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My Experience Teaching Abroad with the JET Programme

  • 4 min read
  • Japan

I worked and lived in the beautiful coastal city of Shimonoseki as part of the JET Programme between 2015 and 2016. It was an experience of a lifetime. 

When thinking about the best and most challenging parts of living and working in Japan, I instantly thought of ESID” – “Every Situation is Different.”

This is a saying on the JET Programme that may sound like a cliché, but which holds so much truth.   Ive reflected on this, and heres my take on ESID now.

Teach English in Japan

About the author: Melissa is a graduate of the 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate course.

She taught English for one year in Japan and currently teaches English privately in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Getting to Know Yourself

While teaching with the JET program, my strengths and challenges were amplified and I came to know my true self.

My fondest memories were of participating in student club activities and riding trains as I took in Japan’s lush scenery.

I also lived my dream of traveling all over Japan and Asia, trying various foods, and experiencing different cultures.

I developed life-long friendships with the most incredible people from all over the world, both locals and JET teachers.

Teach English with the JET Programme

Nothing can come close to replacing these experiences and I still find it hard to believe they ever happened! 

But I also began to see aspects of myself that Im not necessarily very fond of.

I was homesick and indulged in the drama of being away from home.

I was very ill-prepared to manage a class of students — what wouldve been normal classroom challenges became intense emotional experiences for me.

In hindsight now, I wouldve handled things differently. 

Dare to dream! Get free job placement assistance with OnTESOL and MY English in beautiful Japan! 

The Benefits of taking a TESOL Course with OnTESOL

When I returned to Canada, I continued teaching English.

This time, I wanted to improve my practice as an ESL teacher — specifically how to better prepare for lessons.

One of my colleagues highly suggested the OnTESOL course as it was tremendously helpful for him.

The course really filled the gaps in my teaching skills. It taught me how to address aspects of teaching I struggled with as a teacher in Japan.

Adventures in Japan as a TESOL teacher

Such aspects included: lesson planning, classroom management, and understanding the particular challenges of ESL students. 

Lessons Learned

Everything Ive learned from JET and OnTESOL has been invaluable.

And I use them more than ever now as Ive moved on to become a private teacher to international students throughout Toronto.

The OnTESOL course equipped me with the theoretical foundation and skills to be effective as an English teacher.

My experience in the JET programme developed my ability to truly connect to my students.

As my current students experience the excitement, anxiety, and homesickness that are all part of living abroad, I can empathize with them.

It makes me miss Japan and all the people I met and connected with on the JET Programme.

It has been almost 3 years since I returned from Japan, but I realize more and more that JET has a lasting effect on my life that will be with me wherever I go.

Find more information about the requirements for teaching English in Japan

More articles from Melissa:

Teaching English Conversation Skills: Passing the Ball Activity

Teaching Basic (Persuasive) Essay Writing to Korean Students

More on the JET Programme:

OnTESOL Reviews: Teaching English in Japan with the JET Programme

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