When Yukako Hayashi was a university senior in Japan, she took the test to become a teacher. It was a career she had imagined since childhood. She failed the test.
After spending a year as an office worker, she tried again. And passed.
After a decade as a primary school teacher, Yukako still has a strong zeal for education. And it has brought her to Washington State University.
She is in Pullman as part of the annual exchange between the WSU College of Education and the Nishinomiya School District. A Japanese teacher comes to Pullman to study for two months in the fall; an American teacher with ties to the college (currently Mari Stair) works in Japan.
When she’s not soaking up Cougar culture at WSU, Yukako will spend most of her time perfecting her English-language skills. She began her English studies when she was in middle school. These days, English lessons for Japanese students start in fifth grade.
“Students like the English activities,” says Yukako, who now supervises her district’s Study and Research Division, International Section.
In an get-acquainted meeting at Cleveland Hall, Yukako presented Dean A.G. Rud with flower art she created. In return, she got a crimson and gray scarf with a Cougar emblem. She’ll be in Eastern Washington through Oct. 22. She told the dean she had been to the United States before, including a visit to the San Francisco area for a two-week student exchange while she was in college.
The dean replied that he’d be making his first trip to Japan in November, as part of a delegation celebrating the 25th anniversary of the WSU-Nishinomiya relationship. He said: “It’s a big deal!”