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The Future

I realized a bit ago that, while I’ve been doing a pretty decent job keeping you all up to date with the things I have been doing in Japan, I haven’t been keeping you apprised of my upcoming situation. I realized this when I was talking to my brother maybe last week and we were talking about the new Iphone. I said something along the lines of: “I’m definitely getting one when I get back to the U.S., whenever that is!” to which he responded: “Yeah what’s the deal with that anyway? Are you coming back?” It was then that I realized I hadn’t really told anyone about what I’m going to do, so I thought I’d use this time to spell out my upcoming events and plans for the immediate future.

First, I will be in Japan another year. I re-contracted back in February which means my new contract will run until August of 2011.  It’s still a bit too far in the future to decide about anything after that, but my staying in Japan will be contingent on a few major conditions.

  • My Japanese ability. I’ve made major strides since coming here last August, and am now fully functional in Japanese society. I can pay my bills, I can receive detailed instructions on the phone as to how to set up my internet, and in one of the main tests of fluency (at least in my book) I am able to get around not knowing the fast amounts of vocabulary most Japanese people have. When they say something I don’t understand I can have them explain it and get the meaning when they rephrase it. Yet, I’m still not satisfied. I don’t enjoy only understanding 60-70% of what someone is saying, and I would like to be able to have real, substantial conversations. At this point my comprehension is so much more advanced than my own speaking ability that most conversations I have are rather one sided. I’m looking to change that. So depending on how my Japanese is next year, I may decide to stay one more year to really shore it up.
  • My job. I really enjoy my job. I’ve told many people this now, but I really think I have the best job in JET. I get to hang out with hilarious and adorable kids all day, and I actually have work. So many JETs who work in Junior High or High schools have weeks on end where they have only two classes because of tests, and generally their work load is much lower. On the other hand, in elementary schools because you are the only English teacher there, they have to put you to work. I regularly teach 20 classes a week. Some weeks it’s 17, some it’s 23, but it’s pretty steady. Considering our contracts prohibit us from teaching anymore than 25 classes a week, I’d say they are keeping my quite busy. Having said that, my job is not exactly intellectually stimulating. There are days when I teach the same class four times, or weeks when I will do the same kinds of activities three out of five days, just because I’m teaching the same grades over and over. I try to keep it fresh by never saying the same thing twice, but it’s exhausting and does become a bit of a drag at times. My decision to stay a third year in Japan is certainly going to hinge on whether I can retain the energy and enthusiasm for my classes which I have now.
  • Graduate school. It has always been my plan to go to grad. school after finishing up with JET. The problem is I don’t really know what exactly I want to do. I enjoy teaching, and at this moment would like to do so at a university level. But teach what? Japanese? linguistics? I have a general idea of what I want to do but feel like I should narrow it down a bit more before committing to a costly and time intensive program. In that vein I applied for a linguistics and pedagogy course which is offered through the JET program, but regrettably my supervisor changed this year and my new supervisor said they could not afford to send me to the required seminar next year. It’s unclear whether I will be able to take this course next year, but if they say I can, it will certainly affect my staying on an extra year. If I wanted to enter graduate school when my contract finishes in 2011, I need to start thinking and applying to schools real soon, and I’m not sure whether I am ready for that yet. Planning far in advance has never and will never be one of my shining qualities.

So there you have it! That in a nut shell sums up my thoughts about my future. What’s set in stone is that I will be in Japan until at least August 2011. Besides that though, it’s quite topsy turvy.

And now that you know I’ll be here ’till 2011, that gives you a great opportunity to come visit!


Categories: Pre-Japan
  1. stuart
    June 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    hey dash!
    its stuart from nakatsu and now back home in NZ!
    have been following your blog for some time now and you write really well.
    Im currently doing my masters (grad school) doing applied lings and TESOL and if you like teaching, this would be great for you!
    you realize how bad you actually were when teaching! haha! Im only half way through but im glad I didnt give up this opportunity to further my studies. Even if your dont want to teach at a uni level, the experience and degree that you would get would help you anywhere really!
    keep writing great posts!

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