After months of waiting in anticipation, it's a great feeling to know that the JET interview is behind you. At this point you really get an idea of how you've done â€“ of how good your chances are of going on a Japanese adventure as an assistant language teacher. At this stage you've hopefully followed the preparation advice contained in Part 1 of this series of articles, you've been on your best behavior upon arrival at the Embassy as advised in Part 2 and you've had a stellar interview by following the interview tips contained in Part 3.
The Hardest Part Is Over
Once the initial JET application process and the interview are behind you â€“ and all that lies ahead is the language proficiency test and a well deserved nap. Or drink. Or happy dance. Just don't do any of these three at the Embassy, wait to leave the premises before you start with your Western world shenanigans.
Why no in depth mention of the language proficiency test? Why no tips on the type of questions to expect? This is simple â€“ for anyone with a TEFL certificate or above average level of English skills, the only way that you will fail the proficiency test is if you fall asleep on the paper and drool so much that the ink becomes illegible. While this may be an exaggeration, the point is â€“ the test is not hard. It may be different depending on what country you're in, but if you are good at English you will pass. Your job in Japan will be that of a cultural ambassador and teaching assistant. You (and your first language speaking skills) bring authenticity into the classroom, you are not required to be a qualified teacher â€“ the actual teacher takes that honor. And make no mistake, in Japan â€“ it is an honor. If you were going to teach on your own, a teaching qualification would be necessary.
There is certainly no harm in gaining a TEFL qualification to sharpen your skills and feel more comfortable in the teaching environment, but if you have no intention of continuing your career as a travelling teacher and just plan on doing the JET Programme and returning home, then a TEFL qualification is not essential â€“ and definitely not needed to pass the language proficiency test.
Some people like to phone or write to the Embassy representative thanking them for the opportunity to be interviewed â€“ but this can be seen as trying too hard, or as they say in America â€“ being a "kiss ass" (don't ever teach that to your students). If you would like to make an extra impression, phone the Embassy and ask a valid question â€“ maybe ask about the expected dates that successful candidates will be notified. But in all honesty, you've done all you can do â€“ the interviews have been logged, the results have been sent to Japan, and no one is going to say "Stop! We need to add one more, he gave me such a friendly phone call!"If you've followed the advice given in parts 1 (The Build Up), 2 (The Japanese Embassy) and 3 (The Interview) of this guide, then you can save you're follow up calls and thank you notes for when you receive that call telling you that you've been selected to go to Japan. Then there will be nothing left to do but pat yourself on the back for a job well done and enjoy the awesome experience of immersing yourself in the land of the rising sun.