Who's the Boss
It is important to remember that although JET participants are members of the JET programme, each JET is actually employed by a local contracting organization (CO) and not by CLAIR or the JET programme. CLAIR and JET are the organizations who set up the framework to introduce us to our bosses. And since different JETs have different bosses, they often get different deals. Hence the famous "Every Situation Is Different" (I promise not to use this phrase again!).
Each CO determines the terms and conditions of the JET's employment. ALTs are employed by the local (municipal) boards of education, NOT the prefectural one. Each ALT has a different Board of Education (contracting organisation), therefore they have different contracts. This means that some get more/less paid holidays, or other benefits that others do/don't get.
The important thing to remember is that even though we are all JETs, we each have different employers, and we are bound by the contract of our employer. Please do not compare your contracts to those of other JETs, because you do not work for the same people. While this may seem obvious, many issues arise from some contracting organizations doing something extra for its JETs (Furnished Apartment, Study Leave, etc.), and other JETs finding out about it. Expect nothing but what your contract guarantees you, and you will appreciate everything that you do get.
Do you want to know what your school is looking for in an employee? Well, around January, you will be evaluated, and though different schools do things differently, most likely your principal will fill out a report. Here is a sample teacher evaluation report that will give you some ideas into what is being appraised.
Though you are hardly ever involved in this evaluation (at least I have never been), print it off and give it a read. You might be surprised to see what your evaluation is based on.
Help me I'm bored!
So it's summer vacation, classes are out, and you have nothing to do. While some overworked JETs might feel envious, the truth is, having nothing to do can be just as stressful as having too much to do. Here are some tips for productive ways to deal with the slow days.
- Study Japanese - I cannot emphasize enough how much your school appreciates every effort you make to learn Japanese. It doesn't matter how well you speak it now, or how much progress you actually make, studying Japanese makes a very good impression on everyone in your school.
- Visit Clubs - Have a lot of bottled up energy? Want to interact with the students more? Ask different teachers which clubs you can participate in, or just take a walk around the school, and maybe you'll get invited to one.
- Prepare Lesson Plans - If you're reading this, you probably either have 5 spare lesson plans already prepared, or you don't have the concentration right now to come up with an educational/interesting/teachable lesson plan. Still, you know I had to list it.
- Read English Books - It's not the most productive way to internationalize, but it keeps you busy. Besides, you're an English teacher, and you need to keep those English skills sharp.