How do I write a good JET essay?

A an essay being checked from b r e n t's flickr stream

Let’s start with the essay. The essay should express why you want to go to Japan and why the Japanese government would want you in Japan. Here are some general tips.

1. Stay as close to the word count as possible.

Going over by a large amount or being under – already shows you’re not willing to pay attention or follow the rules. In Japanese society rules are quite important and bending them is something that isn’t done without a very good reason. Don’t fail at the first hurdle.

2. Make sure your English is perfect – they’re hiring you to be an English teacher!

I’d suggest that you have some one else proof read your essay. You should also ensure your grammar is formal and correct – use which and that correctly for instance. Use a word processor or something that will allow you to spell check.

3. Try to avoid talking about what Japan will do for you – concentrate instead on what you’ll bring to Japan.

A picture of a japanese style castle from  toshihiko2001's flickr stream
Don’t just say “I want to go to Japan to learn Japanese, see Japan, study Japanese culture”. Try and say I want to go to Japan “to become involved in the community and experience Japan from the inside. I want to be able to introduce my country to lots of different people. I want to make English fun and easy to learn. I want the children I teach to become confident well rounded English speakers – who can converse with foreigners.”

4. Stress any foreign experience you’ve had.

Every year a few successful JETs arrive in Tokyo and basically break down and want to go home. In the past some have even committed suicide! So try to leave off talking about how important your family is and your bouts of depression and self mutilation. Say the countries you’ve been too / lived in and give solid examples of how you immersed yourself in the culture. The JET guidelines ask for examples of were you’ve had problems with a clash of cultures – you should read this as “Write about how you’ve had to adjust to a certain culture”. Emphasise your success at adjusting.

Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced traveller – the girl I flew out of London with – it was her first ever time on a plane.

5. Don’t make things up.

If you say you have lots of Japanese experience – then you should be able to hold a conversation in Japanese. They will test this in the interview. In the interview your essay will be cross examined – so you must be able to back all of it up.

If you chose a certain area to be placed in (which you should as it show’s you’ve looked at Japan – and know which area you think you’d like best) you must be able to say why! They’re going to ask you!

6. Show you’ve prepared

If you’re studying Japanese say so. This shows a great deal of commitment. The same goes for studying Japan and reading about it. It show’s you are serious about becoming a teacher.

These are the points to keep in mind when writing the essay. Next we’ll cover the interview and test.
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