Literally me today.
I’ll post an update after I figure everything out.
Getting a text like this from my supervisor 12 minutes AFTER I leave my house. This is bullshit.
EDIT: Now that I’ve calmed down I feel like I’m able to write a better explanation.
Today I kind of hit the last straw with my school. My supervisor decided to inform me 15 minutes after I left for school that I needed to wear a suit today because of entrance exams - I was essentially told that I needed to take nenkyuu (paid vacation) and go home and change. The fact that this wasn’t mentioned to me until the very last minute (actually even past the last minute) and I get penalized for it is kind of bullshit. On top of all that I have literally be locked in the teacher’s room all day because Entrance Exams. It literally doesn’t matter if I’m here or not today- let alone what I’m wearing.
My school has been making my life overly difficult lately. They decided to throw me a welcome party (7 months late) over lunch and asked me to take two hours nenkyuu for that as well as no one was able to drive me to said party either; so it took me an additional hour nenkyuu for that too. - and then I found out that I was supposed to pay into a teacher’s fund ($20/month) but no one of course told me until my Supervisor asked me that I pay her the $140 that I owe to it.
So this morning… it was definitely the last straw for me. I’m done being the nice ALT and letting them get away with literally treating me however they want. Especially when it’s something dumb and I have zero information on or control over. I wouldnt have minded wearing a suit but I should have been told.
So now I’m going to fight them on this nenkyuu for this. I’m straight up refusing to sign the paper for it. I asked for a meeting with my vice principal to talk about how I get told nothing and I shouldn’t be penalized for it and I’m going to take it from there.
I’ve actually had enough.
I just request the bare minimum of respect when working here and my expectations are low, but when I don’t even get those bare minimum expectations I’m just done. Literally so done.
This is so unacceptable.
So I’m actually going to answer two questions at once.
I am currently working towards my TEFL certificate online through iTTT. Their website can be found here. I opted to do the 120 Hour course with video and tutor support. So far I’ve actually really enjoyed doing it.
Again; if you’re a current JET applicant I suggest waiting mainly because there are discounts and scholarships to be had once you get accepted. Having a TEFL is something that is not necessary for JET. It is definitely helpful, but not necessary.
Post JET I either see myself doing a variety of different things. I really really really like teaching English and it’s something I definitely would love to continue in the future at either an International School or somewhere in the United States. My back up plan is to get a masters in library and media sciences, but so far I am strongly leaning towards that masters in TESOL.
It’s graduation season in Japan- and let me tell you; it is so different from Graduation in America. - other ALTs in my area have been posting statuses about how sad it will be to see their third years leave- but to be completely honest I only taught 40 out of the 240 of them a handful of times and the ones from English club retired after one meeting. So to put it nicely I wasn’t that close to this year’s third years… but of course because I’m the big, strange looking foreigner they all know me.
In Japan, graduation is serious business. I was told directly that I must wear a black suit with a white shirt. Pro Tip for new JETs… you will definitely want to bring a black suit and white shirt. I’m glad I listened because literally everyone — teachers, parents and other graduation attendees were wearing this. I joked to my supervisor and the department head that it felt like a funeral.
It was such a serious ceremony. Instead of each student going up to get a diploma, one student represented the entire class and went up to get papers to be distributed out later. There was a speech from the principal, the valedictorian and the top second year student as well.
My favorite part of the whole thing was as soon as it was over all the teachers rushed out to the exit and as each homeroom teacher lead their homerooms out all the teachers lined the stairs and started clapping for the students. There was such a great sense of accomplishment and I felt so proud for all those students. A lot of the female teachers and students were bawling their eyes out as they left. My supervisor told me that they look sad, but a lot of them will probably show up to school on Monday with blonde hair and huge circle lenses.
Anyways; I felt like a mini celebrity because groups upon groups of third years wanted to take “selfies” with me. They kept knocking on the English department’s door and asked if I could come outside. Adorable and because I’m a weird, foreign teacher I made them take a selfie with me too. The real cultural exchange was when I taught them the word “selfie” and made them ask me in english to take a “selfie” with them.
One step at a time Japan. One step at a time.
I’ll Make A Man Out Of You | Mulan.
You must be swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon. With all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
When you do karaoke with a bunch of JETs this song must always be played.
Help Kyoto-Sensei with a grammar point I don’t really entirely understand and he feeds me coffee and cookies.
The Tourist resort ranking of Japan was released. No.1 is Hiroshima where Atomic Bomb Dome is.
The Tripadvisor announced this ranking, which was made by word‐of‐mouth communication of tourists to Japan in 2013.
Every toursit to Japan likes to go to Tokyo and Kyoto. In this ranking, there are some places in Tokyo and Kyoto. But No.1 is unexpectedly Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, where is not…
oh hey what’s up Hiroshima and Miyajima.
It’s funny you should mention that. I’m actually working on TEFL stuff right now (and procrastinating via tumblr… whoops)
It’s something definitely worth having. I didn’t have one before JET but doing one while on JET has been instrumentally helpful. Especially the grammar review. Seriously… what is future perfect continuous tense anyways?
For me personally and someone in my position I would recommend getting one. I want to continue teaching after JET. This for me is actually just to test the waters to see if I actually have enough dedication and motivation to complete a Masters in TESOL. A TEFL opens up many opportunities for teaching abroad, not just with JET or in Japan but a variety of other countries look for applicants with TEFL certificates.
If you applied for JET I suggest holding off and waiting to see if you get accepted before signing up for one of these online because JET offers scholarships and discounts.
If you’re looking for a resume booster for a JET application this is something that would look good but isn’t necessarily.
I had a great interview experience. - I interviewed through Detroit and I showed up super early (on accident) and sat in the lobby for more than an hour. I just talked to everyone and anyone who was in the lobby.
Eventually my interview came and I was actually surprised there were no Japanese people in my interview. Just two ex-JETs from 90s when the program had just started and a woman who worked at the consulate.
They just talked about my application and I had mentioned that I had lived abroad before and they asked me numerous questions about my experience there. They asked me about what my family thought about JET and then about how I’d deal with various situations in the program. Before coming to Japan, I spoke ZERO Japanese. I asked a lot of questions about starting to learn and go forth in the event I get accepted.
There was one moment though where I was sure I blew everything. Towards the end of the interview they asked me if what I was looking at if I didn’t get JET. I replied with Grad. School. On my application I forgot I had mentioned EPIK (essentially the Korean JET) and they were like what is this EPIK you mentioned on your application and I literally had no idea. There was this awkward small talk and I guess the interview panel just decided it was a typo… I’m not entirely sure how; but ok, I’ll take it. - I left feeling good about my interview overall. I wasn’t too sure how the EPIK slip up would hinder my acceptance but I a little over a month later I got shortlisted. I wouldn’t lose all hope just yet. I do know a fair amount of ALTs that also were wait listed but got upgraded shortly.
I really banked a lot on JET. After a certain point I just assumed I’d get in and if I didn’t my back up would be graduate school and then I’d reapply for the program after I received a masters if I was still interested in going. However I did look into programs such as Altia Central and Interac but never went further than just googling. Since coming to Japan I’d say JET is by far one of the best options but Altia Central is a close second and is definitely something to look into if you are wanting to teach and don’t get accepted. There are other programs similar to JET in other countries that are worth looking into as well.
Where there’s a will there’s a way, right? - anyways good luck and keep me posted on what happens! If you have any more questions please feel free to ask!
Getting ready to say goodbye to some of my third year students:
At my visit school I worked one on one with the school’s only third year. My student is completely blind and in the final minutes of our lesson I surprised him with a good luck card that I had someone help me write in Braille wishing him all the best. I put some giant stars on the outside that he could feel and wrote “Congratulations” in Braille on the front. He kept telling me that this was something he’d treasure forever and how much it meant to him that I gave him this. I’m so happy I went out of my way to figure out how to do this for him. So much ugly crying. I’m going to miss teaching him so much.
I had three second year students approach me this morning to ask me to contribute to the ESS cards for our graduation third year members. I don’t really teach a lot of third years here and the girls retired from club shortly after I came so I don’t know them super well… But I’m still sad they are leaving and really do wish them all the best.
Tomorrow’s graduation will be interesting.
Good Question! When I first spoke to my supervisor at my visit school she essentially gave me the option. I could bring my own bento or I could eat school lunch. They told me they wanted/preferred for me to eat Kyuushoku.
My reasoning for agreeing to eat it was because if I didn’t eat with students and the other staff I’d eat in the English department’s office alone. I use it as a way to talk to students I rarely see or teachers I do not teach with. 75% of the time while it’s not something I’d usually eat I don’t mind it. But that sneaky 25% makes me question why I do it every time.
This is today’s Kyuushoku and boy do I have a story for you.
(Please note: not for the squeamish)
I sit down to eat this and hey it’s not so bad. For once the soup is warm! My students and co workers are all sitting around me happily eating their soup and salad. All of a sudden the student next to faces to my direction and throws up all over the table in front of me. I did my best to try and resist my own gagging noises and tried my best to keep the other students calm - but that was it Kyuushoku wise for me today. I couldn’t come back from it.
Today’s Kyuushoku: milk, brown sugar bread, cream based stew and salad with tuna and squid.