goal. Because I was send for a scholarship of the Dept. of Education. and it’s the Dept. of Education who paid for my trip to Israel, to Australia. The only way that we can pay them back is to help the teachers. That’s paying back. That’s giving back what they have given me.



You told me you visited a lot of country. So, you know the different pronunciation.


Yes. But I used American accent. I don’t use the British accent because I also been there with the American. Cause I teach in the State for six years. I was the Stockton California, I was the resource specialist on a clinical guidance counselling in the department, in Lodi Unified School District, it’s in California.


But then, it’s easier to switch shift what you really want to use British accent. But familiarity caused for Filipinos like the American accent rather than the British.


Yes. A lot of call center here.


That’s right. If you go to IT Part, if you go to Ayala, there call centers, most of those trainers for a call centers were my students.


That’s is why when the wife of one of the investors, Mr. Lim and his wife’s Michelle, she invited one, train supposedly the teachers, and so, she called that guy. And when the guy got the call said; and who is running the school? and so the wife of Mr. Lim said it’s Doc Tampus, she was my teacher why do you have to call me when she was the one who is teaching me?


So, he was my student, and he’s taking care of IELTS, TOEIC and TOEFL. And he was my student when he took a university courses and I was the teacher. So, it rebounds. If you teach well you get a very good product.

彼は私の生徒だった。彼は IELTS、TOEIC、TOEFLの専門。私が大学で教えてる時に、私の生徒だったの。そう、返ってくるの。もし、あなたがしっかり教えたら、あなたはよい副産物を得るのよ。


So, I wanna improve my English. because to learn English is forever, but in the Philippines, I can manage to talk.


Yeah you can. What you need is more vocabulary, what you need is the fluency of your ability to speak but you already know how to crop all your words because you can speak.


Yeah I can speak. But maybe I have some bad habits, maybe and some wrong pronunciation.


That’s okay. We don’t mind wrong pronunciation.


Actually it’s not so important for me, but I wanna improve. So that is why I should focus my weak point. When I had a chance to talk to native speaker, it’s very difficult to understand.


Because the native speakers, they are more conscious of their accent. but if you are non-native, it’s more of the structure, the way you say the word with meaning. It’s more different. It’s much, much different. So, I can understand you because I am not a native speaker.

Although I can speak the language but I can really understand you because we of the same second language learner. That’s the point why Filipinos are more effective English teachers to non-native than the native speakers. because native speakers they just speak, speak, speak, without even knowing that you understood. That’s the reason.


Yes. I totally agree with you. Especially for beginner, no native is better.


But because the only way to help you is to really let you speak English all the time, just practice. Just like this, you can speak with me, you can listen to me and I can listen to you and you will be able to pick up words that are very good to say. That’s the only way to help yourself.


So, actually, I am not interested to get a TOEIC or something kind of test because I don’t need. because I work as a freelancer. I don’t need to proud of my English, just important thing is speak it.


Functional English, something that is understandable. That’s good. If I will make the evaluation, you are already a little bit higher than the ordinary English speaker. because you can speak, I can understand you.


Thank you


You are very confident telling me what you really want to say. So, it’s really coming from your heart, it’s really coming from your head. So you know what to say and you know how to feel what you say.



The only requirement for someone to learn the language is interest. Motivation. Because if you really don’t have any interest, you will really move forward, but if you have the interest, you get a lot.


So, sometime students don’t have a motivation, right? So, in this case, what should we do?


You have to explain first what is the purpose of studying English, is it because to you want to grow yourself or you want to impress people.


But, if you say you want to improve for yourself then you have the inner motivation. but if you say you want to impress people that you know how to speak English, it’s very short term. You will not learn.


But if you explain to them that you are here because you want to grow professionally, personally, you want to make yourself better and you want to learn English because that is part of growth, part of growing, part of being an executively, part of being professional person.


So, if you want people to believe you, you want people respect you, you should have the skill in communication. That will be a motivation to them. you see of course, they will feel good. You learn a lot of things.



Finally, do you have any message for Japanese who want to study English?


Yes. Studying English is not that difficult. What is only required is you have to have interest.


Secondly, if you believe you can learn, you can learn. Because, we teachers are only channels, we’re only instruments to help. But the best person to help yourself is yourself.


That’s the best thing that you should remember. We are only channels, we are only instrument to help you. but the best person who can help you to become a better English speaker is you. So you should be more interested to learn.


Up to student


Because how much we really want you to learn if you don’t help yourself, then nothing will happen. But if you are interested, you want to learn plus our help, that’s a double.


So, I would say, it’s not the difficulty that matters, it is how you motivate yourself, how you would interest in what you are going to learn through apprehend.


Thank you.


Thank very much and nice talking. and I will see you again. We will see you again.


(2015年1月30日(金) セブ島のHowdyにて)








Howdy (セブ島)




中谷 よしふみ

中谷 よしふみ