My final month in Tochigi teaching on the JET Program has been hectic. I’ve been going over the final details of my apartment, translating my contract, and meeting with my teachers here to make sure I’m not being cheated. Getting my visa changed and waiting hours at the immigration office. And then dealing with the moving and utility companies as well. Something I did not anticipate being so hard was saying goodbye to my teachers and students. This month was filled with so many tears. Several of my students cried and threw me going away parties. I had to give so many speeches and console so many tears. But through all this insanity I wanted to take a step back and really go through my reflections on the JET Program.
I can’t believe it’s been three whole years of teaching and living in Japan, and now it’s time to finally close the door on being a teacher. It’s been a real journey, and I’ve changed in ways that I didn’t think were possible. Before starting this job, I didn’t know what to expect out of it. There were moments where I couldn’t wait for it to be over but when I reflect back on those moments, I’m sad thinking I’ll never get those back again. So in my final moments, I’ll be going over my reflections on the JET Program.
Teaching is a Rewarding Job
We’ve all been in high school and remember how we tormented our teachers. And that veers a lot of people away from stepping into that position later in life. It certainly scared me but it was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done. Seeing the growth in my student’s language learning and seeing them grow up into great adults. It’s hard not to tear up right now just thinking about it. If you’re thinking about teaching even just part-time don’t forget that you’re making an impact on people’s lives.
The JET Program is only as Rewarding as you Make It
I think a lot of people go abroad thinking it’s going to automatically change their lives for the better. We’ve all heard about those people who randomly become models in Tokyo, or they start their own business. And as great as those stories are there’s no guarantee those stories will come true. It’s easy to get caught up in your apartment every weekend or shy away from meeting new people.
Always Prepare for Your Next Step
People always ask me if I had any regrets on the JET program and the only thing I can say is I regret not planning ahead. I didn’t think I would stay longer than my first year, and after signing up for a second year I didn’t plan out what I wanted to do when I finished. The time on this program goes by quickly. Quicker than you can anticipate. Even if you’re only doing it for a year plan ahead for what you want to do when you finish.
Well Tochigi it’s been real. It’s been fun. But it hasn’t been real fun. Just kidding it was a blast. Through my reflections on the JET Program, I realize through all these ups and downs I came out a better person. I can’t wait to see what August has in store for me.