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starxrox
May 26th, 2015, 13:32
Hi JET Alum,

Curious to what people did after their time in JET? Obviously things might be different if you hated it or loved it but curious all the same.

Did you stay in Japan to teach?
Did you move somewhere else to teach?
Did you continue further study in Japan?
Did you realise you hated teaching?
Did you never do anything Japanese again?

Let me know [emoji2]


“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

word
May 26th, 2015, 14:36
Stayed in Japan and continued teaching. Moved to nearby town.

Will probably go home in another year or two. Will probably teach there; I quite enjoy it. MG was surprised to find that she liked teaching a lot more than she expected and will probably do the same.

Both of us have pretty rough J-go but we're not especially interested in studying it further. In fact, we're considering trying to study Spanish, instead.

Virgil
May 26th, 2015, 14:38
Both of us have pretty rough J-go but we're not especially interested in studying it further. In fact, we're considering trying to study Spanish, instead.

Worst decision of my life as a young person was to decide I didn't care to learn Spanish.

word
May 26th, 2015, 15:01
I had a little in high school and tried to improve on it a few times afterwards, but possess nowhere near a useful command of the language. I'd like to hit it again soon; I suspect it'll be a breeze compared to J-go.

starxrox
May 26th, 2015, 15:53
Does JET offer much to teachers in the way of Personal/teacher Development days?

Gizmotech
May 26th, 2015, 16:04
Does JET offer much to teachers in the way of Personal/teacher Development days?

HAHAHAHAHA. No. JET doesn't view ALTs as teachers or professionals (regardless of the stupid hoops we have to go through) so why would we have development days. Really though, it's that the teachers don't get them either.

CUPS
May 26th, 2015, 16:14
CPD is definitely not a thing in Japan.

starxrox
May 26th, 2015, 16:15
Ahh that's a shame. Here in Australia, it's mandatory for teachers so they are able to register. 60 hours worth every year.

THE
May 27th, 2015, 09:57
I basically became an adult during JET. The only growing pains I didn't experience during my time here is the job hunt, and since I graduated into the Recession, it has me terrified.

webstaa
May 27th, 2015, 14:25
CPD is definitely not a thing in Japan.

The only exception I've seen for Japanese teachers is sponsorship of graduate level degrees. The teachers can apply for 1 year (with pay) to attend classes to obtain a Masters etc in Education/their specialized field. In the case of Education, they come back to the school after the first year.

For ALTs the closest thing you get is SDC or TEFL grants. If you're school really wants it, they'll allow the ALT to use normal work hours towards getting a certification. (120 hours outside of normal work hours sucks.)

starxrox
May 27th, 2015, 14:28
The only exception I've seen for Japanese teachers is sponsorship of graduate level degrees. The teachers can apply for 1 year (with pay) to attend classes to obtain a Masters etc in Education/their specialized field. In the case of Education, they come back to the school after the first year.

For ALTs the closest thing you get is SDC or TEFL grants. If you're school really wants it, they'll allow the ALT to use normal work hours towards getting a certification. (120 hours outside of normal work hours sucks.)

That's awesome. Thanks for that webstaa [emoji106]🏻

webstaa
May 27th, 2015, 14:34
I should add that the TEFL grant goes out around this time every year, so it isn't even the best timing for an ALT planning to stay only one or two years. Depends on how long you and your CO want you to stay.

Virgil
May 27th, 2015, 16:33
I should add that the TEFL grant goes out around this time every year, so it isn't even the best timing for an ALT planning to stay only one or two years. Depends on how long you and your CO want you to stay.

I think that is the point of the timing.

Gizmotech
May 27th, 2015, 17:47
Word. Why give it to a one year alt, give it to an alt continuing onto year two or more

webstaa
May 28th, 2015, 08:09
Word. Why give it to a one year alt, give it to an alt continuing onto year two or more

Waste 1/3 or even 1/2 of that ALTs time? I understand the reasoning, I just don't agree with it. - The only upside to it is the setup if they enroll/do the coursework in summer.

Virgil
May 28th, 2015, 08:16
Waste 1/3 or even 1/2 of that ALTs time? I understand the reasoning, I just don't agree with it. - The only upside to it is the setup if they enroll/do the coursework in summer.

What time is being wasted?

uthinkimlost?
May 28th, 2015, 08:22
Waste 1/3 or even 1/2 of that ALTs time? I understand the reasoning, I just don't agree with it. - The only upside to it is the setup if they enroll/do the coursework in summer.

I don't think any of my stuff came through until late August, early September iirc.

Anyone with a passing understanding of basic English structure has no real problem passing the online courses. I crammed the day before I took the final exam, and passed the test no problem. (Although it was a -really- long test.)

webstaa
May 28th, 2015, 08:22
What time is being wasted?

The year they spend waiting for their TEFL course when they only stay 2 or 3 years. That's a full 1/3 or 1/2 before they get the training/skills they want/need to do a better job. (inb4 all ALT time is time wasted etc.)

uthinkimlost?
May 28th, 2015, 08:31
The year they spend waiting for their TEFL course when they only stay 2 or 3 years. That's a full 1/3 or 1/2 before they get the training/skills they want/need to do a better job. (inb4 all ALT time is time wasted etc.)

Ah, but if they wanted ALTs to do a better job, they'd provide something more comprehensive than a distance course.

To do what is asked of some ALTs, they'd need to be trained properly in ESL. (As in classes, observing trained professionals, etc.) This was just a bandaid on a problem because ALTs kicked up enough of a fuss.

Virgil
May 28th, 2015, 08:49
The year they spend waiting for their TEFL course when they only stay 2 or 3 years. That's a full 1/3 or 1/2 before they get the training/skills they want/need to do a better job. (inb4 all ALT time is time wasted etc.)

Yeah, I think an online course like this is going to be much more useful to someone who has spent at least a year fumbling their way through the ALT gig. If it was before, they won't have context for most of the informating being funneled into their brains.

hithere4
May 31st, 2015, 23:57
I basically became an adult during JET. The only growing pains I didn't experience during my time here is the job hunt, and since I graduated into the Recession, it has me terrified.

How many years into JET are you?

UPGRAYEDD
June 1st, 2015, 10:39
JET 2008-2011

2011-2013 = MBA in USA
2012 = Married Japanese girl I met on JET
Early 2013 = Internship at Japanese company
Mid 2013 = Convert internship to FT job at same company
2013-Present = Daily grind at Japanese company - good pay but bad hours
May 2015 = Passed US Foreign Service Oral Exam. Now playing the waiting game and continuing the salaryman grind while finishing up security and medical clearances required to become America's newest diplomat.

Zolrak 22
June 1st, 2015, 11:08
required to become America's newest diplomat.

Ohhh "America's next top diplomat".

Sounds like a fancy show. [emoji14]

hithere4
June 1st, 2015, 11:22
JET 2008-2011

2011-2013 = MBA in USA
2012 = Married Japanese girl I met on JET
Early 2013 = Internship at Japanese company
Mid 2013 = Convert internship to FT job at same company
2013-Present = Daily grind at Japanese company - good pay but bad hours
May 2015 = Passed US Foreign Service Oral Exam. Now playing the waiting game and continuing the salaryman grind while finishing up security and medical clearances required to become America's newest diplomat.

You take the exam in Tokyo? Were you working at a Japanese company in Tokyo or in the US?

UPGRAYEDD
June 1st, 2015, 12:29
You take the exam in Tokyo? Were you working at a Japanese company in Tokyo or in the US?

You can take the written exam in Tokyo. I actually took it last October at the US Embassy in Korea because I wanted to take advantage of a 3 day weekend and double up with some tourism.

Everyone has to travel to either DC or San Francisco for the oral exam. I just passed that last week (yea, it's a long process).

Anyway, I work for a Japanese company in Japan.

webstaa
June 1st, 2015, 14:09
You can take the written exam in Tokyo. I actually took it last October at the US Embassy in Korea because I wanted to take advantage of a 3 day weekend and double up with some tourism.

Anyway, I work for a Japanese company in Japan.

Are you hoping for a posting in Japan? This isn't too far off what I'd eventually like to do, but AFAIK you don't get much choice in terms of postings.

UPGRAYEDD
June 1st, 2015, 16:04
Are you hoping for a posting in Japan? This isn't too far off what I'd eventually like to do, but AFAIK you don't get much choice in terms of postings.

Yes of course but I had to sign a paper on Friday that confirmed that I am okay with "worldwide availability".

I'm hoping to develop my career as a regional East Asia expert and based on my conversations with peeps in the service, I'm fairly confident that I will be able to land at least 2 or 3 tours in Japan over the course of my career. Still, needs of the service will always come first.

uthinkimlost?
June 1st, 2015, 16:11
May 2015 = Passed US Foreign Service Oral Exam. Now playing the waiting game and continuing the salaryman grind while finishing up security and medical clearances required to become America's newest diplomat.

How was the written exam? I've heard different reviews.

UPGRAYEDD
June 1st, 2015, 17:26
How was the written exam? I've heard different reviews.

On a whole, I don't think it is that difficult but I can see how some people get left behind. It's broken down into four sections: general job knowledge (math, history, etc), English grammar, biographic, and the timed argument essay.

The job knowledge isn't too difficult for people who paid attention in schooling. The tricky part is that it's incredibly broad. I remember it literally going like this...simple question about Microsoft Excel --> geography of Turkey --> history of the French Revolution --> bond valuation.

The English expression section is just a slightly more complicated version of the ACT. Seriously, exactly the same format but all the example stories in the foreign service test are related to international relations instead of whatever bs diversity story they tend to use in the ACT these days.

Bio section can really trip people up. These people are usually those who 1) cannot remain consistent and try to answer every question in a way that they "think" the foreign service wants it answered, 2) people who simply do not know their own life and work history, and 3) people who cannot quickly summarize things when the prompt asks you to list the 3 seminars you claimed you attended in the last year.

The essay is exactly the same as the ACT. Just poop out a simple 4-5 paragraph argument with a clear thesis statement and you'll pass.

The oral assessment on the other hand...that was the most ridiculous stress inducing experience of my life. The only thing that kept me from having an aneurysm was the cool ass group of people I took the test with.

singinglupines
June 2nd, 2015, 00:48
Oh interesting. Foreign service is something I've looked into as well. The sample questions for the exam were super broad.

webstaa
June 2nd, 2015, 08:19
The oral assessment on the other hand...that was the most ridiculous stress inducing experience of my life. The only thing that kept me from having an aneurysm was the cool ass group of people I took the test with.

Now we request more details about the oral assessment. Do you think it was purposefully stress inducing? What topics did they cover/focus on.

UPGRAYEDD
June 2nd, 2015, 10:27
Now we request more details about the oral assessment. Do you think it was purposefully stress inducing? What topics did they cover/focus on.

The oral assessment is three exercises designed to measure your skills against 13 core competencies identified by State. One of those competencies happens to be "composure". I don't think there is a grand conspiracy to make everything stressful but the exercises are really hard and the vast majority of testers fail to make the minimum cutoff. This impacts your mindset when you go in for the day IMO.

The three exercises are a group exercise, case management exercise, and an interview. I did really well on the group exercise and interview but failed the case management.

Group exercise is a little bit over an hour. You get teamed up with 4 or 5 other testers and dropped off in a room with a table and a project folder for each tester. The project folder contains about 10-15 pages of fictional country info and project info and you get 30 minutes to formulate a 6 minute presentation outlying your project to the other group members. After your 30 minutes of prep time is up each tester has to orally present their project in 6 minutes or less. After everyone presents their projects, one of the assessors drops off a memo on the table and basically tells the group that they have 25 minutes to decide how to spend X amount of cash and they should write their final decision on which projects to support on the memo. After that it's basically a free-for-all and the assessors are grading everything. My group was cool because everyone understood that the goal of the exercise is to not win support for your project but show good teamwork and collaboration.

The case management exercise is a bitch. You get a huge folder with dozens of documents describing a fictional embassy situation and you get exactly 90 minutes to make sense of everything and write up a two-page memo outlining your assessment and recommendations. It took me a good 40 minutes just to read all the info and another 20 minutes just to figure out what the major problems were before starting to write. I finished my memo but only had a few minutes to proofread and fix shit, and you can tell from my writing here that I probably had all kinds of grammatical and spelling errors.

Last was the interview. It was about an hour and broken down into 3 sections. First section was the "experience and motivation" section which basically was a bit traditional. They were just probing you to get a good idea about why you wanted to be in the service and whether or not you were there for the right reasons. The middle section was answering hypothetical embassy scenarios. My hypotheticals were not that difficult and were mostly classical management problems with an embassy setting. The last section was traditional behavioral interview questions. Stuff like "please describe a time when you used cross-cultural skills to solve a problem". A lot of the questions were serious softballs for people with international experience like JET. I did really well on this section.

Atalante
June 7th, 2015, 16:53
Man, I haven't been here in years but someone told me I should reply to this thread, so here I am.

After JET I moved on to Tokyo to work for a foreign videogame company and worked there for a few years, they ended up having troubles in Japan and downsized their offices here, and I was one of the casualties. I moved on to another gaming company, this time Japan-based, for some more time, had its ups and downs.. Eventually made my next step up the ladder and work for a bank in the overseas auditing department. If anyone's interested in working in Finance or such, I could probably give some information.

tedcase
June 10th, 2015, 09:18
Did you stay in Japan to teach?

No

Did you move somewhere else to teach?

No

Did you continue further study in Japan?

No

Did you realise you hated teaching?

No

Did you never do anything Japanese again?

Fucked a few Japanese students in the UK.



If anyone's interested in working in Finance or such, I could probably give some information.

Hit me up.

patjs
July 15th, 2015, 00:54
Did you stay in Japan to teach?
No.

Did you move somewhere else to teach?
No.

Did you continue further study in Japan?
No.

Did you realise you hated teaching?
No, I liked it but I want to have some possibility of a career, which is not possible teaching in Japan unless you get advanced degrees and end up in a university. I'm not interested in spending several more years in school at age 29.

Did you never do anything Japanese again?
Yes. I've worked for two Japanese companies here in the US. It's allowed me to really improve written and spoken business Japanese. Lots of people think they are "business proficient" but really are not. Doing the salaryman thing is not really that great. The only good thing is that in the US the Japanese bosses generally understand we don't play that unpaid, excessive overtime game so I don't stay too late.
Japanese companies here tend to provide good benefits but lower salaries. There is also a definite glass ceiling for non-Japanese.

I'm currently getting sick of the US again though and the wife and I are seriously thinking of going back to Japan. Life in the US is nice but actually this area is almost more expensive than Japan. You have to drive everywhere. I live in the midwest and it's flat and boring. The food is not good here. We miss Japan.

starxrox
July 21st, 2015, 10:12
This may be an obvious question to those who have already taught ESL or participated in JET. I often read about how teaching ESL isn't a career.

I'm just curious as too why people think that?

Is it money?
Is it co-workers?
Lack of job security?

Gizmotech
July 21st, 2015, 10:23
Let's start with this; JET has nothing to do with ESL teaching most of the time. It's probably the WORST example to use. Most of the ALT gigs are very light on ESL teaching, as they are still assistant jobs or jobs where the script is best. Beyond that, there are absolutely real ESL teaching jobs but the competition for those is quite fierce AND the job security is lacking in many places. Those real jobs have these things called raises, which actually mean you end up making more money in the end, and you get to go up a few levels before hitting the glass ceiling that is "not from the country you're teaching in".

Then you get to ESL jobs outside of Japan (in those fun places where sensible foreigners wouldn't even wet their... whistle...). Now you have slightly better pay for the area, but still lower than a job back home. You end up doing actual ESL teaching, which is great, but your job security and advancement sucks. Everyone knows there are a bunch of eager college grads just waiting to replace them, and it makes for a very stressful environment. What's more, most of the companies you will work for, even the schools, will treat the native language teacher as a disposable resource, something they can easily replace. Loyalty is rare, and even if you have it, you still aren't likely to get ahead.

Now, there are insane people, like me, who are trying to make a career out of this. I used my time on JET to figure out my teaching, specifically in Japan. I've also managed to source a job in education and technology (My particular specialty), which will pay more than teaching would (and rightly so) which should give me a nice career for the next ten years or so. (Maybe more... who knows) I did know going into this that it wasn't going to be a career of wealth and power, and that was fine by me.


TLDR:
Yes, Money sucks
Yes, coworkers can often blow chunks. espcially non-educational bosses.
Yes, job security is shit because most places have no value for training/skills and will take any English speaking monkey.

starxrox
July 21st, 2015, 10:27
Let's start with this; JET has nothing to do with ESL teaching most of the time. It's probably the WORST example to use. Most of the ALT gigs are very light on ESL teaching, as they are still assistant jobs or jobs where the script is best. Beyond that, there are absolutely real ESL teaching jobs but the competition for those is quite fierce AND the job security is lacking in many places. Those real jobs have these things called raises, which actually mean you end up making more money in the end, and you get to go up a few levels before hitting the glass ceiling that is "not from the country you're teaching in".

Then you get to ESL jobs outside of Japan (in those fun places where sensible foreigners wouldn't even wet their... whistle...). Now you have slightly better pay for the area, but still lower than a job back home. You end up doing actual ESL teaching, which is great, but your job security and advancement sucks. Everyone knows there are a bunch of eager college grads just waiting to replace them, and it makes for a very stressful environment. What's more, most of the companies you will work for, even the schools, will treat the native language teacher as a disposable resource, something they can easily replace. Loyalty is rare, and even if you have it, you still aren't likely to get ahead.

Now, there are insane people, like me, who are trying to make a career out of this. I used my time on JET to figure out my teaching, specifically in Japan. I've also managed to source a job in education and technology (My particular specialty), which will pay more than teaching would (and rightly so) which should give me a nice career for the next ten years or so. (Maybe more... who knows) I did know going into this that it wasn't going to be a career of wealth and power, and that was fine by me.


TLDR:
Yes, Money sucks
Yes, coworkers can often blow chunks. espcially non-educational bosses.
Yes, job security is shit because most places have no value for training/skills and will take any English speaking monkey.

Wow! Thanks for writing all that.
I'm starting to get a broader understanding now.

In your opinion Gizmotech: do the positives out weigh the negatives?

Virgil
July 21st, 2015, 10:34
I want Gizmo's job.

Gizmotech
July 21st, 2015, 11:35
I want Gizmo's job.

Some lucky early departure next year will get it.

Gizmotech
July 21st, 2015, 12:10
Wow! Thanks for writing all that.
I'm starting to get a broader understanding now.

In your opinion Gizmotech: do the positives out weigh the negatives?

Sorry I forgot to reply to you. Umm, yes for the most part, but you need to live a relatively independant life. If you're the type of person who is constantly looking at the success (or failures) of your peers back home, or those around you, this is not the job for you. It will get VERY depressing when you're in your second or third year and your friends back home are getting married/starting families/going on vacations, and while you don't live at home, you aren't really travelling either. Living abroad is a very different experience from travelling, and even when living you will want to travel to (more so than your friends back home, as you MOVED ABROAD in the first place).

The unhappiest people I meet over here are the ones with strong ties to home. The happiest (and often slightly jaded) are those who are trying to build their life abroad, or just don't have those strong ties back.

If you're one of those independent, not heavily connected, can eat shit and give it to types, English teaching is for you. You will travel, see places, teach kids who may or may not want to be taught, meet all types, and have a real adventure. When you're 60, you'll be the interesting person at all the parties because you can talk about everything that noone else knows, but sadly you will be buming a 20 for cab fare back home cuz you're broke.

Virgil
July 21st, 2015, 12:13
If you're one of those independent, not heavily connected, can eat shit and give it to types, English teaching is for you. You will travel, see places, teach kids who may or may not want to be taught, meet all types, and have a real adventure. When you're 60, you'll be the interesting person at all the parties because you can talk about everything that noone else knows, but sadly you will be buming a 20 for cab fare back home cuz you're broke.

You just described the dream.

Although I plan to die early (and alone) of liver failure so if I make it to 60 I won't have much longer.

starxrox
July 21st, 2015, 12:22
Sorry I forgot to reply to you. Umm, yes for the most part, but you need to live a relatively independant life. If you're the type of person who is constantly looking at the success (or failures) of your peers back home, or those around you, this is not the job for you. It will get VERY depressing when you're in your second or third year and your friends back home are getting married/starting families/going on vacations, and while you don't live at home, you aren't really travelling either. Living abroad is a very different experience from travelling, and even when living you will want to travel to (more so than your friends back home, as you MOVED ABROAD in the first place).

The unhappiest people I meet over here are the ones with strong ties to home. The happiest (and often slightly jaded) are those who are trying to build their life abroad, or just don't have those strong ties back.

If you're one of those independent, not heavily connected, can eat shit and give it to types, English teaching is for you. You will travel, see places, teach kids who may or may not want to be taught, meet all types, and have a real adventure. When you're 60, you'll be the interesting person at all the parties because you can talk about everything that noone else knows, but sadly you will be buming a 20 for cab fare back home cuz you're broke.


Deep down, I think I knew all that. I appreciate the straight forward response. You highlighted a few things I suspected.

Geez, it's a bloody tough choice though. I feel like I need a few life times to do everything I want to.

I will still apply for JET and a South Korean counterpart if that falls through. I know I at least want to try. Not to mention the severe lack of teaching jobs in South Australia at the moment.

Thanks team for your advice.

BifCarbet
July 21st, 2015, 13:59
You just described the dream.

Although I plan to die early (and alone) of liver failure so if I make it to 60 I won't have much longer.

We'd have something to talk about.


I feel like I need a few life times to do everything I want to.

Well, you get one. I say pull the trigger, and never look back.