Lessons Learned

What was the biggest mistake you made during your stay?

  • I regret not going to more town events and getting to know everyone in town better. Imari ALT, 2016 to present 
  • Work related: Setting myself up with too high of expectations for the role I wanted to play in my school. You have to work with the schedule and limits that you are given. At first I felt like I was underachieving and not doing a good job because my role in my schools wasn’t as impactful as I had originally hoped for. Instead you just have to make the best with the circumstances you are placed under and don’t beat yourself up for things that you can’t control. As ALTs we have a very unique and rewarding job but we are one of the many pieces within the Japanese schools and educational system. Non-work: one word – SPIRYTUS. Arita Town ALT 2013-now.
  • I came on the JET Programme with a fairly high level of Japanese fluency, but I allowed my fluency to make me lazy. I didn’t really commit to studying the language as much as I should and could have. Omachi ALT 2012-2014.
  • I think I tried too much to adapt to the work culture in my office. Granted as a CIR my “office” is a little different from than the schools or BOEs most of the ALT’s work at, but right from the get go I tried my best not to step on anyones toes and to basically wait for my job to be dictated to me. This is in no way to say that I haven’t had innumerable successes and achievements during my three years as a Saga City CIR but I think at times I was so worried about overstepping my “work responsibilities” or being rude by asking repeated questions that I failed to make progress in certain areas where it was possible. Assuming that many things would be explained to me in due time I didn’t ask a lot of questions that were on my mind and waited for explanations which didn’t come. Saga City CIR 2011-2014.
  • I spent way too much money, drinking and party and partying my first two years. Saga City ALT 2010-2014.
  • Assuming it’d be easy to have the energy/motivation to study Japanese on my own. Without a goal and/or very solid reason, I think it’s difficult, even for someone who likes learning languages. Karatsu City ALT 2011-2014.
  • I over-estimated my students’ English ability when I first arrived and prepared a bunch of lessons that I thought were good but were too high level and had nothing to do with the textbook. Needless to say, these were never used. Shiroishi ALT 2009-2014.