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Thread: Should I even bother?

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    Member aidee's Avatar
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    Default Should I even bother?

    English major that I am, I am confident that I can spin what little intercultural and teaching experience I have into more than a blip on my record. However, I am not sure how much of a detriment my lack of international experience (don't even have a passport), limited study of Japanese language and culture (not a single class about it on my record), and lack of classroom teaching experience will be to my application.

    I am considering teaching English as a foreign/second language as a career. I do not yet have the certification. The CELTA is full-time for a month; between school and job-that-pays-rent I haven't had a chance to acquire it. There is a SMALL possibility I could do it in the weeks this summer prior to the Group B departure date, but obviously that's both cutting it close AND hard to substantiate on the application.

    Would I be wasting my time and that of my letter-writers if I applied? I'm interested to hear some personal stories.

  2. #2

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    You don't need to have any experience in Japanese. Some people say it's better the less you know (to an extent) as long as you're willing to learn and have an interest in the culture.

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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    What Eira said. There is even a part of the acceptance thing for people without passports, telling them to get all the stuff in as soon as possible.

    9 people flew out of my city. Of the them, 2 of them had never been abroad at all, and 5 of them spoke absolutely no Japanese. You are fine. Even with no teaching experience you would be okay, but if you have a little you are golden. Good luck.

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    Backwater Blonde Rachel1404's Avatar
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    Hey although a CELTA course may prove necessary for a full-on career in TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) I don't think it will be essential for JET.
    From what I've read on it many people recommend holding off doing a course like CELTA until you've spent some time teaching abroad and know its definitely what you want to do as a career because it is so expensive (a good £4,000 in the UK I think).
    If you are worried about having no teaching experience/qualification you could do a shorter (and cheaper) online course I'm part way through doing one with a company called i-to-i that is pretty good. It's 100hours and includes a 20hr weekend course, 40hr online course, 20hr grammar module, and 4 x 5hr specialist certificates on things like teaching large classes, one on one etc. Not sure if thats the kind of thing you are after but here's the link: http://www.i-to-i.com/tefl/weekend-tefl/
    You definitely won't be wasting anyones time by applying! Go for it I say and if experience lacks make up for it with enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

  5. #5
    Member aidee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eira View Post
    You don't need to have any experience in Japanese. Some people say it's better the less you know (to an extent) as long as you're willing to learn and have an interest in the culture.
    I had heard this, but I also figured that "to an extent" might be an eliminating factor for me. I'm not worried about the lack of language so much as the lack of anything on my school record pertaining to Japan at all. My job experience, too, is tailored to "paying the bills" rather than reflecting my interests or career aspirations.

    Quote Originally Posted by kalliea View Post
    What Eira said. There is even a part of the acceptance thing for people without passports, telling them to get all the stuff in as soon as possible.

    9 people flew out of my city. Of the them, 2 of them had never been abroad at all, and 5 of them spoke absolutely no Japanese. You are fine. Even with no teaching experience you would be okay, but if you have a little you are golden. Good luck.
    I am glad to hear it! Were either of the 2 who had never been abroad also one of the five who spoke absolutely no Japanese? I realize that JET isn't looking for (and possibly wouldn't hire) Japanese majors with teaching certificates who travel extensively, but from what I understand (and what I thought I understood from speaking from a consulate representative today) they sort of expect you to have some notable experience in at least -one- of the three areas, to balance out the lack in the others.

    I'm simply afraid I'll look like a liability that would take too much effort to train to them.

    Or maybe I'm just psyching myself out. I dunno. This process is so closed, despite the number of applicants past and present.

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    Member aidee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel1404 View Post
    Hey although a CELTA course may prove necessary for a full-on career in TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) I don't think it will be essential for JET.
    From what I've read on it many people recommend holding off doing a course like CELTA until you've spent some time teaching abroad and know its definitely what you want to do as a career because it is so expensive (a good £4,000 in the UK I think).
    If you are worried about having no teaching experience/qualification you could do a shorter (and cheaper) online course I'm part way through doing one with a company called i-to-i that is pretty good. It's 100hours and includes a 20hr weekend course, 40hr online course, 20hr grammar module, and 4 x 5hr specialist certificates on things like teaching large classes, one on one etc. Not sure if thats the kind of thing you are after but here's the link: http://www.i-to-i.com/tefl/weekend-tefl/
    You definitely won't be wasting anyones time by applying! Go for it I say and if experience lacks make up for it with enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
    Thanks; I'm glad to hear some of the things I've read/thought being substantiated. I did hear that about the CELTA (it's $2500 at the SF school near me) and TEFL certification in general; I brought it up because I hope that my interest in doing something similar to JET in the long-term (that is, a career for which JET would provide a nice start) would help balance my lack of international experience, teaching experience and language. I will take a look at i-to-i, so thanks for the link!

  7. #7

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    I think you should go for it! All the things you`re concerned about aren`t necessary to apply, they just look good. Highlight your other qualities and mention that you`d like to be a teacher as a career somewhere in the app.

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    Backwater Blonde Rachel1404's Avatar
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    Oh and I don't have any Japan related things on my academic record either - I'm hoping that attempting to teach myself Japanese and reading lots will cover me enough in that area (fingers crossed!).

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    i dont think anything in the whole world apart from actually killing someone or being socially retarded effects your chances. Althought i have 'international experience' i have nooooo japanese, no interest in teaching as a future or past career and well...here i am

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    Negi-sensei Oneiro's Avatar
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    Tough love time.

    Just apply. People who are super-duper smart about Japan sometimes don't get in either. The worst that will happen is that you fail. Frankly, the fact that you're worried about failing shows a lack of confidence and trust me, in JET interviews, confidence is often the deal-breaker.

  11. #11
    Member aidee's Avatar
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    JackAttack: I intend to do just that. Thanks for your input!

    Rachel1404: Hahah, me too. :P I've got plenty of self-study material, and the internet, but I am not sure how far along I'll get considering I'm still in school and learning French as well. Good luck!

    Claire D: I hear differing things, so I'm glad to hear another vote for that side of things!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oneiro View Post
    Tough love time.

    Just apply. People who are super-duper smart about Japan sometimes don't get in either. The worst that will happen is that you fail. Frankly, the fact that you're worried about failing shows a lack of confidence and trust me, in JET interviews, confidence is often the deal-breaker.
    I appreciate your point of view, but I have to defend the point of this post. I am not afraid of failing. I'm not afraid of "wasting my time" if my application turns out to be unsuccessful. I am afraid of sending in an application that will end up being round-filed without even being read simply because I didn't understand the emphasis they place on international experience/Japanese knowledge/teaching experience. Does that make sense?

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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aidee View Post

    I am glad to hear it! Were either of the 2 who had never been abroad also one of the five who spoke absolutely no Japanese? I realize that JET isn't looking for (and possibly wouldn't hire) Japanese majors with teaching certificates who travel extensively, but from what I understand (and what I thought I understood from speaking from a consulate representative today) they sort of expect you to have some notable experience in at least -one- of the three areas, to balance out the lack in the others.

    I'm simply afraid I'll look like a liability that would take too much effort to train to them.

    Or maybe I'm just psyching myself out. I dunno. This process is so closed, despite the number of applicants past and present.

    Yes, the two with out passports were part of that group..
    Of the 9 people I flew out with..
    1 - Young school teacher. She new nothing about Japan, had never taken any Japanese or any class about Asia, never been abroad. But was a certified teacher.
    2 - New grad with no international experience beyond a little travel, no language, some teaching experience.
    3 - New grad with no teaching, no passport, but some international classes and a few Japanese classes.
    4 - New grad with some of everything; language, teaching, visited Japan a few times.
    5 - International teacher, lived in Africa teaching English. No Japanese language or experience.
    6 - Girl with some Japanese language, some international experience, and some
    7 - #6’s husband. No language, no teaching experience, some international experience to South America.
    8 - New grad. Some Japanese. Lived in Japan for a year. Master’s degree in philosophy. No teaching experience.
    9 - New grad. Fluent Japanese Language. Lived in Japan every summer for the last 5 years, where he taught English at some language school. 19 years old and already had a masters degree. (Also good looking nice guy. If he wasn’t so nice, I would have hated him…)
    Quote Originally Posted by aidee View Post
    I appreciate your point of view, but I have to defend the point of this post. I am not afraid of failing. I'm not afraid of "wasting my time" if my application turns out to be unsuccessful. I am afraid of sending in an application that will end up being round-filed without even being read simply because I didn't understand the emphasis they place on international experience/Japanese knowledge/teaching experience. Does that make sense?
    To be very frank, shut up and apply. Or don’t. I don’t care. This is how all those myths get started about applying for JET. It says very clearly that all you need to apply is a diploma. That’s it. They like people with those other things, but they are not required. It is WAY more important to fill out the stupid app correctly than to have fluent Japanese language skills. JET wants to hire people that are intelligent, hard working, and won’t freak out a week after they get here. (Or in the airport when they land, like this year.) Lots of people with VERY different backgrounds get into Jet. People with no teaching experience (me,) people with no Japanese language (about 1/3 of the people at orientation) and people that have never been to Japan before (½ the people in my Ken.) Just apply. What will hurt you more then your lack of experience is your defeatist attitude. You can make up for anything else lacking by being genki. Good luck.

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    Member aidee's Avatar
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    I guess it didn't make sense.

    Well, thank you for your response.

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    Negi-sensei Oneiro's Avatar
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    No no. We perfectly see what your concerns are. The fact of the matter is that your equating applying with "wasting your time" if you don't make it in. Similarly, the facts are that you don't need Japanese skills, experience with the culture or anything at besides the bare minimum to make it here. Many before us "wasted" their time in applying and some didn't jump through all the hoops. They frowned and moved on. Are you going to let the very possibility of not making it stop you?

    What you need is confidence, ability to at least downplay your weaknesses if not spin them into strengths and to drop, as Kallilea said, the defeatist attitude.

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    if theres a chance you wont succeed then you definately shouldnt try. that goes for everything in life.

    if you want to do it, do it. if you dont, dont. itll only take you a couple days to get all the shit together to apply so whaveter

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    Member aidee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aidee View Post
    I am not afraid of failing. I'm not afraid of "wasting my time" if my application turns out to be unsuccessful. I am afraid of sending in an application that will end up being round-filed without even being read simply because I didn't understand the emphasis they place on international experience/Japanese knowledge/teaching experience. Does that make sense?
    (bold added)

    I do not mind applying and failing. I do mind sending in an application with credentials with which similar applicants have consistently failed to even make it to the interview. That was the point of this thread -- "Are a lack of Japanese language skills, lack of courses in Japanese history/culture, lack of international experience and lack of classroom teaching experience enough to trash my application without further consideration?"

    I would find it absurd to be applying when I'm in an auto-deny category when it's so simple to ask. I have the answer now -- lacking them is not enough to disqualify me from consideration -- and that's all I wanted to know.

    Thanks for your time and opinions.

  17. #17

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    JUST APPLY. Don't listen to stupid internet rumors about so and so's friend who was the perfect candidate and didn't get an interview. These anonymous "really qualified" people are probably not really that qualified in reality.

    For example- Jane Animefreak who has an MA in East Asian Studies and has taken Japanese for 8 years might have come across as a freak who might not be able to adapt to the reality of living in Japan.

    As others have said, just give it your best shot and don't worry about everyone else.
    Last edited by patjs; September 27th, 2008 at 16:58.

  18. #18
    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aidee View Post
    (bold added)

    I do not mind applying and failing. I do mind sending in an application with credentials with which similar applicants have consistently failed to even make it to the interview. That was the point of this thread -- "Are a lack of Japanese language skills, lack of courses in Japanese history/culture, lack of international experience and lack of classroom teaching experience enough to trash my application without further consideration?"

    I would find it absurd to be applying when I'm in an auto-deny category when it's so simple to ask. I have the answer now -- lacking them is not enough to disqualify me from consideration -- and that's all I wanted to know.

    Thanks for your time and opinions.
    No one really knows how the selection process works. Lots of people have lots of theories, but no one really KNOWS. People who are incredibly qualified don’t even make it to the interview process, while anti-social idiots with nothing but a diploma (which they were BARELY able to get) are short listed.. The only way this makes sense to me is if the rumors about using staples instead of paper clips or putting things in the wrong order is true. But I don’t know. No one KNOWS! No one can tell you that you are wasting your time, because we don’t know. If you want to go, just apply. That is all.

    Oh...and good luck. Seriously. You seem like you have more than two brain cells to rub together, which puts you ahead of a lot of jets I know.

  19. #19
    Has no witty title Hoonta's Avatar
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    I'm with those who say just apply.
    Do you have an interest in living in a foreign country for at least a year? Do you want that country to be Japan over let's say, South Korea? Are you willing to teach (or assist with it) English to kids? In the middle of nowhere?

    Just fill out the application to the best of your ability. Read the Application FAQ sticky.
    Triple check, quintuple, septuple check every single question on the application.

    Do the best that you can and know that you did it. If JET doesn't give you an interview, be pissed for a while but continue to look for what you want to do and go for it.

    Personally I think that your odds of getting in really depend on where you're applying from. I wouldn't be surprised if the BOE wants x number of people from this or that consulate. x number of male or female JETs. After the interview stage, we are just numbers with stats. But that is just my little theory

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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoonta View Post
    Personally I think that your odds of getting in really depend on where you're applying from. I wouldn't be surprised if the BOE wants x number of people from this or that consulate. x number of male or female JETs. After the interview stage, we are just numbers with stats. But that is just my little theory
    Personally I agree with this. The interview is only 30 minutes at most, which is REALLY short for an interview. They basically just want to get a look at you and make sure you have a personality, pulse, and basic personal hygiene covered. And don't freak out or say anything racist.

    Also, my pred came from the same consulate as me. Plus another person who left my ken last year was the only girl. Now I'm the only girl. I think they have a quota to fill...
    Last edited by kalliea; September 27th, 2008 at 21:19.

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