a merkypie in japan

I added a new tag since this phase of the JET Application process deals more with the interview. Just for organization sake.

So, I’ve been prepping for the interview. As usual. Expected. Whatever.

Been hearing about Japanese tests, mock lessons, school uniforms, and all sorts of colorful things. But what’s great is that I’ve been hearing a lot of positive from my small consulate. So that’s great. Basically, its the basic questions plus questions pertaining to my SOP and a mock lesson based upon something I put down on my application. So yes, study the application!!

Here’s some questions that I think they may ask me. So, just seeing how I would respond if asked.

Why JET?
Because I believe in what JET stands for. It’s not just a teaching program, but a program focused grassroots intercultural exchange. I want to be apart of that. I want to be apart of that experience. It’s an honor to be apart of the program and call yourself a JET. It’s an honor to know that, in some way or another, I was able to make some sort of impact on some child’s life.

Why Japan?
When my mom suggested Japan as a country for that project I talked about in my SOP was when I got interested. My grandfather died before I was born so that connection to that side was pretty much severed. So I’m really curious about learning about that part of me.

What if you get homesick in Japan?
Well, it’s unavoidable, right? It’s a challenge and life is full of them. I’ll bring pictures from home and keep in contact with my family via Skype. But I’ll also keep active in the community, after school programs, and adjust myself to a new life. Eventually, I’ll get over it. I’ve always have.

What about culture shock?
Again, I got to pull through. It’s unavoidable but JET has a great support system that’s a phone call away, my family is just a Skype call away, and I have my duties in the community and school to help me pull through whatever cultural shock I may face.

What type of games will you use in the classroom?
Games that really enforce memory but are fun. Bingo would be a great game, because it involves a prize. It’s an addicting game. Just use vocabulary words. Hangman is also great for spelling. Also games that implement a buzzer would be great. Learning through fun!

What if your principal/co-worker touches you inappropriately at an enkai?
I would try to handle in the least confrontational way possible. It depends on the situation but really the best way to handle it is to not bring so much attention and kill the mood. If the problem persists, I will notify my chain of command.

What if you end up in Hokkaido or Okinawa?
I’ve lived in Minnesota, which is like the arctic circle of mainland America and obviously here in hot, sunny, Florida. So to be in either climates will not be a problem. It’s an experience, after all! I doubt CLAIR will place me on an arctic tundra.

What about rural?
I live in an hour north of the South Florida metro, home to cowboys and orange fields. 10 minutes from my house is an orange grove and cow field. I think I would do perfectly fine in a rural setting.

So, you speedskate. Tell us more about it.
Speedskating is exciting. It’s pretty much the only sport where I can get the rush of a rollercoaster and not have to pay $100 to go to a theme park. I prefer ice over land but there’s not that many ice rinks nearby to skate at, let alone allow me to go 30mph with 16 1/2 inch blades. So I skate land. I love it.

Would you participate in any after school activities?
Of course! As you can see on my application, I totally participated in the on campus clubs at the college I worked at. I believe it builds great rapport to interact with my students and after school activities is the best way to do it.

What are you future goals?
I am about to graduate in less than a month with my degree in web development. It seems like a stretch to do this with such a degree but it’ll actually help me. I want to develop mobile apps and websites geared towards cultural exchange. The internet is the best tool for people to connect without having to visit that country. My experience on JET will help me understand cultural exchange in it’s truest form and apply those skills and knowledge towards developing better apps.

What are three things you would bring to Japan?
If it’s for my personal use; my computer to stay connected, a camera to record the memories, and a kindle to do a lot of reading. If it’s for my students, an American flag, a pot, and some photos of my little area in America.

Why a pot?
When I was in the 4th grade, for international day, my class was America. So, we had apple pie but my teacher brought in a fondue pot to emphasize that we were the “melting pot” of the world. A little bit of everything coming together to make something great. I guess the Japanese equivalent would be nabe? Probably the best way to describe America.

and for questions to the panel

I read that its now mandatory for 5th and 6th graders to learn English. How has that affected the ALT position? Especially in terms with the new 1st years in middle school now having some knowledge of English?

Because, really. Now that this has happened that really has changed the ball game for Middle school students.

What do you think the most rewarding part about being a JET is to you?

I have a feeling they may ask me to explain speedskating… Since I put it down as a sport I participated in. I’m going to make it fun. Probably make the panel join me in explaining how to squat and push out. 😀 LOL

Speedskating is a difficult sport to explain because it’s so huge with so many variations. I guess I’ll stick to short track. Came out in the 60s, introduced to the Olympics in the 90s. Skate around a 111m track. The skater must squat and use their thighs and ankles. (will demostrate proper position) and push against ice. The lower, the better. Etc.

But that’s if I get it. There’s really nothing else unique on my application that I can give a lesson on. Maybe flight attending?