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Thread: Will my English education degree help?

  1. #21
    Senior Member Kdes23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.
    Last edited by Atomic_Jukebox; February 26th, 2014 at 11:32.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Kdes23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Kdes23; February 26th, 2014 at 11:42.

  4. #24
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kdes23 View Post
    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.
    ...because Japan.

  5. #25
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    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...)
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  6. #26
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kdes23 View Post
    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.

  7. #27
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kdes23 View Post
    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
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  8. #28
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    well with all respect what you dont know could fill a warehouse
    Perhaps a more diplomatic/detailed response would be appreciated ...

  9. #29
    Senior Member Kdes23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.
    Last edited by Kdes23; February 26th, 2014 at 13:14.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kdes23 View Post
    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.

  11. #31
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Some people have been drinking the CLAIR kool-aid....
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  12. #32
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    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.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; February 26th, 2014 at 13:17.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    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.
    Last edited by AVN; February 26th, 2014 at 13:38.

  14. #34
    Senior Member par92186's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    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.^

  15. #35
    Senior Member par92186's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    . 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.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    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.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by HorseFeathers View Post
    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.

  18. #38
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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?
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shincantsen View Post
    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.

  20. #40
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.
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