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Thread: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

  1. #1

    Default Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    I'm in the boat with the people who are starting the JET Program with zero teaching experience. I'm curious as to how people generally prepare themselves for the JET Program prior to arriving in Japan.
    I'm aware that we should be prepared to give a self-introduction, and in some cases a 50-minute self-introduction lesson. I also realize that we should bring some items from our home country to use as teaching material. (btw, if someone can give me some recommendations on what I should bring as a teaching resource, it will be much appreciated. I just moved across country about a few months ago, so I don't think "local" items will do me any good in representing myself)

    However, what else do JETs generally do in order to prepare themselves for working as an ALT? Are we expected to know how to create and implement lesson plans right off the bat? Or are we given time to observe the class for awhile first before we have to start preparing our own lessons? In general, what is the work like for an ALT? Do we have to prepare for the next day's lessons every night, or does the JTE usually just prepare all the lessons themselves and just preps the ALT about the lessons the morning of? ESID, I know, but it seems to me that a lot of JETs are saying that all ALTs have to do is show up to school and do whatever the JTE tells them to do that day. Is this really true?

    Above all, can you also tell me what you did in order to prepare for the JET program and what your first few weeks were like?

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by JPNLKatie; June 22nd, 2016 at 06:33.

  2. #2
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Will you be teaching SHS, JHS, ES or JHS/ES?
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Will you be teaching SHS, JHS, ES or JHS/ES?
    I haven't been told what schools I'll be working at. I don't have an actual predecessor, so they are still deciding which school(s) they'll have me work in.

    Could be anything. I requested Elementary, but could be either elementary or junior high (or both). I'm a municipal JET, by the way.
    Last edited by JPNLKatie; June 22nd, 2016 at 07:51.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    This seems like a question that's better to ask your pred. You say ESID yourself, so I don't really need to.

    For me, a high school JET, I was just thrown in. But I had some teaching training beforehand. Also, I say thrown in, but I arrived at the beginning of August and school doesn't start until September. So it's not like I didn't have time to bounce some ideas off teachers.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    This seems like a question that's better to ask your pred. You say ESID yourself, so I don't really need to.

    For me, a high school JET, I was just thrown in. But I had some teaching training beforehand. Also, I say thrown in, but I arrived at the beginning of August and school doesn't start until September. So it's not like I didn't have time to bounce some ideas off teachers.
    I don't have a predecessor in which to ask these questions. So I had to turn to asking on this forum.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Yeah, I started posting before you had added that information.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    Yeah, I started posting before you had added that information.
    Alright. So you said your situation was pretty much just a throw in? Could you tell me a little bit about what your daily life was life and what you were expected to prepare during your first month of work? If it's not too much trouble.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    I don't have a predecessor in which to ask these questions. So I had to turn to asking on this forum.
    So little will be expected of you that I wouldn't sweat it. Just turn up on time, print off a few worksheets from the internet if you're asked to prepare anything, and don't get in anyone's way.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    So little will be expected of you that I wouldn't sweat it. Just turn up on time, print off a few worksheets from the internet if you're asked to prepare anything, and don't get in anyone's way.
    hmm. Will I have access to the school's printer or will I need to buy one?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    hmm. Will I have access to the school's printer or will I need to buy one?
    Yes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    Yes.
    yes to which one? Using the schools printer, or having to buy one?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Don't worry too much about the "introductory lesson" stuff. You'll have a month to prepare for it once your on the ground in Japan, if you need to do one. Arrival is in the middle of summer vacation.

    I'd recommend bringing stuff that you'd only use for an introductory lesson anyways. Pictures of your hometown will probably be more than sufficient.

    How JTEs work with ALTs is up to pretty much each and every JTE and school. You'll have to wait and be "surprised" by how every every school and every teacher is different. Some JTEs (at JHS and SHS level) will want you to prep stuff, either a teaching plan, goals-oriented curriculum statement, or just a worksheet or activity. Others will want you to be there as a human CD-player for the 5 minutes when they aren't trying to explain the grammar in Japanese. Some ES teachers will want you to plan, prepare, and run the entire lesson with them sitting in the back. Others will be up there with you leading a lesson they planned with you in mind that makes perfect use of the time available and is right on topic. If you haven't heard it already "ESID."

    Although I've heard some horror stories from a Nagahama ES ALT (in terms of Japanese teachers/school organization.) But you only hear/remember the negative, so I wouldn't take it to heart.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    yes to which one? Using the schools printer, or having to buy one?
    Maybe both?

    You'll probably be able to use the school's, but some BoEs strictly regulate printing because of budget issues, so if you want high quality for flash cards, etc, you may need your own.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    But what if we reverse the polarity of the quantum string theory? According to uncertainty principle there are infinite worlds out there, so it stands to reason schrodinger's cat is alive in one of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo87;
    U da real mvp.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    Don't worry too much about the "introductory lesson" stuff. You'll have a month to prepare for it once your on the ground in Japan, if you need to do one. Arrival is in the middle of summer vacation.

    I'd recommend bringing stuff that you'd only use for an introductory lesson anyways. Pictures of your hometown will probably be more than sufficient.

    How JTEs work with ALTs is up to pretty much each and every JTE and school. You'll have to wait and be "surprised" by how every every school and every teacher is different. Some JTEs (at JHS and SHS level) will want you to prep stuff, either a teaching plan, goals-oriented curriculum statement, or just a worksheet or activity. Others will want you to be there as a human CD-player for the 5 minutes when they aren't trying to explain the grammar in Japanese. Some ES teachers will want you to plan, prepare, and run the entire lesson with them sitting in the back. Others will be up there with you leading a lesson they planned with you in mind that makes perfect use of the time available and is right on topic. If you haven't heard it already "ESID."

    Although I've heard some horror stories from a Nagahama ES ALT (in terms of Japanese teachers/school organization.) But you only hear/remember the negative, so I wouldn't take it to heart.
    Oh? I didn't know we arrived during summer vacation. I thought I'd arrive in my city and then the next day I would be expected to go to class. What do ALTs do then during that time before school starts? Other than preparing the lesson introduction, of course.

    Also, horror stories from a Nagahama JET?! My placement is Nagahama, and most likely I'll be working in an elementary school. Umm, what kind of horror stories are these? Is it something I could possibly prepare myself for? I'm insanely curious.
    Last edited by JPNLKatie; June 22nd, 2016 at 08:40.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    Oh? I didn't know we arrived during summer vacation. I thought I'd arrive in my city and then the next day I would be expected to go to work. What do ALTs do then during that time before school starts? Other than preparing the lesson introduction, of course.
    You do go to work. You just don't teach.

    Most ALTs start posting vlogs and wanking FB posts during that period.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    But what if we reverse the polarity of the quantum string theory? According to uncertainty principle there are infinite worlds out there, so it stands to reason schrodinger's cat is alive in one of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo87;
    U da real mvp.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    You do go to work. You just don't teach.

    Most ALTs start posting vlogs and wanking FB posts during that period.
    Sorry, "work" was the wrong word. I meant "class", but you posted before I could fix it.

    So, ALTs go to work but don't really have anything to do? I'd at least hope I can use that time to get to know my JTE(s), and talk to them about what I'll be doing or the like. And I'm not really a vlog or FB person, but I guess I should learn to make a blog or something. But honestly, I'd probably only update it once a month. lol

    I'd rather use that time to be more productive (Probably study Japanese if I have nothing else to do). Are you a current/past JET? How did you usually spend your time during this period?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Studying is fine, and you can also burn vacation time if you like.

    If you're ES, I don't think you have true JTEs to get to know. you have homeroom teachers, but I'm not an ES ALT so can't say for sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    But what if we reverse the polarity of the quantum string theory? According to uncertainty principle there are infinite worlds out there, so it stands to reason schrodinger's cat is alive in one of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo87;
    U da real mvp.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    Oh? I didn't know we arrived during summer vacation. I thought I'd arrive in my city and then the next day I would be expected to go to class. What do ALTs do then during that time before school starts? Other than preparing the lesson introduction, of course.

    Also, horror stories from a Nagahama JET?! My placement is Nagahama, and most likely I'll be working in an elementary school. Umm, what kind of horror stories are these? Is it something I could possibly prepare myself for? I'm insanely curious.
    You'll be expected to work quietly (appear busy) in whatever staffroom you are put in. What you actually do is up to you and what you need to get done. If you're in a JHS, talk to the JTEs, look at the school's yearly schedule to find out when events are, familiarize yourself with the textbooks and curriculum etc. If you're in an ES, you'll probably do a bit of the same, but there aren't specialized English teachers - each homeroom teacher (HRT) is responsible for English like most other classes (except that you're there to team teach with them.)

    Some simple goals would be: Get a copy of the school map and learn your way around - you might want to do the same with a town map to learn what shops are where (and what restaurants etc.) Get a copy of the school's yearly calendar and figure out what major school events (sports day, school/class trips, chorus contest, culture day, PTA participation days) fall when. See if you can meet with the JTEs or the head teacher for English and see if you can set up a weekly or monthly schedule (to make everything easier - they already might have one set up.) If you have an English bulletin board, you'll probably want to create something for that and something for your introduction (even if it isn't a full lesson.)

    As far as horror stories go, it's mostly the same as anywhere: classes get changed and the ALT doesn't realize it or isn't notified, HRT/JTE doesn't want to use ALT in class, so they end up wasting time and the students don't learn anything, etc. I went back and looked at the ALT's feed and it's actually mostly positive. I just brush over the "cute kids actually like me" kind of message - only the bad ones stick in the mind. Although, I'd suggest asking them about the town or the area - or even the schools if they've been to the one(s) you'll be working at.
    Last edited by webstaa; June 22nd, 2016 at 09:40. Reason: Hit submit too early.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by JPNLKatie View Post
    So, ALTs go to work but don't really have anything to do?
    It's so cute watching them grow up, isn't it?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Preparing for the JET Program Prior to Departure

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    You'll be expected to work quietly (appear busy) in whatever staffroom you are put in. What you actually do is up to you and what you need to get done. If you're in a JHS, talk to the JTEs, look at the school's yearly schedule to find out when events are, familiarize yourself with the textbooks and curriculum etc. If you're in an ES, you'll probably do a bit of the same, but there aren't specialized English teachers - each homeroom teacher (HRT) is responsible for English like most other classes (except that you're there to team teach with them.)

    Some simple goals would be: Get a copy of the school map and learn your way around - you might want to do the same with a town map to learn what shops are where (and what restaurants etc.) Get a copy of the school's yearly calendar and figure out what major school events (sports day, school/class trips, chorus contest, culture day, PTA participation days) fall when. See if you can meet with the JTEs or the head teacher for English and see if you can set up a weekly or monthly schedule (to make everything easier - they already might have one set up.) If you have an English bulletin board, you'll probably want to create something for that and something for your introduction (even if it isn't a full lesson.)

    As far as horror stories go, it's mostly the same as anywhere: classes get changed and the ALT doesn't realize it or isn't notified, HRT/JTE doesn't want to use ALT in class, so they end up wasting time and the students don't learn anything, etc. I went back and looked at the ALT's feed and it's actually mostly positive. I just brush over the "cute kids actually like me" kind of message - only the bad ones stick in the mind. Although, I'd suggest asking them about the town or the area - or even the schools if they've been to the one(s) you'll be working at.
    Wow, this was very informational and very helpful! Thank you so much webstaa! Could you give me a link to this person's blog? Since they are from Nagahama, which is my placement, it will probably be very helpful for me.

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