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Thread: Post your SOPs here:

  1. #1
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    Default Post your SOPs here:

    If you want peer review from other applicants and/or current JETs, post your SOPs here. You can, of course, always just PM someone...but you may find it helpful to poll a larger group of possible reviewers.

    While there have been threads like this in the past, there wasn't one that I could see for 2009 applicants.

    Please remember to remove any personal information if you are concerned about privacy, and just replace it with XXXXXXXX.
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    Senior Member frankdux's Avatar
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    Looks like nobody's biting. You're on your own.

    Nice try, though.
    Official Mystical Gatekeeper of the JET experience

  3. #3
    Senior Member frostkaiser's Avatar
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    I know this thread is for current applicants, but here is an idea of what they (may) be looking for. I was shortlisted, so here's mine from last year.

    I have been interested in Japan since I was a child, but it wasn't until last year that I decided I wanted to actually go there. Through my Japanese course I learned of the JET Program and knew I had to apply for it. It sounded perfect. Although I had never given any thought to teaching English abroad, I found the idea of leaving halfway around the world to teach my own language to young people fascinating. I had spent over a year in Germany already and had absolutely loved my experience living abroad, and I knew that Japan, while different, would be equally as fascinating a country and would afford me an equally rewarding experience.
    Thus I applied applied to the JET Program last year, and though I wasn't offered an interview, I decided to put my full efforts towards finding someway to fulfill my goal of going to Japan. I soon realized that my initial experience with JET was a blessing in disguise: my rejection allowed me to take another semester and my university, enroll in a CELTA (English teacher training) course in Denver, and best of all, have the summer of a lifetime, house-sitting on Awaji Island in Japan. The CELTA course I took in Denver allowed me to grow as a teacher and while it was grueling, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and showed me that teaching English abroad could be an amazing career.
    Soon after the course ended I left for Japan, and while there, I was exposed to a wonderful and unexpected world beyond anything I could have imagined. When I wasn't feeding animals, weathering typhoons or learning how to send mail at the post office, I was meeting lots of new people, including other JET English teachers. I have since become very interested in both the Japanese school system and the role of foreign English teachers in Japan. And after having experienced life in Japan for two months, I feel strongly that it is a place that I would love to spend the next few years of my life as an English teacher.
    Since returning from Japan, I have continued to actively seek out experiences in cross-cultural teaching and study. Being a part of my university's international ambassador program, where I help international students adjust to life in the United States, has been incredibly rewarding. I have continued to be very active in my University's German club, and recently joined an Asian-Hawaiian group on campus. Yet as graduation nears, I am thinking more and more about my post-college life. I want to be involved with international relations in some way in the future, and being able to teach in Japan through the JET Program would be the first step in that direction, being of great benefit to me both personally and professionally. More importantly however, the experience and qualities I would bring with me to the program would benefit both my students and my school in many ways. I've spent a good deal of time abroad and have worked both at home and abroad with people from around the world, and have learned how to foster understanding with people when language is a barrier. My consistent tutoring over the years in German, English and piano, as well as my formal CELTA and university teacher training have given me a solid foundation for educating others. And most of all, I have learned that flexibility and patience are essential qualities to have both in the workplace and in life.
    Most people I know say I am an overly optimistic extrovert, and I absolutely agree. Every wonderful experience I have ever had has come about because of my open-mindedness, hard work, and optimism. Yet as generic as it may sound, I think nothing could be more true. I have found a great way to live my life, and as an English teacher in Japan, I would do my best to bring that kind of positive attitude into both the classroom and into the lives of those around me. And while I understand that we may not be able to entirely change the way the way the Japanese see the world, I think as foreign English teachers, we can help foster and partake in a learning and life experience that goes in both directions. I believe that new experiences are the spice of life, and if I can simply be myself and give my all to teaching my language and culture, the kind of growth I want to see, both in myself and those around me, will take shape.
    Last edited by frostkaiser; October 18th, 2009 at 08:17.
    "...it was like nothing I'd ever seen. I mean he didn't stand a chance. Against that kind of post count? Those kind of numbers command respect. They beat those with lower post counts into weeping submission. Fuck David and Goliath, watching it go down was honestly scary. It was like watching a 7 foot body builder walk into a maternity ward with a nuclear bomb strapped to his chest..."

  4. #4
    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    Hmm perhaps some of us older hacks could offer some more general advice in the meantime while you lot (wo)man up enough to post your SOPs. Based on the many SOPs I've read for noobs over the years Uncle Dom suggests:

    - Keep sentences short. Some of you lot crap on ad nauseum. Make every word count and make your sentences punchy.
    - Quotes are ugly. This is about you, not about Simon Bolivar or Martin Luther.
    - Keep wank to a minimum. As a guide, anything that attempts to appeal to the reader's emotion will not make them cry, it will make them think you are a wanker. No talk then about childhood dreams, starving Africans, giving your granny a big hug, nothing like that. Keep it professional.
    - Keep it optimistic. But keep the above in mind. You want to sound ambitious, not like a blubbering mess. 'Bubbly' is all wrong too. You're trying to impress cold-hearted Japanese people, not going for a job in HR, PR, marketing or any other euphamism for 'sales'.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    Agree with Dombay. I think leaning towards professional and to the point will help a lot. Just tell them clearly and simply what makes you a good candidate. You don't need to make up shit to sound "unique."

    And quotes?? Christ I had that kind of cheesy stuff beaten out of me by the end of junior high school.

  6. #6

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    Last edited by Miniver; November 18th, 2009 at 15:36.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mayday's Avatar
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    Miniver, I'm going to be blunt.

    I read your first paragraph and absolutely can't go any further than that. Please read dombay's first point and take it to heart because that first paragraph is riddled with jargon and flowery language (the second sentence is particularly...painful). This isn't a contest to see who can use their thesaurus the best or who can create the most complex sentences. Be concise and don't use 50 words where 15 will do.

    Some good advice I've heard is to keep in mind that you'll be teaching children, and use this as an opportunity to show that you can express yourself clearly enough to be understood by children (and other non-native speakers). Make it easy for the person who reads your essay to understand exactly what you mean.

  8. #8
    Senior Member puzzlepiece's Avatar
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    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    I disagree. I asked about creative/interesting SOP at the Chicago based information session. I was told it was a good idea to set yourself apart. I wasn't outrageous or immature, but I spent a significant amount of time deciding how I could have a unique and memorable approach to presenting myself structurally and intellectually.

    All the ones that I've read online have seemed a bit dull and lifeless. Past your twenties, you should be able to write with style and voice.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    Mayday, it's not a perfect application but I'm gonna say it's at least well written and fairly concise.
    Quote Originally Posted by tenderRondo View Post
    I always wanted to play black flag football, but there were never enough minorities.

  10. #10

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    Last edited by Miniver; November 18th, 2009 at 15:37.

  11. #11
    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    I agree with Mayday to the extent that (1) lists are annoying (2) they rarely lend themselves well to a logical structure (3) they don't flow (4) they're ugly (5) they can be difficult to follow when you're eyes are about to fall out after reading Re Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs; ex parte Lam (2003) 214 CLR 1 for the last little while like I have. The readers of your SOP will instead have been reading SOPs and not admin law cases of course.

    However other than that I liked your conciseness, obvious ambition and considered approach.
    Melanie: back!

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    I agree with dombay, the list is a bit over the top.
    Quote Originally Posted by tenderRondo View Post
    I always wanted to play black flag football, but there were never enough minorities.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    Last edited by Miniver; November 18th, 2009 at 15:37.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    i wanted to see the list...

  15. #15

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    Well here is mine, I hope you all like it. It does seem a bit "mushy" emotion wise, but I like it. Please feel free to be as critical as you want, and thank you for all the help. I tried wrapping the prompt questions into the body, rather than explicitly answering them, hope it works

    Statement of Purpose
    When I was eight years old I studied Japanese jiu-jitsu. Working tirelessly at the discipline, I was fortunate enough to be invited to my Sensei's house to have a welcome dinner for his Master and daughter who were visiting from Japan. Upon my arrival the Master's daughter was playing in the backyard, I approached and introduced myself, and was greeted with a string of words that had no meaning to me. Puzzled by our inability to understand each other we immediately began translating every object we saw. We continued this activity until dinner was ready. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she clapped her hands and shouted "itadakimasu!", then looked to me expectantly. Slowly I put my hands together and mumbled "itadahimash". She giggled, took a bite of hot dog, then smiled at me, and so began my lifelong fascination with Japan. Because of this interest in Japanese culture and my career goals involving education, I believe I would make a welcome addition to the JET program. Through helping to teach English to the Japanese students, I would be an instructor that helps promote cross cultural understandings during this period of ever increasing globalization.

    During my jiu-jitsu practice I studied the martial arts and ancient military history of Japan. However, as I entered high school I began studying, in depth, Japanese culture during my leisure. At this time I acquired the book Japan's High Schools, by Thomas P. Rohlen, which created a tremendous impact on my life. The students that the author studied captivated my attention, their tireless work and grueling desire to succeed gave me the drive to work even harder at my own studies. So I continued on, receiving an 'A+' average and an acceptance to college. At the University of Colorado I immediately signed up for any Japanese class I could fit into my schedule, enjoying every minute of my studies.

    In the future I hope to become a social studies teacher for secondary education. During college I was able to experience this first hand when I volunteered at a local game store, teaching children aged twelve to seventeen how to play a miniatures table-top game. What originally began as instructing rules, strategy, and painting techniques soon turned into tutoring during downtime. The kids would approach me asking for help on an upcoming exam, or needing assistance with a difficult paper. On numerous occasions I would be handed a piece of candy by the kids as a gift for helping them to receive a high grade on their tests. By participating in the JET program I would be gaining experience and insight into a career that aims to help nurture youth, by helping them to become the best individuals they can be.

    Although I am excited about the prospect of teaching English, I also understand that JET means "Japan Exchange and Teaching." By utilizing my anthropology degree I am aptly suited to this task. I would act as an ambassador for the United States, and the JET program, by helping to foster the Japanese people's cultural understanding. Through being involved in school club activities and participating in local events, I would help to paint a picture of America that could be looked upon favorably.

    I am a reliable, hardworking, and highly educated individual with strong interpersonal skills who seeks not only to enrich my own life, but more importantly, I wish to help enrich the lives of the students. By being accepted to the JET program I would not only be fulfilling a childhood dream of immersing myself in Japanese culture, but also furthering my intent to become an educator. Through my teaching I could help impact many Japanese students, instilling upon them the same curiosity that the Master's daughter did for me those many years ago.
    Last edited by rhoadesd20; October 19th, 2009 at 05:40.

  16. #16
    Resident ewok wicket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Post your SOPs here:

    miniver - thank you. your SoP had a clear structure and concrete examples; as well as stating both what you can offer to the programme and what you hope to gain from participating in it.

    rhoadesd20 - please get rid of the smaltzy 8-year-old kid anecdote, or at least sum it up in a sentence or two rather than a whole paragraph. with that kind of word limit you don't have room to crap on.
    "Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning."
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  17. #17

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    Last edited by Miniver; November 18th, 2009 at 15:37.

  18. #18

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    Thanks for the comments Miniver and wicket. A lot of people said they have liked my intro, that it made me stand out, but I do agree it is a little childish. The problem I am having is shortening it down so that if flows, as I don't really want to take it out completely. Would such an anecdote be looked upon unfavorably when they read my SoP?

    Thanks again!
    Cheers

  19. #19
    Senior Member frostkaiser's Avatar
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    Also, to a few of the people who have posted their SOPs so far---talk more about how you specifically will benefit your students/community in Japan instead of talking about how JET will fit into your larger career goals. Everyone realizes that JET isn't supposed to be a lifelong job but it's unprofessional on paper go on and on about how JET will be a spring board for future career goals, unless you are planning on being an English teacher. So, essentially, tell not what you JET can do for you, tell what you can do for JET.
    Last edited by frostkaiser; October 19th, 2009 at 07:56.
    "...it was like nothing I'd ever seen. I mean he didn't stand a chance. Against that kind of post count? Those kind of numbers command respect. They beat those with lower post counts into weeping submission. Fuck David and Goliath, watching it go down was honestly scary. It was like watching a 7 foot body builder walk into a maternity ward with a nuclear bomb strapped to his chest..."

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhoadesd20 View Post
    Thanks for the comments Miniver and wicket. A lot of people said they have liked my intro, that it made me stand out, but I do agree it is a little childish. The problem I am having is shortening it down so that if flows, as I don't really want to take it out completely. Would such an anecdote be looked upon unfavorably when they read my SoP?

    Thanks again!
    Cheers
    I don't think you need that paragraph at all. I agree with Wicket. Maybe a sentence or two. "I have been interested in Japanese culture since I was 8 years old when I practed jiu-jitsu." Simple! The rest of the paragraph doesn't really do much to explain why you're interested in the program or what you could bring to it.

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