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Atomic_Jukebox
February 25th, 2014, 19:20
Hello, I am an aspiring applicant to JET, and I had a question which I could not find answers to anywhere else. I currently have an AA, and I plan to apply to the program in two years after I have graduated (or likely slightly before) with my BA in education, which will carry a field endorsement in English. This means that while I won't have any formal teaching experience, I will have a career-specific degree. My question to you is: Will having this sort of degree help my chances of actually landing a spot in the program? If so, how much do you think it may impact their decision? Could it possibly help me land a position closer to Tokyo (I really just want to be within easy commuting distance from Akihabara)?

johnny
February 25th, 2014, 20:04
Firstly, as it stands there are no ALT positions inside the city of Tokyo. Remember that the JET program is largely meant to send native English speakers to less urban cities in order to teach English and exchange culture. Tokyo, if no other city in Japan, is not really in dire need of foreigners to assist in the teaching of English.

So your best hope is to land in one of the neighbouring prefectures that do bring in ALT's like Saitama or Chiba. I don't know how long it takes to get to Akihabara from those prefectures as a best case scenario, but they aren't a stone's throw away.

Also remember that it's really hard to get any particular placement request. There are 47 prefectures and to get in any particular prefecture is really tough. I requested Hokkaido and I got placed in Yamaguchi on the other side of the country. You will be placed where you are needed. Your placement request is of secondary concern to the JET programme coordinators.

If you desperately want to be in Tokyo, I would recommend going with a private option. They don't pay quite as well, but they may be willing to put you in Tokyo or Yokohama.

As for how useful your degree in Education is, it might help if there are prefectures or Boards of Education that request a degree in education for their ALT's. It's not unheard of, but that's something one of the OG's might be able to answer better than me.

AVN
February 25th, 2014, 20:10
If you have an actual teaching degree you might be better to apply directly to a school. Check out sites like gaijinpot for listings.
As for it helping or hurting, it won't hurt but it will only be a check box on a long list.

Antonath
February 25th, 2014, 20:36
It might help your chances during applying, though there may be questions at interview about being overqualified. If you make it out here, it will either be of little use, or a source of frustration as you see where everything is going "wrong".

I'd agree with what the others said re Tokyo: you won't get there on JET. You might get close, but you have little influence in the matter (having your home town twinned with somewhere in Saitama or Chiba, for example).

And before anyone else says it, if your sole reason for coming is to spend time in Akihabara, you may want to re-examine your reasons for applying. At the very least, you should think of a better reason to put on your application.

Atomic_Jukebox
February 25th, 2014, 21:04
Don't worry everyone; being close to Tokyo isn't a big priority. I was actually looking at requesting Sapporo as well, which is about as far away as you can get. I have a friend who lives there who I met a couple years ago, and have kept up with since. Being near Akihabara would be great, but by no means do I see it as essential. I love everything about Japan, and I am going there for the total experience!

Second, I am intrigued by the thought of applying directly to a Japanese school, as AVNicholls mentioned. I imagine I would have to pay my own way over, and find my own place to live, which would be an inconvenience, but it might end up being worth it. Does anyone know what advantages might be gained through this?

word
February 25th, 2014, 22:00
Does anyone know what advantages might be gained through this?

Usually slightly better pay than dispatch companies.

That's honestly about it.

I wouldn't even count on that, to tell you the truth. Direct-hire positions in desirable cities don't tend to be particularly well-paying and are pretty difficult to get if you aren't already here and don't speak Japanese.

Ini
February 25th, 2014, 22:59
applying from abroad, no valid work visa, no experience? yeah....... good luck with that.

Jiggit
February 26th, 2014, 00:02
Second, I am intrigued by the thought of applying directly to a Japanese school, as AVNicholls mentioned. I imagine I would have to pay my own way over, and find my own place to live, which would be an inconvenience, but it might end up being worth it. Does anyone know what advantages might be gained through this?

I'd give up this idea right now. This is only a really practical option for people who live in Japan already, speak Japanese and tbh all the good jobs are going to go to people who have contacts. Besides it's illegal to come over here on a normal visa and try and convert it into a working visa and you can't get a working visa without having a job before you come over. Frankly if you don't want to come to Japan enough to be fine with living in a super rural place in the countryside a days travel from anywhere near Tokyo then JET is not for you. Look at Interac or something; "alternatives to JET" will give you plenty of results in google. Or think about teaching Eikaiwa. Significantly less pay, imo far less rewarding work than teaching, but hey, everythings a compromised.

One more thing; I'm not going to assume this is true, but saying you want to be within commuting district of Akihabara and that you "love everything about Japan" is flagging you as an otaku/japanophile. Maybe you aren't and it's fine if you are, but such people almost always burn out on Japan and run back home incredibly quickly. Maybe you think you're different and that your interest is more deep and meaningful. So did they.

Please don't think we're trying to mock you or put down your dreams. Between us we've been in Japan a long time and seen a lot of people come and go. Almost all of us share the opinion that people who think they love Japan before coming here because of their interest in modern Japanese culture (anime/games/manga/cosplay/etc) are making a big mistake deciding to come here. Your attitude of "I love everything about Japan" is utterly wrong. You don't know that yet. You can't know how much you like Japan unless you've actually lived here for quite a while. Deciding now that you love it is only going to intensify the culture shock you feel when you get here and it isn't how you thought it was going to be. All of us have seen at least a few people with your attitude break down and leave early. Even people who are barely interested in Japan and just felt like taking a gap year last way longer than the average Japanophile.

Just chill out and try to think of things more skeptically/openly. Think of it as something that would be neat to try if you manage to get in, but that isn't the end of the world if you don't. See it as only one of many paths you might take in the future.

Again, apologies if I assume too much. I merely want to give you as full a warning as I can, given how much you stand to lose if it somehow goes wrong.

johnny
February 26th, 2014, 00:33
You know, the flip side of what Jiggit is saying is that you may end up loving rural Japan. My understanding is that the more rural your placement, the more likely the community will want to get you involved.

My happiest day here was being asked to join the Foxes' Wedding festival. It involved carrying around an awkward and heavy shrine with my group and stopping only to drink sake. It was pouring rain and we were soaked, but no one cared.

flapjack21
February 26th, 2014, 06:16
During my interview I had the opportunity to ask my panel if JET was going to have a larger role leading up to the 2020 Olympics and all three replied with a definitive yes. They even went on to say that they were thinking of placing more ALTs in Tokyo proper. They said that currently the only person who is in Tokyo is actually located on a small island about 3 hours away from the city. Seems like people being placed in Tokyo is still a few years away but might be some food for thought.

johnny
February 26th, 2014, 07:20
I know there are at least three people in the Tokyo prefecture because at TO there were at least three people assigned to the Tokyo legislature.

There are also rumors that Tokyo city will be taking JET alts, though there hasn't been anything official I've heard.

Gizmotech
February 26th, 2014, 07:37
Ya, hawkness over on official is in one of the outlying metro city areas working for a BoE in Tokyo.

Yes, your education degree will help. It will not give you preferential treatment though. I have ESL University certification, with appropriate work experience (not much, but some) before I came. I asked for three relatively busy areas of Japan where foreigners are placed (many placed there during my year). I got stuck in the middle of nowhere Japan instead.

Also Antonaths comments are VERY valid if you have any idea about teaching. Most of the teachers I know get... frustrated... on a semi-regular basis, Myself included.

Atomic_Jukebox
February 26th, 2014, 09:24
Wow, next time I will remember to mention nothing about Tokyo or surrounding areas, lest I start a forum war. :|

Anyway, no Jiggit, like I said, I think I would love going to the different electronics shops around Akihabara, but it's not a bit priority. I would feel equally happy to be placed in or near Sapporo, as I already have a friend there. I have been to seven countries outside of the United States (all European), and I haven't felt the least bit home sick. I believe that deep down, and above all, I am a traveler.

To everyone: I know a lot of teachers get irritated by the job, but I know it is something I can handle. My mother as well as several of my aunts and uncles are teachers. When I was a little kid, I spent a lot of my time with my mom between elementary classes. When I grew older, I helped her with the GED program. I actually helped a forty-year-old man learn to read and write when I was fourteen. This is when I decided I wanted to teach. I already know it can get quite frustrating, but I welcome the challenge.

Ini
February 26th, 2014, 09:26
all the decent electronic shops have pretty much died in akihabara. its all maid cafes, large chain stores, places selling manga/anime and millions of AKB48 fans.

Atomic_Jukebox
February 26th, 2014, 09:33
all the decent electronic shops have pretty much died in akihabara. its all maid cafes, large chain stores, places selling manga/anime and millions of AKB48 fans.

Ah. Well in that case, they can take me anywhere. I'll probably just request they put me around Sapporo, and hope I get lucky. :P

therealwindycity
February 26th, 2014, 09:34
Wow, next time I will remember to mention nothing about Tokyo or surrounding areas, lest I start a forum war. :|


We're jealous of those bitches in Tokyo because we're all languishing out in the countryside.

Ini is right about Akihabara though - since the advent of online shopping, it's lost most of its appeal.

mrcharisma
February 26th, 2014, 09:44
I'm not sure if "I'd be happy in Tokyo or Sapporo" is really a flexible enough attitude for JET. The whole point of the programme is to send honkys to the parts of the country that are polar opposite to these cities. Tokyo is more or less a non-starter and I don't expect they'd view the fact that your pal lives in Sapporo as a valid reason for sending you there either.

If I were you, I'd go to either city and join an eikawa, then after getting a year or so experience move onto an ALT job.

HorseFeathers
February 26th, 2014, 09:48
Wow, next time I will remember to mention nothing about Tokyo or surrounding areas, lest I start a forum war. :|.

Many aspiring JETs mistakenly think that JET program is their ticket to big cities like Osaka, Tokyo, and the like. But in truth, JET program focuses more on the rural districts, and helping students who wouldn't be normally exposed to foreigners on a regular basis. It's a question that the JET alumni's get every year. I don't blame them for getting annoyed answering it.

As for me, I wouldn't be applying to JET if they only went to the big cities. I wouldn't mind visiting but I'd never want to live in one, being kind of a country/suburban girl myself.

Antonath
February 26th, 2014, 10:58
To everyone: I know a lot of teachers get irritated by the job, but I know it is something I can handle. My mother as well as several of my aunts and uncles are teachers. When I was a little kid, I spent a lot of my time with my mom between elementary classes. When I grew older, I helped her with the GED program. I actually helped a forty-year-old man learn to read and write when I was fourteen. This is when I decided I wanted to teach. I already know it can get quite frustrating, but I welcome the challenge.
You've mistaken the type of frustration we're talking about. It's not the frustration of being a teacher, it's the frustration of being a trained teacher in an education system that works in a vastly different manner to the one you're trained in.

AVN
February 26th, 2014, 11:10
Sorry I should have been clearer in my initial post, I wasn't really referring to private ALT options. There are international (especially in Tokyo) schools you can apply for that those without an education degree cannot. Those jobs are not as well know and a little harder to find but I know several friends from back home with teaching degrees who have come to work for them. They had help with their visa and finding a place. It is easier if you already have a visa, but not impossible without, you just won't be an ALT or in a public school. Likely you would be in an international school and be doing the same job you would back home, teaching various (or your focus if you are SHS) subjects in English. It is a completely different experience than being an ALT but can be really interesting. Just do your research so you don't get into a sketchy place.
Edit: You say you have an English Education Degree, can you clarify, do you mean a B of Ed?

As for your interest in either Tokyo or Sapporo, I'm curious as to why you keep choosing cities instead of prefectures? Are you concerned about rural placements? Sapporo is still one of the biggest cities in Japan. It's hardly proving that you are willing to go "anywhere".

One of the risks of living in a big city like Tokyo or Sapporo is the English/foreign bubble. It's easy to make expat friends, especially if you have expat coworkers, and that makes it easy to get into at bubble where you live "in" Japan but not really as a part of Japan. I know many expats who basically live in a mini Western world within Japan. There's not intrinsically wrong with this, but if you're interested in learning about/getting to know Japan it's something that could inhibit that.

Kdes23
February 26th, 2014, 11:14
To answer the initial topic, no, your English degree won't make much of a difference. There are plenty of people on JET with degrees in engineering, science, math, business, and politics (and whatever else I'm missing). Sure, an English degree is great to have because you're an expert of the language. You can definitely answer more technical questions that the JTE's (Japanese English teachers) might ask you, which is great. Unfortunately, the technicalities of English are unnecessary. The goal of English in Japan is not to make everyone fluent speakers and writers. Some would say that ALT's are here to give Japanese a chance to speak English with a foreigner and improve their English. Others might say that ALT's are here to share their own culture with Japanese, and to go back home to share Japanese culture with their friends and family. Those reasons are valid, and there are probably dozens of others reasons that are just as valid.

Although, one thing that most people don't know is that the JET programme's mandate is, first and foremost, to promote internationalization. This can be found in the JET handbook and (iirc) on the CLAIR website. This is why an English degree won't make you a better candidate than somebody else. A wise friend once told me that a degree is a piece of paper that tells an employer that you're able to commit to a long-term project and finish the job (ie. the 4 years of school). I like to believe that the JET programme/CLAIR looks at a degree with the same sort of perspective.

Jumping to your other question/topic. There's no placement in Tokyo at this time. Although, there is hope. There are plans to increase the number of JET programme ALT's in Japan, and there are also plans to add positions in Tokyo. That's the good news. The bad news, is that they'll probably place the more qualified ALT's/teachers there. IE: people with teaching degrees, people with a high level of Japanese, people with lots of teaching experience, etc. <--- That's just my theory though. I can be wrong, but that's what I've dissected from the time that I've been living in Japan.

I noticed that you're also willing to be placed in Sapporo; that's definitely an option. I think that your chances of getting it would be pretty good too. Not (as) many people request to be placed in a cold climate with some of the largest snowfall on the planet.

When and if you choose to apply, you can request three locations in which you'd like to be placed. People say don't put Tokyo on the list, but personally, I would. I'm probably already making heads shake, but read on. Us ALT's aren't necessarily more informed about positions/opening. Maybe they'll come to the decision of adding position in Tokyo by May or June. If that ends up being the case, ALT's won't know. Hell, even the JET interview panels won't know. So go on, add it as a request if you want to live there. There's usually a box for you to fill out asking why you want to be placed in location X. If you select Tokyo, just explain that you know there aren't any positions, but that you would like to be placed there if positions open up.

Hope this helps.

Atomic_Jukebox
February 26th, 2014, 11:31
AVNicholls - Yes, I will have a bachelor's degree in Education with a field endorsement in English. Also, I don't mind rural placements at all. I actually grew up on a farm five miles outside of a town of 120 people, so rural life is nothing new. I've been trying to divert people from the original statement, but I'm just getting the shit flamed out of me by 90% of the community already. You were pretty polite, but it hasn't been a great first experience with the site. O.o'

Kdes - Thanks for giving that info in a palatable manner. So many people just seem to (basically) just say, "No you fool! You want to be in Tokyo!? Give up now and go away!"

EDIT: The wording of this post reflects my feelings more than it does my literal experiences.

Kdes23
February 26th, 2014, 11:41
I've been trying to divert people from the original statement, but I'm just getting the shit flamed out of me by 90% of the community already. You were pretty polite, but it hasn't been a great first experience with the site. O.o'

Sorry that you feel this way, and I'm not surprised. I won't name names but there are some people on here that are just negative and hateful. They don't understand that there are living, breathing human beings behind each user. Each with their own feelings. They hide behind the anonymity that these forums and the internet provide. I can assure you, the majority of ALT's that you meet in person aren't like this at all. There's a reason that these are the unofficial forums- forum moderation is lacking.

Antonath
February 26th, 2014, 11:52
There's a reason that these are the unofficial forums- forum moderation is lacking.
If only you could see some of the stuff we delete...

If people have been a little flame-happy, it's because we've seen a lot of "OMG Akihabara anime NaruDragonPieceBallZ" applicants. Most never make it to interview, and the few that get all the way out tend to burn out very quickly, making trouble for their schools and other ALTs. Merely mentioning Akihabara is usually a bad sign, and I'm not surprised people jumped on it. You, on the other hand, are more interested in the place for electronics (and it is a shame the maid cafes have kicked out all the tiny electronics shops). That significantly improves your chances of a) not being a weeaboo and b) fitting in here quite well.

Gizmotech
February 26th, 2014, 12:07
To everyone: I know a lot of teachers get irritated by the job, but I know it is something I can handle. My mother as well as several of my aunts and uncles are teachers. When I was a little kid, I spent a lot of my time with my mom between elementary classes. When I grew older, I helped her with the GED program. I actually helped a forty-year-old man learn to read and write when I was fourteen. This is when I decided I wanted to teach. I already know it can get quite frustrating, but I welcome the challenge.

Ya, those are exactly the things which WILL drive you crazy when you get here. Imagine if you will, a teaching environment. An environment where teachers help students towards a goal. They provide guidance and learning opportunities, and there is classroom engagement. Students seem semi or even actively involved in the learning activity, and when the activity is done, you are sure they have learned something productive in English. There has been lots of review opportunities, self expression, and interactivity. You see how they are learning and you approve because it appears to be grounded in sound educational methodology and pedagogy. You can feel sure that there was an element of learner autonomy occurring, and that your co-teacher understands all of this.

Now throw that image out.

This is where the frustration comes from, from teachers in particular. We know how to do the job. We could be better at the primary job than our Japanese counter part. We occasionally offer small and productive suggestions which are either half implemented/understood, or simply ignored. We watch the life being leached out of the kids through constant repetition, engaging in asinine content, learning forms and functions of English which are entirely unnecessary, when they haven't mastered core grammatical and structural components of English.

The western view of education and student engagement is soo drastically different, that integrating the two systems together to achieve productive results can be an exercise in futility.

I'm sorry if you found our comments about expressing a preference for Tokyo, or the inference in your question that being qualified will enable preferential treatment rather... harsh?. It's a sorry reaction to having seen similar questions before, and having met participants with that mind set who ended up causing problems for their coworkers when they were placed in the middle of no where (which is what the JET program is designed for).

I will disagree with KDES23 that the JET programme is about promoting internationalization. It seems very poorly setup to accomplish that task, and our primary job is teaching or assisting in teaching. I am certainly much more functional in my job having a degree in Linguistics with a Certificate in TESOL than many of my peers, which I hear complaints about from my Japanese coworkers. Now, obviously this varies, and I suspect I would have little use for this education at a lower level like elementary school, but once you start getting involved in the classes and they are getting into technical elements of English Grammar, it helps to actually know something about what they are talking about. Also, school boards can request ALTs with teaching credentials. I know Kobe has a whole bunch of em down there.

Also, many people request Sapporo. It is a well known city, with a large community of foreigners. Much like Sendai, it is a popular choice. As for Tokyo, I will be... impressed, if there is an uptake in Tokyo placements this year. That announcement a few months back about "more ALTs to Tokyo for the Olympics" seemed more like Abe style smoke screening than actual policy. Also, any new Tokyo placements would probably have been announced publicly by now, given they are finalizing (or have finalized) their municipal budgets for the year. (BTW: KDES, there are mainland Tokyo placements as of last intake.I think hawkness said there were... 3?)

Either way, given the OP mentioned this was in two years, the situation could have changed quite drastically by then. Recent CLAIR policy changes, combined with a potential increase of Tokyo ALTs (believe it when I see it), means the OP should really be re addressing this issue then.

In the mean time, feel free to stay around. We're not as nasty as KDES23 makes us out to be, and to be honest a few of us (like Jiggit) might be a little stressed out at the moment with end of year work piling up. (looks at his stack of 200 essays and groans...)

therealwindycity
February 26th, 2014, 13:08
Sorry that you feel this way, and I'm not surprised. I won't name names but there are some people on here that are just negative and hateful. They don't understand that there are living, breathing human beings behind each user. Each with their own feelings. They hide behind the anonymity that these forums and the internet provide. I can assure you, the majority of ALT's that you meet in person aren't like this at all. There's a reason that these are the unofficial forums- forum moderation is lacking.

I agree that there is negativity sometimes - if you are ever concerned, please don't hesitate to report a post or to PM a moderator to discuss it further.

Ini
February 26th, 2014, 13:08
that's what I've dissected from the time that I've been living in Japan.



well with all respect what you dont know could fill a warehouse

therealwindycity
February 26th, 2014, 13:11
well with all respect what you dont know could fill a warehouse

Perhaps a more diplomatic/detailed response would be appreciated ...

Kdes23
February 26th, 2014, 13:12
Sorry that you took it personally Gizmotech. I was only sympathizing with Atomic_Jukebox. My opinion still stands that there are people on here that say unnecessary and hateful things. That opinion wasn't directed at you- at all. Nor did I say that everyone is like that. I said "some people".

Also, it's not my opinion that the JET programme is about internationalization. What I said was that according to CLAIR, who runs the JET programme, that is its purpose. Did I say whether I agree with it or whether it's working? Nope.

P.S. Ini, I don't understand your point? Everyone's lacking of knowledge can fill a warehouse. I argue it call fill the whole universe. I'm confused.

Jiggit
February 26th, 2014, 13:13
I've been trying to divert people from the original statement, but I'm just getting the shit flamed out of me by 90% of the community already.

That's a bit of an overstatement. People gave you their honest opinions, albeit a little too overzealously. I'll admit that we have tendency to pile on over-eagerly. But it's perfectly within your power to disregard any advice that you think doesn't apply to you. I even said in my original post several times that what I was saying might not apply to you at all.

If you ask for advice, we will give you advice. People took the time to think out and write their advice to you, don't just dismiss it. We're not going to give you a dishonest statement for the sake of sugar-coating it to make you feel better. It's better for you to have a range of honest opinions to consider than a load of niceties that tell you nothing.


Sorry that you feel this way, and I'm not surprised. I won't name names but there are some people on here that are just negative and hateful. They don't understand that there are living, breathing human beings behind each user. Each with their own feelings. They hide behind the anonymity that these forums and the internet provide.

No, we assume that people are adults and aren't going to have a breakdown simply because a bunch of strangers on the internet didn't pat them on the head and tell them how awesome they are. Very few people on here are actually hateful to newbies, they just aren't the type to be fakely positive about everything. As I said before, there's no point being nice to people if by doing so you obfuscate your true opinion. Frankly I'm of the opinion that by sugar-coating what you tell people they're far more likely to disregard or overlook it.

And as we've said countless times before, people who are that sensitive shouldn't go on JET.

Ini
February 26th, 2014, 13:14
Some people have been drinking the CLAIR kool-aid....

therealwindycity
February 26th, 2014, 13:15
Some people have been drinking the CLAIR kool-aid....

I don't think that it's necessarily bad to say that someone is mistaken, but you should at least explain why you think so. Not everyone has the benefit of years of Japan/JET experience.

AVN
February 26th, 2014, 13:32
I am certainly much more functional in my job having a degree in Linguistics with a Certificate in TESOL than many of my peers, which I hear complaints about from my Japanese coworkers. Now, obviously this varies, and I suspect I would have little use for this education at a lower level like elementary school, but once you start getting involved in the classes and they are getting into technical elements of English Grammar, it helps to actually know something about what they are talking about. Also, school boards can request ALTs with teaching credentials. I know Kobe has a whole bunch of em down there.
I can assure you that your, or anyone else's, degree in linguistics and your certificate in TESOL would be equally useful in teaching a younger age group such as elementary school. Just because the rules of grammar aren't explicitly taught does not mean the knowledge and ability to teach them would be wasted on children. In fact when doing my Certificate in TESL I was using my ES students as my example class in many of the lesson planning and research papers I worked on.

par92186
February 27th, 2014, 17:54
You've mistaken the type of frustration we're talking about. It's not the frustration of being a teacher, it's the frustration of being a trained teacher in an education system that works in a vastly different manner to the one you're trained in.

This.^

par92186
February 27th, 2014, 18:05
. I've been trying to divert people from the original statement, but I'm just getting the shit flamed out of me by 90% of the community already.

Don't take it personal AJ. You question about Tokyo placement is just a major "No-No" for this forum and the JET Program as a whole. It's a question that gets asked a lot by people not too familiar with the program and it gets shut down quite a bit lol

I'm not a current JET... yet. I'm still on the bench waiting for coach to put me in the game lol. This forum has been a tremendous resource for myself and many others looking for information about the program. What I would recommend is first doing a quick google search of your question/s or check your country's JET website (99% of the time you can find it there as a FAQ) and if you still can't get a reliable enough answer or want something explained better, definitely post it here. People are always willing to help.

HorseFeathers
February 28th, 2014, 23:31
And as we've said countless times before, people who are that sensitive shouldn't go on JET.

But if someone is actively antagonizing other members for the sheer fun of it, are we simply going to protect them because the REST of us should be adults? That seems a bit backwards to me.

Shincantsen
February 28th, 2014, 23:59
But if someone is actively antagonizing other members for the sheer fun of it, are we simply going to protect them because the REST of us should be adults? That seems a bit backwards to me.

It's tough, because there used to be the Official Forums, which is where all the sensitive souls could go and ask questions, and this was the more 'alternative' forum. Now that there's no official applying forum anymore, ITIL has to find a balance between bullying people away and assuring people that they shouldn't wear a Japanese school uniform to their interview.

Ini
March 1st, 2014, 06:49
Why do we have to find a balance? Itil was here before the official forums. Why can't we continue doing what we've always done?

HorseFeathers
March 1st, 2014, 09:23
It's tough, because there used to be the Official Forums, which is where all the sensitive souls could go and ask questions, and this was the more 'alternative' forum. Now that there's no official applying forum anymore, ITIL has to find a balance between bullying people away and assuring people that they shouldn't wear a Japanese school uniform to their interview.

That's true I suppose. But even silly otakus have feelings. While it's always amusing to hear of someone going to their interview in a kimono, I actually haven't seen individuals like that on this forum recently (though I did search because I thought it would be fun to read). Mostly the people I've seen getting the brunt of the negativity are people who ask questions like this one. Everyone has to start somewhere in their exploration of the program. So what might seem like a really dumb question to those who have heard it all before, might actually be the first time a new person has heard the answer.

And sometimes hurtful comments come out of left field when the user wasn't even asking a question. Which is why I've put Ini on my ignore list and I'm not bothering to see what they said in reply. I'll just assume it was probably something not nice yet again.

word
March 1st, 2014, 09:33
I think ITIL has just found itself in an odd place, with a bunch of people converging on us who don't understand why this place isn't more like [that other place they like].

Back in the olden days, in the time before time, ITIL was the "carebear" forum. Official didn't exist. Big Daikon was a nexus of trolls and cynics. Gaijinpot was a nexus of weeaboos and idiots. Japanistan was a nexus of mothy. (Seems like there's another old forum I'm forgetting?) ITIL was just about the nicest Japan-centric forum on the internet--there was a bit of snark, but it served us well.

Then Official showed up right about the time "bullying" became a catch-all term for all the ills of the internet and introduced a previously un-seen level of carebear moderation. Facebook pretty much replaced half the internet. Big Daikon died. Gaijinpot died. Japanistan was given grace by mothy and sailed to the Undying Lands.

Now, though, the situation has changed again. The folks at CLAIR seem to have realized that the Official forums were oddly counterproductive and generally not a very good idea. It may be that offering people a snark-free zone in which to ask incredibly stupid questions does nothing but permit questionably competent folks to gain an edge in the application process (just my own pet theory, of course). Who knows?

In any case, ITIL now finds itself in this odd place--we're getting applicants who are accustomed to incredibly strict, brutal, severe moderation... but we've also got a lot of folks who feel that a bit of snarkiness is a very healthy thing, and a lot of them are folks who have been around for a long time and have a great deal to offer.

I'm not interested in seeing anyone driven away. The Applying, Japan, Teaching, etc. subforums will be moderated to the best of our ability, but not every obnoxious remark, sarcastic statement, or snarky comment is going to be removed or even addressed. Repeated, targeted abuse will not be tolerated, nor will outright over-the-top cruelty or trolling. These decisions will be made by the moderators to the best of their ability--we may not always be consistent, nor may we always do their job the way you want us to... but we're only human. We can't make all the people happy all the time. Bear with us, report posts that you find offensive, and please try not to be too angry or disappointed if we don't agree with you or if we fail to address them the way you wanted.

HorseFeathers
March 1st, 2014, 10:34
I understand. And I too am not without my snarky side on the internet. And I know the admin on this site are doing their best to cut down on some of the negativity. I don't fault the moderation staff, of course. Nor do I think everyone needs to change their tune and sing every potential's praises.

It's such a tricky balance to teeter between. And with the written word not always being the best at conveying dry humor, its hard to tell if someone is just making a harmless joke or if they actually meant to hurt.

I guess what I'm trying say is that I understand why it's hard to moderate. And I appreciate whatever efforts are going down behind the scenes to keep this site up. Because all that aside, this site has been one of my useful resources to applying to JET.

Antonath
March 1st, 2014, 14:54
I'm fairly certain this isn't going to end well, but as an occasional optimist, I'm not going to shut things down just yet. I haven't done any pruning despite how far from the topic we've got, because I'd hate for people to think we were simply deleting stuff that dealt with moderation. That's a perfectly valid topic for discussion, but how about we keep it at discussion and not where I think this is heading, hmm?

Jiggit
March 1st, 2014, 15:12
But if someone is actively antagonizing other members for the sheer fun of it, are we simply going to protect them because the REST of us should be adults? That seems a bit backwards to me.

I don't see how anyone in this thread was deliberately antagonising OP at all. The problem is that everyone wants to say their bit and it feels like everyone is having a go. But if you actually read what people said it was all sincerely-meant advice. It may have been unhelpful advice that didn't apply to him, but we can't help that. For example plenty of stuff word says is a load of nonsense that's barely relevant to anyone that he only says because he wants to write a massive thesis about his thoughts on the matter, but that's not bullying or antagonising people on purpose and he does mean to help. Very few people on this forum actually try to antagonise or bully new people. It's just that people nowadays can't handle honesty and interpret it as meanness.

There are a few members like ini who like to attack people purely for the fun of it but for some reason that is beyond me the mods tolerate this kind of sh1tposting and engage him rather than just deleting the posts. Sure he is very helpful sometimes but I don't know why that means you can't delete his posts when he isn't.

Jiggit
March 1st, 2014, 15:16
Hey! I said nothing you didn't deserve to have said to you! I stand by every word in that PM.

This is the kind of shit I'm talking about. To be brutally honest, word, I would put you near the top of the list of problematic posters (in terms of making people feel bullied).

word
March 1st, 2014, 15:22
This is the kind of shit I'm talking about. To be brutally honest, word, I would put you near the top of the list of problematic posters (in terms of making people feel bullied).
I probably would, too. :(

Don't hesitate to call me on that sh*t, though. I usually feel really crappy when someone calls me out on my sh*t and do a lot of self-examination following such an accusation. I don't want to be mean and never intentionally set out to do so.

Jiggit
March 1st, 2014, 15:34
Well I'm probably near the top as well, it's just that I'm not a mod.

Like I said, I think most of the problem is that we have a lot of people (myself included) who have a lot of spare time and love the sound of their own voices (or the sight of their posts I guess) and so if any question is even remotely interesting it's a fair bet there's going to be at least 5 people who immediately write massive posts that basically all say the same thing with minor variations. Those people will probably then start having a debate with each other as well. So people are going to feel intimidated by that. Added to that is the problem of people expecting everyone to be ridiculously nice to them like in the official forums. Or tumblr or whatever; I assume that's where all the weeaboos come from anyway.

The reason I mention it is because eminate's thread was one of the better ones in which we posted honest if blunt advice and she took it on board fairly well. Until people started going off on their personal vendettas about religion. You represent this site as much as anyone does and regardless of your personal views it had nothing to do with the thread. If you really want to pick a fight with religious people there are plenty of other places on the internet where you can do so.

And I don't really care what this site becomes, tbh but if you really want to this site to be more open or get new members it seems pretty obvious what needs to be done.

word
March 1st, 2014, 15:47
The reason I mention it is because eminate's thread was one of the better ones in which we posted honest if blunt advice and she took it on board fairly well. Until people started going off on their personal vendettas about religion. You represent this site as much as anyone does and regardless of your personal views it had nothing to do with the thread. If you really want to pick a fight with religious people there are plenty of other places on the internet where you can do so. This is probably true. Things got out of hand quickly.

TBH, I don't think I would let that situation happen again. The thread to which you are referring was actually one of the ones that prompted me to archive Applying and re-boot it. I'm making much more of an effort to keep this place under control; the other mods are clearly doing the same. I already feel like this line of discussion needs to be spun out of this thread, though I'm hesitant to do so, as it seems to be generating some good discussions and I don't really want to risk killing it.


And I don't really care what this site becomes, tbh but if you really want to this site to be more open or get new members it seems pretty obvious what needs to be done.I dunno; I feel like we've made some progress on that front. Not a lot, maybe... but some. I should make more of an effort to behave myself, but this is an ongoing issue for me. If I look at my history, though, I've actually improved quite a bit, and I have no reason to doubt I will continue to do so in the future.

Gizmotech
March 1st, 2014, 15:59
Just to add something to Eminate's seniority statement. The vast majority of posters here on ITIL have been an ALT for at least 2 or 3 years. Some finished ALT work and have moved on to other endeavors in Japan. We may actually know more about Japanese Education, and have reversed engineered more of the JET programme than some of the consulate interviewers (I know I have now worked in Japan a year longer than both the interviewer on my panel AND the programme coordinator at the time and will be here at least 2 years longer than they were). We have been at this for quite a while, some (such as the infamous Ini) have seen soo many ALTs come and go that they have built up a pretty decent profile of what makes a successful ALT as well as a successful applicant. Honestly, being able to put up with this level of internet harassment is actually a pretty good measure of how an ALT will fair in Japan given how.... insensitive? the Japanese can be.

While many of us can be... direct? It is usually a reaction to having experienced all types of ALTs.

I'll say this, if I hadn't lived near one of the WORST ALTs I have EVER heard of, I probably wouldn't even be involved in the aspiring process or have ever spent any time on mains. I might be mean spirited at times, but in the interest of protecting my work environment there are certain character types that I could do without (and so could the JET programme). Unfortunately, it's not always easy evaluating this through the interwebs.

spman2099
March 1st, 2014, 17:22
This is probably true. Things got out of hand quickly, and I was absolutely responsible for exposing, arousing, and goading eminate's awful nature. I suppose I got what I deserved.

TBH, I don't think I would let that situation happen again. The thread to which you are referring was actually one of the ones that prompted me to archive Applying and re-boot it. I'm making much more of an effort to keep this place under control; the other mods are clearly doing the same. I already feel like this line of discussion needs to be spun out of this thread, though I'm hesitant to do so, as it seems to be generating some good discussions and I don't really want to risk killing it.

I dunno; I feel like we've made some progress on that front. Not a lot, maybe... but some. I should make more of an effort to behave myself, but this is an ongoing issue for me. If I look at my history, though, I've actually improved quite a bit, and I have no reason to doubt I will continue to do so in the future.

I actually agree that you have improved A LOT. I was reading some of the older posts on this forum a while back, and I can assure you, you said some fucked up stuff. There were a few posts that made me laugh pretty hard, but in a context that made me uncomfortable that I found what you said to be so funny. This may sound like I am antagonizing you, Word, but I assure you I am not. I think you have actually shown a great deal of improvement; personally, I think that is all you can really ask of someone. Still, I do agree with Jiggit, you are pretty close to being the face of this forum, you do need to hold yourself to a higher standard. So yeah, keep fighting the good fight.

That being said, I don't think anyone really crossed the line here. People didn't soften their blows, but they weren't particularly unreasonable either. Some of this shit has to be heard. There have been things said that I didn't like the sound of either, but it is better that we hear about it now than later. At least we can brace ourselves for possible culture shocks / reality checks.

word
March 1st, 2014, 17:44
Well, I wasn't always a mod, either! It's been a learning experience for me, to be sure...

zombiekelly
March 1st, 2014, 19:10
TBH I wasn't keen on posting in the lounge at first because you -are- all a bunch of assholes. But as far as life goes, I'd rather hear the truth from an asshole than a bunch of sugar coated lies from official sources. So it's nice that this place has a mix of all kinds.

Ini
March 1st, 2014, 20:05
http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20071222223944/pvx/images/5/5d/Wambulance.jpg

johnny
March 1st, 2014, 21:19
I agree with Gizmotech. If you can't put up with a bit of ribbing, then you might not be cut out for Japan.

Even if your situation here in Japan is really good, you're going to be dealing with aggravations that are far worse than anything that will be doled out here.

Also, I've received that ribbing myself, but any time it was below the belt I think the mods did a good job of putting a stop to it.

Even some of the more belligerent posters are actually really helpful when you have a good question.

Ini likes giving people a hard time, but he gave a great response to my camera question. One that helped me a ton. He knows a lot too, and I appreciate his input.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Kdes23
March 1st, 2014, 22:23
You have to take the bad with the good. I come on here because I like giving aspiring ALT's some advice based off of my experiences. It's also a nice place to escape and reminisce on the days of being in their shoes. When Japan was so amazing and mysterious to me. Obviously it loses its luster its true. Maybe not for everyone, but for a lot of us that can see through bullshit it does.

I like seeing honest, non-sugar coated responses. It's what these aspiring ALTs need. The official forums were ok, but wayyyy too sugar coated, and in many respects, way to Japanese. ITIL is great for giving honest answers.

The only thing I don't like is when somehow, the thread takes a spin and it becomes personal. Someone gets criticized in a way that mirrors bullying, or even called names. We're all adults here, there are no excuses for bullying someone- even on an online forum. Some people say that if you can't deal with it then you can't deal with living in Japan. Saying that is such a cop out.

All things said, criticism and honesty is good and needed on these forums.

Jamie Solo
March 2nd, 2014, 02:01
I like seeing honest, non-sugar coated responses. It's what these aspiring ALTs need. The official forums were ok, but wayyyy too sugar coated, and in many respects, way to Japanese. ITIL is great for giving honest answers.

I definitely agree with the responses. I've always considered ITIL to be doing some sort of public service to try and make sure stuff like this doesn't happen.

3368

Taken from: There's Always One... ยป Life After the B.O.E. (http://www.lifeaftertheboe.com/manga/2007/06/29/theres-always-one/)

HorseFeathers
March 2nd, 2014, 02:25
Again, certainly don't expect to be handled with kid gloves. And I'm all for criticism and honesty. But I'm sure you guys are all aware of the times where lines are crossed and people don't feel comfortable posting anymore. Not saying this particular instance in this thread was one of them (it could have been. I wasn't at the receiving end). I actually didn't think of this response as being that harsh compared to other instances on the site. It was simply brutally honest, which is something I expect from internet forums.

P.S. awesome picture Jamie Solo. :D