What is the JET Program(me)?
From the official JET Program(me) website:
Aiming primarily to promote grass-roots internationalisation at the local level, the JET Programme invites young college graduates from around the world to participate in internationalisation initiatives and be involved in foreign language education at Japan’s local government offices, Boards of Education, elementary schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools. The JET Programme has gained high acclaim both domestically and overseas for being one of the world’s largest international exchange programmes. We hope that all people involved in the JET Programme, both the participants and the local people with whom they live and work with, will build an international network and become successful in today’s global society.
There are 2 types of JET positions in Fukui prefecture: CIRs and ALTs.
If you are an ALT, you may be placed in a vast range of educational settings. You might be working at elementary schools (shogakko) where you’ll need to have plenty of energy to control the swarm of kids looking for an autograph because you’re a superstar to them. Perhaps you’ll be placed in a Junior High School (chugakko), the second rung on the compulsory education ladder in which placements are administered at the city level and you can expect rigid timetables, a myriad of sports and culture clubs, tired teenagers and structured classes. If not any of the previous ones, a Senior High School (koko) in which placements are administered directly by the Fukui Senior High School Education Division (koko gimukyoikuka).
High Schools will vary greatly and can be academic or non-academic. In Japan, high school is not mandatory but if a student wants to continue their education they must endure the rigid entrance exam system. Academic High School students are essentially gearing up for university and will not be allowed the luxury of much free time, opportunities for part-time jobs, nor driving lessons. They will have a heavy workload and hopefully an interest in English. Non-academic students might not have such an interest in your subject. You’ll have to use your wits to motivate your students. Remember, while “Every Situation Is Different” we all have one common goal: to make English accessible and exciting to Japanese students.
Another thing to remember is that you’re never alone. With roughly 100 ALTs in the prefecture you can rely on other JETs to see you through difficult times. Not only do you have the support of your peers, but you can also expect official support from the local block system, explained at the orientation in Fukui City, from your supervisor, and from the prefecture. Three departments you’ll want to be familiar with are detailed below. They are the Fukui Compulsory Education Division (gakkou gimukyoikuka), the Fukui Senior High School Education Division and the International Affairs Division.
If you are a CIR, you will most likely work in the Fukui Prefectural Building (kencho), the same building our Prefectural Advisor (PA or Kencho ALT) works in.