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


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