Friday, November 24, 2006


A few weeks ago I had a pretty bad day at school. Most of my day I
carry a positive attitude and am surrounded by people who do the same.
Last week as I came into school our Title One teacher stopped me in
the hallway and held up a magazine. She said, "Have you seen this?"
Yes, yes I had. UW-Milwaukee had sent me a few copies, not to mention
that I was quoted in the article. The school of Education had decided
last year to run a story on myself and my friend, Elina. We had both
gotten our degrees at the same time and both decided to take our
teaching overseas. She had gone to Japan and I went to Egypt.

To the point. The article was a source of pride for my school, as it
should be. I was proud, but I am naturally a humble person. So I
didn't tell anyone and didn't want the attention. Word spread around
school and soon all the teachers and students knew. I didn't plan to
stay this coming year. I wasn't ready to tell everyone and wasn't happy
to be found out. In the article it states that I am going to teach
in Thailand. This is not entirely accurate. I do plan to go abroad
again, but I cannot be certain where. At the time I answered the
journalist's questions I thought I might go to Thailand. I was looking
at a Catholic high school in Bangkok and had some friends that were
heading that way as well. By the end of the summer that notion had
fallen through and a new one had taken its place.

A few days ago I mailed in my application to the JET program
( I am applying for a position
as an Assistant Language Teacher. I am supposed to be placed in a
public school in Japan. ALTs assist with classes taught by Japanese
Teachers of English. This could involve team teaching or something
like that. I would probably have to assist in the preparation of
materials and hold extra-curricular activities, but not actually be in
charge of the class, which is good and bad. I'm sure that I will miss
holding the reins, but in a way it is a really good thing too.
Currently I am pursuing my Master's in Education through UW-STOUT’s
internet program. I a currently doing this while teaching full time and also working a
part-time job (8-20hrs) on the weekend. It is very tough. It is my
understanding that the ALT position is more like an 80% position. This
seems like a perfect fit. I get to go overseas, keep teaching, and
pursue my Master's. Although I still don't know if I have been
accepted to JET.

I only made two requests on my application, to be in a city of more
than 500,000 and to be placed near Elina. It is always nice to have
friends near to you. Plus the fact that I am actually licensed to
teach must be a huge plus. You don't actually have to be a licensed
teacher to be considered for a position, or even have a degree in
education. All you need is a Bachelors degree and numerous application
materials to be considered. Most of the application is something that
makes sense to me. Routine information like proof of citizenry and a
mission statement. One odd thing was the letters of reference. The
reference writers had to mention JET specifically in the letter. Then
they had to sign that letter. Then they had to fill out a reference
writer information sheet and sign that. Then they had to take those
two signed documents, seal them in an envelope and sign the seal of
the envelope. The level of security seemed a bit much to me. After I
sent out the application I had a little panic attack because I thought
I had missed one thing and the directions state that everything must
be sent in one package and will not be accepted otherwise. Everything
turned out ok, but it jolted me into thinking about what will happen
if I am not accepted.

A few weeks ago when my uncle Hans was visiting he asked where I was
going next year and then suggested Alaska. I balked initially, but in
the next few days and weeks the idea gestated in my head. When for a
brief moment I thought I had botched my JET application I checked in
to teaching in Alaska. It seems as though teachers are needed. One
site I looked at estimated a starting teacher’s salary at 52,000. I
searched for openings and job fair information and it was all very
interesting. To check out Alaska's Education site look at
( Although the moment of panic has lapsed
Alaska is still in my mind and is now my secondary choice if for some
reason things don't work out with the JET program. So in the coming year I will end up in Alaska, Japan, or maybe somewhere else. Certain things I prefer, but it really makes no difference as long as I can keep teaching. While I am certain I am uncertain. My place is held by a shoestring. My life is lead by the blind desire to keep moving forward.