Monday, 10 December 2007

matte hajimette - The Wait Begins

After having got my application successfully away, it wasn't long before I got a reply email saying that it had been successfully received etc. Here is a copy of the email that I got from the Japanese Information and Cultural Centre:

Dear 2008 JET Programme applicant

Thank you for your application to participate in the 2008 JET Programme. All required documents have been received, except for proof of completion of degree, which can come later.

When your studies are completed and your final status is processed, please send either a certified copy of your graduation certificate or a letter from your university stating that you have completed the requirements for a degree (For some of you still studying, this may not be until next year).

Applicants who are selected for an interview will be asked to attend the venue of their choice (as indicated on the application form) in February 2008. You will be contacted at the end of January.

Thank you for your interest in the JET Programme.

So now it's just a matter of waiting until the end of January, when they will contact me to let me know interview details. Don't expect any other posts here until then ^^


Monday, 3 December 2007

Almost There

My deadline for getting the JET application in is 07 Dec - that's in four days. I finally got my second letter of reference on Friday and after having discovered that I need to send in three copies of everything, I now have to get three copies of my passport signed and stamped by a JP, as well as two copies of the letter outlining my expected date of graduation (in lieu of my actual degree).

The initial application process has been a real mission, but I am getting this document authentication done at lunch time on Wednesday. As soon as I have that, I will be able to pop everything into the A4 envelope that I have here, already addressed and ready to be sent. Everything will be away in the mail on Wednesday afternoon and I can breathe a sigh of relief that I've got through this initial part of applying for an assistant language teaching job in Japan.

As promised, here is the essay that I wrote, to be sent with my application:

English Language Teaching in Japan

Going to Japan and experiencing Japanese culture has been a dream of mine for many years. I believe that the JET programme offers the greatest opportunity for fulfilling this dream. Teaching English and interacting with foreign students has long been a passion of mine. From my observations, JET has a good reputation for sending people to Japan to teach English and to experience the culture.

Experientially, I have some teaching time under my belt: the time I spent teaching English while studying for my CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). Although this is for teaching English to mature students, I also have experience with assistant language teaching to teenagers and children.

In 2003 I was given an opportunity to work for an organisation that was based in South Korea. This organisation was teaching young Koreans English by using the Holy Bible as a basis for language learning. I spent six months over in South Korea, just outside of Seoul, assisting many different students with their English language studies and learning about what it is to live in a culture that is so foreign to my own.

Aside from my experience in South Korea (where I also had a couple of opportunities of volunteering to teach children for a few hours), I have also had some interaction with English language students through my parents. Until recently, both my father and mother were teachers of English as a foreign language. My dad is currently a high school teacher but he wants to go back to teaching English to students, much like I wish to do next year. My uncle still teaches English as a second language. I would say that a passion for teaching runs in my family ^^

As far as challenging experiences go, I would say that my greatest challenge would have been overcoming the cultural (and language) barriers that were presented when I was over in South Korea. I was not in a position to officially teach English for a recognised school but I did experience Korean culture and learned to adapt myself to various cultural practices – as well as making a few friends. It was a very impressionable time; a simple essay cannot describe everything that I experienced, felt and learned while overseas. I still communicate with various Korean friends and hope that one day I can go back.

My hope also is that the JET programme will provide me with the opportunity to once again experience another culture firsthand. Being granted a recognised assistant teaching position in Japan is my sole focus and my only plan for when I graduate from university. It is my greatest ambition to dedicate myself to teaching in Japan. I am confident in my understanding of the English language and know that teaching English and learning the Japanese language are both long-term passions that I have.

I look forward to furthering this application process.

That about sums everything up. Once my application is away I will continue looking for a Summer job and start working on this preparation for my Beowulf paper for next year. Technically, I will be doing two languages: Old English and Japanese. Teaching myself hiragana has always proved to be too much of a mission. I need to associate the symbols with something to help me remember them. At least I now have a minor Japanese vocabulary - one that I hope will build as I do the introduction paper next trimester.

Now, to go and have lunch and then play some more Final Fantasy VII (fainaru fantashi ga daisuki) :O