Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) Reviews | Glassdoor

Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) Reviews

Updated May 28, 2017
23 reviews

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23 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Assistant Language Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    They really walk you through the process of moving to a new country and offer a great support system throughout your journey.

    Cons

    It can really be hit or miss with your board of education. Some can be fantastic and inclusive and others can be very challenging to work with.

    Advice to Management

    There should be move cooperation/education for how JETs should be used in the classroom setting to maximize benefits to the students. Japanese English teachers must prepare their students for difficult reading/writing exams and rightfully cannot emphasize oral communication. The focus on reading/writing seems impractical for actual interactions in English.


  2. "Fantastic Time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Fully immersed in the culture
    - Short work weeks
    - Plenty of vacation time / holidays
    - Great opportunity to meet great people

    Cons

    - Job could be repetitive and in equal measure chaotic
    - Salary wasn't fantastic, but benefited from being tax free
    - More training could have started us out on a better foot

    Advice to Management

    Keep this program alive. It was great for both us as teachers and the students. But, it would be helpful to get some more training beforehand as I wasn't doing great work for the first 6 months. Given that the turnover is high, this would definitely help.

  3. "Great opportunity"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Misawa, Aomori (Japan)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Misawa, Aomori (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Experience a new culture, with a very low responsibility job that pays well.

    Cons

    Some rural areas might be tough to live in if you have no Japanese speaking ability.


  4. "A Great Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) full-time

    Pros

    Overall a positive experience, a good working environment and great opportunities to travel. A lot of flexibility with teachers.

    Cons

    Many situations are more difficult than mine. In addition, I was told that my contract would not be renewed for budgetary reasons long after my contract said I was supposed to be told. Because of this late communication, I was not able to file for transfer. CLAIR was unable to intervene or aid.


  5. "Excellent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Kōbe, Hyogo (Japan)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Kōbe, Hyogo (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Cultural exchange, interesting experience, awesome students.

    Cons

    Culture fatigue, can be used as a human tape recorder

    Advice to Management

    Put in systems to ensure ALT isn't only a human tape recorder.


  6. "Really What You Make of It"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

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

    Pros

    Being a CIR, or any participant in the JET Program is a crap shoot. You never know where you'll end up. That adds excitement and adventure into the whole idea.
    You get to learn about the internal workings of local governments.
    You, depending on your work place, get freedom to plan your own activities and events.
    You can share your culture and language with your coworkers.
    I had 20 paid days off per year.

    Cons

    You have no idea where you will go.
    Working through red tape is difficult, but if you are patient, you can make it.
    Usually the biggest problems are not working environments, but bad supervisors or issues with co-workers.
    Japanese staff usually get transferred every three years or less, so even if you work with a great team, it can all change very quickly.
    This is not meant to be a long term job, but merely a stepping stone to your career.


  7. "Sometimes it's all in the job description"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    In the JET program there are a total of three jobs you can apply for. I am an ALT or Assistant Language Teacher. I work with three Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs). My school is great, my students are great, even my little village is great. Every year you are in the JET program you get a raise in salary. You can use that salary to travel all over Asia, travel Japan, pay students loans, etc and still have enough to live on.

    Japanese Proficiency: Your Japanese will improve if you put effort into it. If you go out of your way to talk with your coworkers, neighbors, or people you meet out on the town.

    Let me tell you this job was a great opportunity for bettering my Japanese language level and making friends but it didn't help me excel in anything professional. If you have the opportunity join! If only for a limited amount of time. My limit was three years.

    Cons

    A phrase you will hear often in this program is that every situation is different. Some ALTs will not be assistants but will be the main teacher. Other times you are an assistant and sometimes less so. I am an assistant moving towards a tape recorder. I am able to use my brain in planning kindergarten, adult English class (eikaiwa), and the occasional Special ED class. Other than that I am not asked to plan activities or anything that requires my input whatsoever. It is supposed to be a joint effort.

    Japanese Proficiency: If you surround yourself with other JETs or foreigners your language ability will not increase as much as you want. There is a balance.

    Advice to Management

    JTEs and Homeroom teachers are the main teacher so they should be leading the class if possible.

  8. "Assistant Language Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ALT in Okinawa (Japan)
    Former Employee - ALT in Okinawa (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Enjoyed teaching English to kids. Friendly work environment made it easy to learn Japanese quickly. I got N2 in 3 years with no study just by talking to teachers & kids at school.

    Cons

    Younger ALTs in my area were very immature and had a high ratio of persons with serious social dysfunctions and mental illness. It seemed that I was the only person who wasn't a foreveralone weaboo or just plain whacko misfit on meds.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work, but implement a higher level of screening for personality and mental illness to keep weirdos out.


  9. "Welcome to Wonderland"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Tsu (Japan)
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Tsu (Japan)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Working on the JET Programme is an amazing experience to explore an incredibly rich and relatively isolated part of the world. The JET Programme provides a strong support system and the weakest link is yourself and your ability to submerse yourself in a foreign culture.

    Cons

    Due to the language barrier and cultural norms, you will not be treated as an individual. You will be shown respect, but you may need to fight for it sometimes. To generalize, Japan can be ignorant when it comes to matters of race and prejudice. Having said that, I've experienced far more positive prejudice than negative.

    Advice to Management

    Many educators are still very ignorant about what rights JET participants have. There seems to be no clear definition of the role of ALTs. During my time, I've been told that I have no right to drive a car (which may have been true, once). I was also told that I had no right to question how much rent I pay, nor did I have the right to move, if I wanted to.

    Of course, our role as ALTs is to help create opportunities to address this kind of ignorance, however, I think it would help if there was better internal communication regarding the role and rights of JET participants.


  10. "Every Situation is Different"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Tokyo (Japan)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Japanese Ministry of Education (thru JET Program) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you make the cut, it's the best way to get to Japan. They take care of everything from visas and transportation costs. Your flights to and from Japan are paid for, as well as your transportation costs to your placement. In many cases, housing is heavily subsidized, with rents as low as $100. This was the case for me. Other teachers did not have to pay at all. They also pay the highest salary of all assistant language teacher employers, with ample paid time off days. It's common to receive up to 20 paid days off a year plus all public holidays.

    Cons

    You never know what you will get. While some teachers will get great placements, most teachers will not. It's common to be placed in the "inaka", small towns that are far away from major cities and transportation hubs and have little to no stores or restaurants.

    Many teachers will also be placed at low performing schools. This is Japan's dirty little secret. For years they have been known for having high performing schools and students, but this is largely a myth. Most Japanese schools are average in performance and students are not passed on merit, but simply by class. I have students who can barely read, make eye contact, or communicate who will graduate high school without any problems.

    There are also disciplinary issues. Teachers are not allowed to send students out of the classroom when they are being disruptive or rude, so problem students are free to disrupt learning for everyone. It's also common to see students sleeping in class or downright refusing to do work.

    The Japanese English education system is poor! They focus on memorization rather than communications, so even students who have been taking English lessons since elementary school still can't speak English. Other countries like Taiwan excel at English learning and their students blow Japanese students out of the water on fluency. Japanese students are also lazy and uncreative. They give up easily, calling lessons "muzukashi" (difficult) without ever trying. They only expect the answers and many times the Japanese teachers of English (JTEs) who assist you in class will encourage you to give students the answer to make things easier for them. Since most of these students know they don't have to work hard to graduate, they put in as little effort as possible in class, which makes things difficult and disheartening for the assistant language teacher.

    Finally, many assistant language teachers are put up in poor housing. The cheapness of the rent is usually accompanied by a bad location, buildings with structural and cosmetics issues, and apartments easily breached by bugs, including the dreaded mukade. Homes and buildings in Japan are also not insulated, so you suffer in the heat of summer and freeze during the deep winter months. If you try to move to a better location, rent not only becomes ridiculously expensive but hard to get. That's because many Japanese agencies will not rent to foreigners or they will rent to foreigners so long as they have a Japanese guarantor, which is a process I will not go into here.

    Overall, teaching English in Japan is fraught with problems that most recent college graduates (or seasoned graduates) who are desperate for work and adventure will dismiss, but will present challenges for people who are looking to build a career in the TEFL field or who just have higher standards overall for how they live or work.

    If you are career focused and want to do something more meaningful with your life, this job is not for you. If you are the above and decide to take the position anyway, do yourself a favor and don't stay more than 2 years. Look very closely at the ones who stick around for 3 years or more and ask yourself if that's really who you want to become. Chances are it's not.

    Advice to Management

    I have no advice to management because Japan is going to do what Japan wants to do. It's a great country with wonderful, friendly people, but they are not open to change, especially when those calls for change come from the outside, so I don't want to waste my time.


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