Getting the most out of JET

For the past 5 years I've been giving presentations at JET orientations and seminars showing people why I truly believe the JET programme is the best job in the world.

You have to see the speech live to really get the energy behind it, but I was asked to write a few of the parts down. So hear you go, a sample of the famous "Genki Speech"!

Be genki,


Apart from being a movie star or record producer, being a JET is the best job in the World. You get flown out to an amazing country, usually have a house and everything sorted out for you, your job is to just be yourself, to teach, to inspire, to entertain and to enjoy. And best of all you get paid a whacking great load of money for it!

But it's not something that's handed to you on a plate. There really isn't any "JET programme" or people in charge as such. It's you and a town. It's not "Every situation is different" - it's "Every situation is what you make it"! You'll have the worst days of your life. But you'll also have memories and magic experiences that you could never imagine, and would never trade for anything in the World. The balance of this bad and good is up to you, just like any job "What you put in is what you get out", only a thousand times more so.

You'll soon learn the word "genki", "energetic, full of life, positive", that's what you'll need. Just keep positive, keep looking up and you'll have the experience of your life.

Your job isn't to teach English. It might seem that way, but read the fine print. Read what it says the purpose of the programme is. It's "local level international understanding". That all sounds very vague, but you'll soon see what it means. The real aim of the JET programme is to show kids people from the world, to get them used to working with people of different races, different backgrounds and different view points. They'll do this by staring at you in the street, by peering in your shopping basket, but also by inviting you to till their fields, to help catch their fish, and to drink their beer.

I was always told there are 3 ministries that are involved, so your job is split into three. 33% is to teach English. 33% is just to be a foreigner, to be the ambassador for your country, to be the one stared on the train, the one to bring Japan into the 21st century. And 33% is to enjoy yourself, so you have an amazing experience and come home to tell everyone what an amazing place Japan is.

Wherever you are, and whatever you do it's the kids who get the most from it. Whether they are 6 or 16, they'll see you as an inspiration, as someone with get-up-and-go, because as far as they're concerned you got-up-and-went all the way over to their town, village or city just to teach them English. Can you imagine how special that is? Japanese kids don't have role models ( how many famous Japanese people can you think of?), but that's what you'll be. You can't teach English in an hour a week, but you can inspire the kids to learn, to go out into the world and find out all the amazing things they can do. It will seem hard, everyday, when it's cold and when it's rainy, but when you leave JET and get a letter from the scruffy little kid at the back saying how you inspired them to travel around the World,
then that's where you'll see the amazing power you'll have to influence the lives of your students.

So go out there with a positive mind, ready to take on anything, enjoy yourself to the limit, always keep looking up at the stars and remember the life changing effect you'll have on your students. And above all, always Be Genki!!

Richard Graham

Sign up to get my top tips, games & hints via email!

Copyright (C) 1999/2021 by Richard Graham
Main Menu -|- Games -|- Songs -|- Buy the Set -|- Curriculum -|- Help/Advice -|- About the site -|- Contact Me