So I had my JET interview this week!
I felt pretty neutral coming out of it, I think it went pretty well overall but the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I’ve started doubting, and now I’m not so sure if I’ve done enough to impress the judges.
I interviewed in Melbourne, Australia for the ALT position. I didn’t have to sign any disclaimer forms and nothing was mentioned about not being able to share my experience. So with that said, here’s how it went!
THE WAITING ROOM
Walking into the consulate there was no such ‘waiting room’ to be found. I arrived about 30 minutes before my interview and walked literally 2 steps into the entrance, signed off with the security guard and sat on a tiny bench in front of his desk. At the time there was another applicant already sitting there who was super early (an hour early by the time I arrived!) and had her interview after mine. We chatted for most of my wait time and as more applicants arrived for the interview, the security guard had to keep fetching more chairs, so we were all just awkwardly sitting there in the walkway. There were no former JETs and no ‘undercover spies’- unless they had cast the security guard as one of their secret agents!
It definitely helped chatting to the other applicants and I felt relaxed going into my interview, however there were a couple of people who said they applied only because they didn’t know what else to do after graduating. I’ll admit I sighed a little on the inside when I heard this- I just feel so passionate and invested in having this experience, and I have genuine reasons for applying!
On my panel was a former CIR, a representative from the Japanese board of education and a Japanese lecturer from one of the local universities. The CIR was really lovely and was the one who ushered me in and asked a majority of the questions. None of the panel offered to shake my hand, nor did they stand up on my entrance, so I just walked in, handed over my phone and interview voucher and proceeded to sit down. While the CIR and the lecturer were really welcoming and smiled at my answers, the Japanese representative came off as very serious and nonchalant, so I felt as though maybe I wasn’t interesting enough or not saying the right things!
My interview felt extremely quick (20 minutes tops) and was pretty rushed. I wasn’t asked many questions at all. Even more surprising was that I wasn’t asked a single thing about my SOP, or anything related to my application apart from my past trips to Japan. I also didn’t have to give any sort of teaching demonstration, although I was pretty stoaked about that (phew!).
- Why the JET programme?
- You said you’ve been to Japan, where did you go?
- What things did you find about the rural areas?
- You may be placed somewhere rural, how would you deal with that?
- What places did you choose for your preferences and why?
- What would you bring to the programme to connect with your students?
- What grades would you like to teach?
I was then asked in Japanese if I knew Japanese, to which I answered ちょっと ですand one other question which I didn’t understand at the time. Of course it wasn’t until after I left that I realised exactly what they were asking me, so I’ve been kicking myself ever since!
After these questions the CIR asked if I had any queries for the panel so I took the opportunity to find out about her experience as a CIR and we had a good chat about what she found were the most effective teaching methods (she taught a few classes on the side) and what food-related activities or clubs there may be that I could be involved in.
I then thanked them for their time but it was a little bit awkward leaving because I was kind of just dismissed and no one apart from the CIR proceeded to stand up or walk me out so I pretty much just got up, thanked them again and left. And in my last attempt to be 元気, I gave them a big exaggerated wave.
I prepared for over a month, brainstorming answers for any possible questions and scenarios, not to mention countless hours talking aloud to myself in the car to and from work. I didn’t expect my interview to be so generic though, so looking back I felt I probably over-prepared and was disappointed that I didn’t get to say a lot of what I had planned to. I’ve spoken with other applicants who interviewed at the same location and they had completely different experiences to mine, so it only shows that every situation really is different and you can only prepare so much. I didn’t make them laugh, I don’t think I was as genki as I would have liked to have been, and I probably rambled on and used my hands wayyy more than I should have. So I really have no clue as to what they thought about me. They definitely didn’t give anything away!
Ahhh I hope they liked me! Please like me!
I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Fingers Crossed.