Letter to Parents

My name is Tammy Haldeman, pleased to be your child’s Japanese teacher this year. I have been teaching Japanese in the Issaquah School district for over sixteen years! I started out at Issaquah High School and over the years have taught at: IMS, PCFC, LHS and recently have been teaching at Skyline (for the past 8 years) and I will be traveling between both schools this year again. My background is quite diverse and some of my interests are wildlife and soil conservation, equine sports, horsemanship in general, I started out majoring in Outdoor Environmental Education at Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin. While there I took courses in philosophy, Japanese culture and studied under the tutelage of my mentor, Professor Emeritus, Thomas P. Kasulis, past Chair of the Department of Comparative Studies and also of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at OSU. I then went on to do a Directed Studies in Philosophy and spent my senior year doing independent research in Japan. This is when I fell in love with Japanese culture and vowed to return again, which I did in 1999.

I have my Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School where I was able to delve deeper into the history of Asian culture and religion. I then moved to the Pacific Northwest and worked for a Japanese trading company and then went back to Japan and started my own business. I have worked for Japanese television, been an interpreter, translator and film coordinator. I also established a cultural exchange/environmental summer camp program for Japanese/American middle school students. Overall I lived and worked in Japan for about seven years before I started teaching Japanese. After I was a volunteer, guest speaker for area schools I was encouraged to consider teaching full-time. I went back to school and got my residential teaching certification in 2006 from St. Martins University.

Choosing Japanese as a second (or third) language is both exciting and perhaps a bit scary for some. The Japanese language is ranked as a Level 4 Language, which means it can be among the most difficult to learn. However, the process of learning Japanese will enrich and inform your child’s academic and personal life much more than they could ever imagine. I have many objectives and goals for your child but I take the most pleasure in “blowing the ceiling” off of their idea of what they are capable of achieving. I know from my own experience that an entire world of possibilities opened up for me because I have Japanese as a second language as well as a strong interest in the sciences and nature. I take pride in knowing that many former and current students have been to Japan and some choose to live and work in Japan after college using their Japanese language skills.

It is very important that students feel safe to make mistakes and to practice new skills without fear of “looking bad” in front of their peers. I make sure that all students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and fun environment. In order to achieve this I need all students to realize that is my commitment to their right to learn and I may from time to time need your reinforcement to help children with behavior in class. We will do lots of pair work activities, and play a lot of games to get to students to learn the written language at first. All students will learn to participate on a regular basis as I call on individual students to give lots of practice. I also use TPRS (Total Physical Response Story Telling) to reinforce learning kinesthetically.

Classes will regularly begin with kiritsu- opening of class and a warmup activity and closing of class to encourage emersion into Japanese culture.  I will also require students to turn in their worksheets and notebooks regularly for me to check comprehension. Most of the time grading will not be based on accuracy except on exams and culminating projects, unless I inform students otherwise.

We want your child to gain a sense of accomplishment and success. In order to do that, I may need your support. Many parents are unable to assist their children with Japanese homework, so if you suspect your child to be struggling, or if you have any other concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



Ms. Haldeman

Issaquah School District