I have been a Japanese teacher for 15 years, that is since I graduated from university (I majored in Japanese language teaching).
What kind of lessons are you giving?
At ISI we teach using what we call a "direct approach": basically, all classes, including Beginner 1, are held only in Japanese, so that the students can get accustomed to this new language right from the start.
In the Beginner class, teachers also use gestures and picture cards so that students can follow along in class more easily. One of my university teachers used to say that "Japanese teachers are actors", because, in order to help students understand the feelings conveyed by japanese grammar structures, as well as their meaning and the context in which they can or cannot be used, they have to exaggerate their gestures to the point they start sweating.
For students from Intermediate to Advanced classes, teachers will provide them with the necessary knowledge for living in Japan, so that they will be able to successfully integrate into Japanese society.
As for my personal approach to teaching japanese, I try to create a friendly and happy environment, so that students will shift their mindset from "I HAVE to go to class" to "I WANT to go to class".
How do you do career counseling?
I use the Socratic method: when students ask for my advice about their future plans, I always ask them a lot of "whys".
-Teacher, after graduating from ISI, I want to do "A"!
-And why do you want to do "A"?
And so on.
This way I can help my students to think more carefully about their future projects and evaluate whether it really is the best choice for them. Thanks to my personal approach, I've helped many students in better defining their goals and how to achieve them, and that makes me very happy.
I also try to recommend at least three or four colleges to those students who wish attend university here Japan, so that they can find the one that really meets their needs.
Finally, I always encourage students to go to open campus events, as they are a valuable opportunity to talk with teachers from the various colleges and and get important information, such as the application procedures and deadlines or the content of the courses offered by each college.
Finally, a few words for the future students.
While it is certainly important that students apply themselves to their studies, they should also try to enjoy their life here in Japan as much as they can.