A typical day would include arriving (just before) I am required. Greeting staff in Japanese and setting up my desk at the school for the day. I may then have a few lessons which were planned in advance and would involve english teaching activities and lessons. I would mark any work asked of me or placed on my desk. I would then be avalible for English questions from teachers or students. Cleaning with teachers and students normally would take place after lunch for 15-20 minutes each day. Teaching at the Technical high school required me to be fun and engaging for I would be mostly in charge of the classes where students were less interested and able at Englsih. Teaching at the academic high school would invole following textbook lessons planned by the main teacher.
I learned many skills including how to communicate through strong cultural and language barriers. I accomplished the ability to master and remember completely different customs I was not used to in my own country. I learned to be flexible when more classes were asked of me without being planned or when classes were cancelled or changed. I became resilient with moments of feeling very different in a place where I was the only visible foreigner.
I was managed by a supervisor who spoke English, but mostly I managed myself and time effectvely without anyone involved. The Kyoto sensei and head office worker managed the teachers salaries and over saw the office activity.
Co-workers in my office were often busy but ge
良い点half of my rent and all travel was covered by the prefecture.
悪い点extra hours in weekends and after school for cultural events
A good experience abroad but not a full-time career
JET Programme is constantly reviewed as being the best program for teaching in Japan. Unlike private companies, there is the chance to be employed full-time and receive benefits, which as a foreign worker is extremely necessary.
However, the program is aimed at college graduates, and so there is little space for advancement. The work culture can be stressful at times, but overall it is a good experience, especially for people looking to live and work abroad. Also, there is some confusion on the ground level, as JET was meant as a cultural exchange program but most native teachers expect the ALT or CIR to serve as an additional English teacher (grammar, pronunciation) before if ever using them as a cultural resource.
A lot of commitment is necessary and interviews are often very strict. The competition can be extreme, but this also varies from embassy to embassy, as some HR workers are seeking fun personalities to share the world with elementary students while others are looking for no-nonsense high school teachers ready to prepare students for college. It's not for the faint of heart, but it is a rewarding experience.
My typical day involves designing lesson plans and preparing materials. Depending on which school I work at (I work at 4), this can mean working on my own and then checking in with my co-teacher at a brief meeting before class or working side-by-side ahead of time. Flexibility is necessary, not to mention a willingness to comply with regulation from th
良い点cultural experience, full-time, benefits, free classes for skill building, confusion on the ground about your role
悪い点stressful work culture, little flexibility, culture shock and burnout, little room for advancement, visiting home is expensive and limited by school schedules
It is literally impossible to describe with any degree of detail anything at all about the JET Programme and claim that it is somehow representative of more than one specific placement. I personally worked at a low-level high school for a year, then transferred to a junior high school for the following four, with two additional visit schools (both junior high) being added in subsequent years. There is no "normal" on the JET Programme.
The job itself can be very satisfying on a personal level for those who are interested in the nuts and bolts of how English works, especially if you're also interested in teaching, public speaking, or anything similarly related. If you can't explain the difference between "that" and "which," or have difficulty explaining why a given word choice is right or wrong beyond just native speaker's intuition, you may find yourself having difficulty with the job. The JET Programme hires us as "cultural ambassadors," but the schools employ us as English teachers, and it is decidedly beneficial to be prepared to work as one.
I'm hesitant to suggest that conversational Japanese is preferable for getting the most out of the job, my conflict stemming from the suggestion that conversational Japanese isn't simply mandatory outright. Simply being able to understand what the students are saying, or trying to say, makes the job both easier and better by orders of magnitude.
All in all, it's similar to most other teaching jobs: you'll have to deal with bur
良い点rewarding to work with students, fantastic pay compared to similar jobs, the job is what you make of it
悪い点zero advancement potential, difficult classes at times, the job is what you make of it
Daily cultural exchanges and educational environment
Having been on the JET Programme as an Assistant Language Teacher for two years, I have a lot of experience in being creative and flexible in how I teach my students and manage my worklife. Since I teach at various different schools everyday, my work days vary greatly.
A typical day at my junior high school consists of grading various notebooks and worksheets during my free periods. I teach about 3-5 classes, two of which include special education classes. Each class is taught using the team-teaching method with a Japanese Teacher of English. The lessons combine speaking, listening, writing, and reading exercises through textbook and game activities. My job is to make sure English is presented in a fun, effective, and educational way.
At my elementary schools, I am the primary teacher of all English classes. I plan entertaining lessons based on the topics set by the schools. Most of the elementary level English is based mainly around vocabulary, so we focus on pronunciation and word recognition. I teach 2 to 6 classes based on the school.
My relationships with my co-workers also vary, but for the most part it is all very friendly and cordial. Not many people speak English, so I've found a way to communicate with a combination of English and Japanese. It was a struggle at first, but I've made some great friendships through the process.
The hardest part of the job is dealing with the attitude that English is an impossible language to learn. This not only comes fr
Amazing chance to get your career started in a difficult job market
JET was the thing that kicked off my career and paid off the lion's share of my school debt. Oh, and I also finalized my learning of a second language, grew to understand another culture on a deep level, and had an unforgettable experience overall. If you're going to do the Japan thing, the JET program is simply the best.
Having said that... Japan is not the place for you if you have any physical or mental health issues whatsoever. The culture gulf is vast and the support network is non-existent. If you go here, be prepared to have your health tested to the limits. I experienced the only depressive anxiety episode of my entire life here, though in retrospect it was mostly caused by me being a dumb 22-year-old who didn't understand the importance of social relationships now that I was away from my family and everyone else I'd ever known. It got better! But if you require any sort of medication on a regular basis, this is just not the job for you. It's too dangerous.
I would also like to mention that unless you intend to teach English, or move to Tokyo, there are no opportunities for employment available to you as a foreigner. Understand this and you will find Japan amazing and everything you could hope for. Misunderstand this and your time there will be an exercise in frustration.
Haha, this is a pretty heavy review... but in summary, I strongly feel that Japan is both the adventure of a lifetime, and not someplace to decide to work in lightly. Do your research! Especially
良い点amazing adventure, earn a healthy salary, get fit, good program for this sort of work
悪い点culture differences can be stressful, especially in the cir workplace, lots of overtime, not a lot of other foreigners
It's busy most of the time and the money is so-so, but you teach great kids.
From my experience (and from what I've heard from other JET participants) what you get out of the job is kind of a mixed-bag, different for everyone--but somethings are generally the same. The salary is higher than most other Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) positions that are below the college level in Japan, but it's still not quite enough to live really well here. If you don't have a car you're run ragged and the schedules are incredibly tight. If you do have a car they expect more out of you and it's an incredible drain on your salary. If you get sick the city's Board of Education (which controls you if you are below the high school level) is not understanding. They may berate you for missing work even if you have a legitimate doctor's excuse, and they then may threaten to terminate you.
After performing my duties here for two years I would say your best bet is to go to graduate school for a year in a Master's in Teaching TESOL degree program and then apply to a college level or higher paying high school level position in Japan.
Experiencing life here with the students is really great. If it was a bit more relaxed and if there were more of a set teaching standard for the junior highs I think more people wouldn't mind staying longer. Many ALTs are given too much work, and have too crazy schedules. Yet, at other times of the year these same ALTs have absolutely no work at all, and then are given little to no guidance.
If you are lucky you will get a great supervisor at y
Straight out of university this was my first 'real' job.
In my first month I spent the time (during the summer holidays - I had to come in every day despite this) creating lesson plans even though I had very little idea of what I was doing and knew next to naught what the children's English abilities were.
When classes started up in September however, I quickly grasped that as well as the inner workings of the Japanese workplace. In the two Junior High Schools I worked at, I took on a more assistive role. The Japanese Teacher of English (JTE) would stand at the front of the class explain the grammar etc, then we'd perform a skit for the students. Then I'd introduce the new vocabulary and get them to repeat it. Next we'd begin the exercises where they'd translate texts from Japanese to English and vice versa. I'd help students who didn't understand. When we were checking answers I'd be the one to write the sentences on the chalk board.
At the Elementary schools though, I had much more say. From week 1 I was more or less given the leads and told to do what I want. As there's no set curriculum in Elementary schools I really could do what I want. I utilised Power Point and made funny slide shows with sounds and well-known characters to introduce the grammar in a way that would be easily remembered by the students.
After class I'd go to the teachers room and write up next weeks 4 classes' lesson plans in Japanese and begin making the cards etc that would be used. After whic
良い点Schools were close, playing with the children at breaks
悪い点Long hours (often worked at home after work), Not very technology based
JET is a great way to experience Japan, however they don't really offer any training. Of course we are just assistants, but I was often asked to explain why we do something or give examples in the middle of class and I couldn't always give an answer. I had to use Google a lot to figure out what I was teaching. I was at a low level high school, so their English skills were lacking.
Talking to other ALTs it seems in high school the ALTs often plan their whole lessons, with little to no help from JTEs (Japanese teachers of English). Whereas elementary (and usually Jr. high as well I think) don't do much planning. Maybe a game here or there, but otherwise the JTE does the plans. I liked planning my lessons, but it could be stressful when I didn't understand the grammar. Also, don't expect any feedback from the JTEs. They are nonconfrontational and therefore don't really offer much help. Usually they just nod when you suggest something.
Also JET's resources for learning Japanese aren't great. They have a free course but it was bad. If you're lucky your town may offer lessons, but many placements are rural and there isn't much to do. I had to travel an hour away if I wanted to do anything. Still, it is a beautiful country and the people are very friendly and will try to welcome you. I would practice as much Japanese as you can before you get there, because they speak very little English. I didn't get to travel much or see many festivals because of covid, but this summer the festi
Unfortunate Circumstances but still Great Experience
Each person who works for JET and is sent abroad has a completely different set of circumstances and situations. I am unfortunately what you would have called a night-mare story. Since moving abroad, the Board of Education provided an apartment for me to live in while working at 6 different schools, unfortunately it was an empty abandoned apartment with no accommodations other than 2 sinks, a bath tub, and a hose to shower with. I improved my communication and bargaining skills while having to obtain a refrigerator, washer/dryer, and other living accommodations. The actual job was highly enjoyable. It was extremely fast paced, where I would have to go into school and quickly prepare a lesson on the spot to sometimes teach by myself or in pairs as an assistant. I usually prepared quick tests, reviewed vocabulary words to go over with students, or practiced skits before presenting to the students. Interacting with the students was reward enough for less than a optimal living situation. I learned a lot in the office environment and how efficient Japanese offices work, which help me prepare better for an over-seas office environment in America. The hardest part of the job was motivating certain schools to participate during class. Being positive and innovative with games and rewards helped improve class productivity.
良い点New enviornment, Different job every day
悪い点Poor living accomidations, very low communication levels from your supervisors( but that changes from case to case)
Immersive experience with lots of memories, but every situation is different.
A typical day of work would include going to school and teaching 5-6 classes throughout the day. I got the pleasure of teaching at seven public schools: two elementary schools, a middle school, a special needs school, two kindergartens, and a nursery. When school is not in session (like during Golden Week or summer vacation) I would report to City Hall, instead. Every situation is different, but I found my co-teachers and supervisors happy I was there, wanted to know more about me, and looked forward to working with me more. I learned Japanese to a conversational level. I also learned how to handle classrooms of various age and energy levels. JET has competitor agencies, so it's important to find ways to innovate in the classroom, such as improving how they do warm-ups, or introducing lessons and tech in new and exciting ways. It's important to be busy at all times during the job, but lunch can be enjoyed with the students. My supervisors would let me know if there were things that needed to know or change, but would otherwise let me carry on teaching. Being a foreigner in Japan can make you want to be treated more like a local over time. I would say that was the most difficult thing about the job (and really life in general). Working with the kids, however, made it easy for me to ignite my own creativity and excitement for teaching English as a foreign language because their youthful energy was so infectious. It was one of my favorite things about working in Japan.