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Thread: Will my English education degree help?

  1. #1

    Default Will my English education degree help?

    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)?

  2. #2
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.

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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.

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

    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.
    ...because Japan.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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?
    Last edited by Atomic_Jukebox; February 25th, 2014 at 21:24.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    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.
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    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

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

    applying from abroad, no valid work visa, no experience? yeah....... good luck with that.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; February 26th, 2014 at 08:14.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    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.

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    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.

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    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.

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

    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.
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    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.

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

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

  15. #15

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    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

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    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    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.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; February 26th, 2014 at 09:46. Reason: be nice

  18. #18

    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic_Jukebox View Post
    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.

  19. #19
    Senior Moment Antonath'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.
    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.
    ...because Japan.

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    Default Re: Will my English education degree help?

    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.
    Last edited by AVN; February 26th, 2014 at 11:16.

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