Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program)

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the JET program is a mixed bag. Some people get great postings, and some do not. It just depends.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ōmiya, Saitama (Japan)
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Ōmiya, Saitama (Japan)

I worked at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program)

Pros

Great pay for little work, relatively. There is a lot of time to explore the country and region, as well as time to work on the Japanese language in a real life working environment.

Cons

It can get really boring really fast, especially in the summer months. The work can be rewarding, but it is easy to fall into a routine that becomes not very fulfilling as time goes by.

Advice to Management

I don't think this will change anything. The Japanese have their set ways of doing things and no foreign advice is going to change this.

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  1. Overall I had a very positive experience with the JET Programme, largely due to realistic expectations.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Hiroshima, Hiroshima (Japan)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Hiroshima, Hiroshima (Japan)

    I worked at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Excellent pay, benefits and time off. Ability to travel extensively throughout Japan and Southeast Asia. Wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in a foreign language and culture. Great support system.

    Cons

    Work is often boring or under-valued. Too much down time. You may experience a sense of isolation if placed in the countryside and you're not prepared for it. Little opportunity for professional advancement. Little in the way of training -- definitely sink or swim.

    Advice to Management

    The whole concept of "team teaching" must be revamped so that Japanese Teachers of English are more involved in the lesson planning process.

  2. Wonderful 'Starter' Position - Little Room for Advancement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher

    I worked at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    With the JET Programme, you'll get fairly decently subsidized housing (larger or smaller, better or worse depending on how close you live to a large city), as well as paid sick leave (though you'll need a doctor's note to get it). I lived in a small town on a small island in Japan, and I loved my experience. I was able to make friends there and pursue some of my musical interests. I also had a smaller number of students and was able to build upon what was learned each week. Every visit wasn't just a "Hi, it's the guest English teacher" experience: I was their teacher, and they learned new things from me each session. (Whether they remembered or not was another story.)

    Cons

    Very little opportunity for advancement. If you're excellent at Japanese reading, writing and speaking, you're a sure shot for becoming a Coordinator of International Relations (which works more in a city branch translating documents and organizing cultural community events). But even if your a top-notch Assistant Language Teacher, you don't get much of a perk for doing your job well, save for a pat on the back here and there.

    Also, each BOE is so varied and the teachers you work with at each school have such different backgrounds, it's hard to find your place in the classroom (or even the school) sometimes. Depending on your JTE (Japanese Teacher of English), you may or may not be used as more than a human tape recorder in the classroom. I was blessed enough to have one teacher who worked wonderfully with me, loved English, and wanted me to make activities for classes. Even if he made the activities or had a class or reading practice, I played a very active role.

    This job isn't for the faint of heart. If you're prone to homesickness and you're over here alone with very little (or none) of the language under your belt, you'd better find a way to center yourself quickly. No one will be coddling you. Make sure you speak up at work as well and let your teachers know what you'd like to present or participate in - otherwise, you may not feel as if you do much of anything in a workday.

    Advice to Management

    If you want to keep veteran ALTs longer, try to give them some kind of benefits. It's a bit frustrating knowing that you have more knowledge and experience than a newer ALT, yet your pay still remains the same.

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