Hope you’re all keeping up with those resolutions (I’m not..)! As we near the end of January I just wanted to update you all on my JET application as they decided to send out their lists of interviewees on January 21st!
If you’ve been researching the many English teaching opportunities in Japan you have probably heard of the JET program. If not, here’s a very general overview. The program is basically a cooperation between the Japanese government and the governments of several other countries (the USA being one) and, like Interac, you are placed into public schools to teach alongside a native Japanese teacher. The better known differences are that JET has better pay, they pay for your housing and the flight to and from Japan, and so quite naturally everyone wants to do it! And also, naturally, that makes the whole hiring process much more selective. It is hard to be hired by JET. Now because the JET normal track doesn’t start until the summer of every year, versus in April with the start of the school year like Interac, Interac has already interviewed, hired, and placed me. This is one of the reasons I decided against JET, which I will talk about later.
Anyways, I was selected for an interview with JET (yay! I feel super duper special!) and so now I get to send an email politely rejecting the program with so many perks that is so voraciously desired by so many. Again, I’m feeling so super special to be chosen for an interview, but I won’t ever know if they would have actually hired me or not. (Another reason I went with Interac.) From word of YouTube and the WWW, the JET interview is brutal. A board of three staring you down and being intimidating (again, I don’t know from experience!) but I’m guessing it’s kind of what interviewing for grad school feels like… Yikes! Best of luck to all you out there going for it! Just breathe.
I’m glad I am working for Interac for the reasons already mentioned and several others. I’m really really happy to be starting with the Japanese school year in April, I honestly feel like you can know your students and staff better when you’re all starting the year together. If I came in in the middle of everything, I think I’d personally feel more like an intruder. Also, (and again, don’t take my word for it, this is word of mouth) I’ve heard JET does a lot of work with high schools and as an elementary teacher with most of my experience taming the adorable, huggable beasts of K-8? Not really my forte. (Yes, Jr. High students hug too and yes, they secretly aren’t “too cool” for it!) There’s a myriad (so many good words are spewing forth today!) of reasons I decided to take on Interac and not chance the JET and I’m very glad for my choice so far.
As an outsider and as someone who has yet to go to Japan and actually teach, all my information has been my limited contact with both companies and talking with several current employees and stalking YouTube and blogs. So take it with a grain of salt!
So to all you aspiring and current ALT’s, JET, Interac, Eikaiwa, and everyone else I forgot, have faith, good luck, and dream on!!!