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Thread: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

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    Default Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    I know this topic has come up in the past, but I'm curious about what your absolute best and absolute worst experience (with students, JTEs, govt, anything) as a JET was?

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    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Kind of a vague question. Do you mean specific to being a JET, or just something good and something bad that happened while on JET?

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    disobedient avocado Lianwen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Was told to GTFO school grounds, on a school day, because insurance didn't cover the school for me being there cause I had a BOE day I didn't know I was scheduled for. Was escorted to the gate of the school in the middle of winter (I actually don't remember why this bothered me now, but I'm pretty sure it was the weather) and waiting half an hour for someone from the BOE to pick my butt up.


    I've blocked out a lot of my time with babysitter-san, but I remember collapsing in the hospital and screaming that I didn't want that sh!t for brains near me and someone actually listening to me for once. Remember after being diagnosed with pneumonia, my supervisor still saying I had to work and the doctor's face as he said no I wasn't.

    Ooooh, or how my principal at one of my schools told me I wasn't invited to the welcome staff enkai because I was the ALT and was straight up not invited. Or how I had to deal with my pred being 'super pred' and even though he's been gone for 4 years now, his picture is still everywhere in my old visit schools.

    I didnt have a lot of good memories on JET. I enjoyed certain aspects, but I wouldn't do it again.
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    Kind of a vague question. Do you mean specific to being a JET, or just something good and something bad that happened while on JET?
    Yeah it was, my bad. I meant specific to being a JET, though while being a JET would be fine too if it was specific to living in Japan.
    Last edited by ThroneofBlood; May 22nd, 2016 at 04:44.

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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lianwen View Post
    Was told to GTFO school grounds, on a school day, because insurance didn't cover the school for me being there cause I had a BOE day I didn't know I was scheduled for. Was escorted to the gate of the school in the middle of winter (I actually don't remember why this bothered me now, but I'm pretty sure it was the weather) and waiting half an hour for someone from the BOE to pick my butt up.


    I've blocked out a lot of my time with babysitter-san, but I remember collapsing in the hospital and screaming that I didn't want that sh!t for brains near me and someone actually listening to me for once. Remember after being diagnosed with pneumonia, my supervisor still saying I had to work and the doctor's face as he said no I wasn't.

    Ooooh, or how my principal at one of my schools told me I wasn't invited to the welcome staff enkai because I was the ALT and was straight up not invited. Or how I had to deal with my pred being 'super pred' and even though he's been gone for 4 years now, his picture is still everywhere in my old visit schools.

    I didnt have a lot of good memories on JET. I enjoyed certain aspects, but I wouldn't do it again.
    All that does suck, especially the bit about pneumonia. At least your doctor stepped in. I can see why you wouldn't want to do JET again.

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    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThroneofBlood View Post
    Yeah it was, my bad. I meant specific to being a JET, though while being a JET would be fine too if it was specific to living in Japan.
    I didn't really have many highs or lows directly related to being a JET. It really was kind of boring. I guess worst thing was Saitama BoE drastically reducing the number of JET ALTs after my 3rd year and not getting recontracted because my school was one of the many schools that had their JET position axed. But in retrospect that was a good thing because every school I've taught at since then has been a far better experience in every way, so getting out of that soul crushing school was good for me.
    Best... I don't know. They were very helpful in getting everything set up, so that's cool, I guess.

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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    I didn't really have many highs or lows directly related to being a JET. It really was kind of boring. I guess worst thing was Saitama BoE drastically reducing the number of JET ALTs after my 3rd year and not getting recontracted because my school was one of the many schools that had their JET position axed. But in retrospect that was a good thing because every school I've taught at since then has been a far better experience in every way, so getting out of that soul crushing school was good for me.
    Best... I don't know. They were very helpful in getting everything set up, so that's cool, I guess.
    Oh, this was probably back when they were reducing positions on the programme (and before they reduced the salary!). Boring? Despite being so close to Tokyo? I guess Saitama really does deserve its reputation.

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    Senior Member Fantasylife's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lianwen View Post
    Was told to GTFO school grounds, on a school day, because insurance didn't cover the school for me being there cause I had a BOE day I didn't know I was scheduled for. Was escorted to the gate of the school in the middle of winter (I actually don't remember why this bothered me now, but I'm pretty sure it was the weather) and waiting half an hour for someone from the BOE to pick my butt up.


    I've blocked out a lot of my time with babysitter-san, but I remember collapsing in the hospital and screaming that I didn't want that sh!t for brains near me and someone actually listening to me for once. Remember after being diagnosed with pneumonia, my supervisor still saying I had to work and the doctor's face as he said no I wasn't.

    Ooooh, or how my principal at one of my schools told me I wasn't invited to the welcome staff enkai because I was the ALT and was straight up not invited. Or how I had to deal with my pred being 'super pred' and even though he's been gone for 4 years now, his picture is still everywhere in my old visit schools.

    I didnt have a lot of good memories on JET. I enjoyed certain aspects, but I wouldn't do it again.
    damn, that's terrible. How long did you stay on JET?
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    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThroneofBlood View Post
    Oh, this was probably back when they were reducing positions on the programme (and before they reduced the salary!). Boring? Despite being so close to Tokyo? I guess Saitama really does deserve its reputation.
    Boring because it's so close to Tokyo. Everyone goes into Tokyo for fun, so unless you're the kind of person who wants to take the train into Tokyo everyday, not much to do.
    But since JET I've gotten into the craft beer scene here and that's been cool, and Saitama is actually pretty good for beer drinkers, but didn't find that until after JET. During JET I mainly was drinking vodka straight while playing video games.

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    Crustacean Sensation Ebi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Honestly, I can't think of many low moments that were related to JET or the job itself. But I did have one instance early on where I let myself get very bitter about my circumstances.

    I was sitting at my desk wearing my nice business clothes, sweating to death in the summer humidity, in a staffroom that was mostly empty because it was the Obon holidays so neither of my JTEs were around. I was feeling miserable and lonely, but I was too timid to do anything about it. At the time my Japanese was so poor that I could only talk like a caveman and understand snippets of conversations. At one point a few coworkers said "American" as they chatted and then laughed. In my self-made paranoia I felt like they were making fun of me. I guess I expected a warmer welcome and at least some guidance as to what I should be doing with my spare time. I was so afraid of making a bad first impression that I didn't even use the internet on my computer.

    Thankfully someone finally did come to my rescue. A very kind woman, the home ec teacher, came by and asked if I wanted to go attend a special summer class that some students were having. I didn't really understand, but anything was better than stewing in resentment, so I went. The room was so much cooler, which immediately lifted my mood. I did my best to follow the lesson (it was about stranger danger which I gathered should be solved by running away and yelling). The home ec teacher and a science teacher engaged me in simple conversation and I was introduced to some students, too. Home ec teacher told me I didn't have to sit at my desk and should wander around and chat with staff and students whenever. She basically laughed at me for being so serious and told me to relax because it's summer and no one cares what you do.

    I'm so glad someone shook the stupid out of me. It seems obvious now that I should have reached out to other people instead of waiting for them to approach the weird foreigner who was silently seething at her desk. And ever since then I've become very proactive about getting the information and help I needed instead of waiting for someone to tell me. I've mostly had good or uneventful days since then.

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    Senior Member n107's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Actually, all of my truly "bad" days in Japan came after JET. Of course I had better days than others while a JET but nothing too terrible and as I think about it in hindsight, no big incidents come to mind.

    If I had to choose something, I'd say the worst thing that happened was shortly after I arrived at my placement. It was probably my second day at work in August. My JTE/supervisor said she would take me to the preschool for introductions and I'd stay there for an hour in the morning. She dropped me off and I had tea and met the teachers. Then they showed me into the large hall, led in a group of 0-4 year old children and told me to start my 50 minute lesson. Did not see that coming.

    There are too many great memories about my time as a JET and I think the best part was *knowing* I was living in some of the best years of my life. It let me appreciate them so much more while experiencing them rather than looking back years later and realizing they were the best.

    However, if I chose one good thing it would be becoming friends with one of the other ALTs who arrived in my group. I talked to him on the flight from Tokyo to our prefecture and he didn't seem like the type I'd hang out with. Plus our placements were quite a distance from each other so I figured we wouldn't see each other much. But at that time, and during the orientation meetings, he always told everyone to drop him a line if we came to the city and he'd show us around.

    Fast forward about 8 months. I had recently broken up with me girlfriend and, combined with culture shock, was having a rough time. I took a train to the city one weekend and was wandering around aimlessly and bored. Then I remembered that ALT and sent him a quick message asking if he was free to meet up. As it turned out, he was free and within 30 minutes we'd found each other. We grabbed lunch at a cafe he recommended and we got to talking. It so happened that we had a lot more in common than I thought. He became the best friend I've made in Japan and I owe a lot of the insane adventures I've had in this country to him and his off the wall ideas.

    There. That's all I got.

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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by n107 View Post
    Dear Penthouse,

    I talked to him on the flight from Tokyo to our prefecture and he didn't seem like the type I'd hang out with. Plus our placements were quite a distance from each other so I figured we wouldn't see each other much. But at that time, and during the orientation meetings, he always told everyone to drop him a line if we came to the city and he'd show us around.

    Fast forward about 8 months. I had recently broken up with me girlfriend and, combined with culture shock, was having a rough time. I took a train to the city one weekend and was wandering around aimlessly and bored. Then I remembered that ALT and sent him a quick message asking if he was free to meet up. As it turned out, he was free and within 30 minutes we'd found each other. We grabbed lunch at a cafe he recommended and we got to talking. It so happened that we had a lot more in common than I thought. He became the best friend I've made in Japan and I owe a lot of the insane adventures I've had in this country to him and his off the wall ideas.
    how romantic
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    Senior Member n107's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    how romantic
    Love is beautiful.

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    disobedient avocado Lianwen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fantasylife View Post
    damn, that's terrible. How long did you stay on JET?
    3 years. Tried to leave after my first year, but that was such a mess. I've mentally blocked out a lot of my JET experiences because a lot of it was bad. There were some highlights and things I truly enjoyed (onsens, day trips, etc with some close fellow JETs), but my BOE was very poor, and it didn't help that what money they did have, they squandered. For example, every week, out of the 12 schools in our town (6 each, for me and another ALT), they decided that rather than send us to the schools we could easily reach by walking/biking/PT, they were going to pay for a taxi. Between myself and the other ALT, we spent 2万円 on taxis every week. On my Tuesday's, I easily dropped 5000円 on the taxi ride. The kicker - that school could be reached by bus for 100yen.

    Dont even get me started on our smartboards - each school had a brand new shiny smartboards installed, with the sh!ttiest computers hooked up to them. How we had the money for that but not for other things amazes me.

    One nice thing I enjoyed was the PTA. Every so often I got paraded out for them and I usually got to wear a nice kimono etc when they did that. Then the PTA would take their picture with me and I'd get fawned over and given snacks. I didn't mind that. And one of my schools was a super science ES, and they loved me and I often got special privileges and invites from that school and I got to do a lot of bits and bobs with the Australian sister school of the ES, which included helping translate science things.

    The other schools weren't so bad, but there were two I hated especially in my last year all the time - my two JHS sucked. One was forever stuck in the past and the JTE couldn't speak English and we did the same activity for every class and for every grade. It was horrible. The other put me in a classroom with a North Korea loving special needs student and I felt uncomfortable every time they did so and the vice principal (who was one of the JTEs) went out of way to say cruel things in such a passive-aggressive English way I would be close to tears some days.
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    Looking for some chaw acpc2203's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Anyone else have feral kids at their elementaries? Mine has a couple that are allowed to do whatever they want and just wander around yelling.

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    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Don't teach elementary school, but have kids like that in jhs.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    I don't, and I can't imagine. Having no recourse to remove disruptive students is bad enough when they won't shut up, I don't know how teachers at worse schools than mine can even conduct classes.

    I suppose that's what bullying is for.

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    Looking for some chaw acpc2203's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Well they don't really have classes.

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    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Quote Originally Posted by acpc2203 View Post
    Anyone else have feral kids at their elementaries? Mine has a couple that are allowed to do whatever they want and just wander around yelling.
    I saw one of my HRTs kick an unruly kid (not hard enough to injure him though). The teachers are currently plotting to have him shipped away to a different school off the island. I am genuinely frightened to know what he's done to necessitate these measures.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Current & Former JETs - Your best and worst experience as a JET?

    Some kids need the occasional kick if you ask me.

    When I first started my PGCE, my first school had a boy in Year 1 (so 4/5 years old) and he was insane. He had a full-time one-to-one teaching assistant and he used to attack her. One time, he bit her arm so hard it almost broke the skin. I asked what will happen (after he bit her) and they said a week suspension. I was like "um, why not expulsion?" Anyway, it turns out, (idk if this is national or just this particularly school), but a child can bite someone up to 15 times before they're excluded. Like, where did they get 15 from? Why is that the amount?
    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    It could happen. 1/100.

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