Aug 27

Life After JET: Moving On

Posted by blogger and podcaster Jon Dao (Toyama-ken, 2009-12).



Back in the USA! Two former Toyama ALTs discuss the ins and outs of Post JET life:

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Sketchy English Teaching Jobs (4:12)

“Some of them are shady. Some of them won’t give you pension or health insurance. ” – Val

“Well, the warning sign were 1)  ‘Come over on a tourist visa and we’ll take care of it when you’re here’ and 2) ‘We’re not going to be able to process your first paycheck until after two months’.” – Jon


The Decision to Leave (8:55)

“I had wanted to stay for another year or two, and I started looking for other work outside of English teaching. I actually submitted applications and had gotten interviews. And once I got those interviews, I realized I didn’t want to take them. I think in the back of my head, I was thinking ‘If I take this job, will I ever be able to get out of my comfort zone and leave’? I think a lot of ALTs are just so comfortable in Japan for whatever reason.” – Val


Breaking Away from Students/Schools (10:08)

“Breaking up with the students and the teachers– even that whole town– was difficult. It was tough. I was really involved with that school and the sports teams there.” – Randy

“I had a friend tell me ‘Just go home, I guarantee the only thing you’ll miss about Japan is the shopping and the students’. All your friends, the ALTs, they’re all going to leave eventually.” – Val


What You Miss (13:36)

“You don’t ever hear people say they miss the work.” – Jon


English Education in Asia (15:22)

“Is my teaching doing any good? I know it helps a handful of students, but for the rest I don’t know if it makes a huge impact.” – Val

“I found that probably my best students had a strong interest in movies and music. They’d write these quotes that they’re hearing or seeing and actually bringing them to me, asking me ‘What does this mean’? They would come day after day with new content. Those are the kids that ended up going to the best high schools just because of their self-motivation and drive.” – Randy


Decision Tips on Whether to Stay (18:36)

“Don’t do this just for the money. And if you decide to do so, even though you hate everyone around you, shut up.” – Jon

“It got stale for me. I didn’t have any personal motivation to improve. I really didn’t have any personal drive the latter part of my JET year. That connection I had with my kids was what really kept me going.” – Randy

“I was so stressed out. I called my close friends for advice. I wanted to stay, but I don’t know if I should because it’s making me sick. My Dad refers to Japan as Lala Land. ‘I think you’re having fun. You were having a lot of fun, but you can’t keep doing that if you’re not growing as a person.” – Val


Attraction to Japan (24:36)

“There are ALT people in Taiwan too. Most of them don’t stay. I don’t know if they have the same hangup about leaving like people do about Japan.” – Val


Doing Things Differently (27:15)

“Just be more myself when I first arrived. When I first came, I look a lot like the people around me in Japan. It’s really easy for me to go with the flow and blend in with all the other teachers. But after awhile, I said I can’t really do this anymore, I’m not a Japanese teacher. Once I let that go, I was really able to enjoy my classes more.” – Randy

“The best thing to enjoy your time is to be active with the club activities.” – Val


Omiyage Talk (32:40)

“The biggest tip I have is– you don’t have to bring a lot of gifts for your school, BOE, mayor, etc. I did meet those people, but I ended up holding onto my omiyage and giving things to people who really took care of me. You should just bring enough for about 10 people. You’re not trying to buy out other people’s friendship.” – Randy


Getting a Car (38:13)

“If you get put in a big city, then it doesn’t really matter. But I would really recommend getting a car. I made excuses about using the train, biking, walking around. You don’t want to pay for insurance and gas and that type of thing. But I was just really intimidated by the pedestrian traffic and smaller roads. Man, [having a car] would’ve made things so much easier.” – Jon”


Pension Refund (42:00)


This is the #JET talk I wish I had before I left #Japan CC: @jetwit

Posted by Discussions with Dao on Sunday, August 25, 2013


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