Saturday, September 10, 2005

Application for JET Programme Personal Essay

Google: drive, docs, pub

I would like to travel to Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher and I believe I have experience and professional skills that would help me in this regard.
I am interested in traveling to Japan and learning more about Japanese culture.  I have had an interest in Asia since childhood.  I have two younger siblings who were adopted from Korea, and their curiosity about their birthplace soon sparked my interest as well.  My interest in Korea soon spilled over into the other South East Asian nations.  Even though I realize that Japan has significant cultural differences from Korea, I was fascinated by how different both nations were from western standards.  I have taken two courses in Calvin on Asian history, and enjoyed them both.  I would have liked to take more, but I was advised to concentrate in American history because I was an education major.
I am interested in the JET program in particular, because I believe that our world is rapidly advancing towards what some have called a global village.  I think it is now more important than ever to be knowledgeable about the language and culture of others.  In the JET program, I would be able to help Japanese people learn my language, while I was absorbing their language and culture.  I would like to have the opportunity to project a positive image of the people of the United States, and I would be able to return home with a greater appreciation for Japan, which I could spread among my friends and family.
I am currently finishing up my degree at Calvin College, after which I will be certified to teach History, English and Political Science at the secondary level.  During my time at Calvin I have spent many hours teaching in a classroom as a tutor, teacher aid, and student teacher.  I was initially worried about how well I would perform because of my reserved personality, however at each experience I was able to quickly adapt to the situation.  These experiences have helped me grow as a professional, and I am now able to effectively handle classroom management and also to project a confident image at the front of the classroom.  I have been told that I have a voice that carries very well when I am up in front of class.
Although I have had no formal training in teaching English as a second language, I teacher aided in a school for immigrants and refugees.  At this school I taught students whose knowledge of English ranged from inadequate to nonexistent.  Here I not only taught math across the language barrier, but also tutored English.  I was able to form a positive relationship with these students, and continued tutoring a few Vietnamese students on my own time once my teacher aiding assignment came to an end.  In addition, I have volunteered at a local church to teach English to Hispanic immigrants.
During my experience teacher aiding, I was described by my Calvin professor as exhibiting a great deal of patience in teaching students who did not understand English.  I have also been described by my friends as being a patient and easygoing person.  I believe that these qualities will help me in dealing with the frustrations that will arise from being in a foreign culture.
I also have no knowledge of Japanese language.  However, I assure you that I will diligently apply myself to learn as much as I can should I be accepted to your program.  In my past studies of Latin I have demonstrated my ability to learn a foreign language.

There are several things I hope to gain from the JET program.  Since I have never lived for any length of time outside of the United States, I wish to expand myself by living in a country that is very different from the U.S.  I hope this will give me a broader perspective on the world, and enable me to help others gain this same perspective.  Also, since I am considering teaching as a profession, I think this program will give me more experience as a teacher.

No comments: