The role of a JET Programme ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) is always varied and often interesting; being able to tackle unexpected tasks with abundant energy and a smile is essential to making the most of the job. Recently, Yosano’s JETs have helped to give tours of the town, trained local police, and even undertaken some Kimono modelling. (Not as easy as it might appear.) The fact that ALTs are often publicly visible at all times can have its challenges, but at the same time one of the most rewarding aspects of the job is being so embedded in the community. Yosano’s ALTs take part in various community events, but one of the most important is the monthly English Conversation Circle (ECC). Open to all, the ECC usually takes the form of an informal English class, but past activities have included Halloween pumpkin-carving, cake decorating, and an obligatory summer barbecue. The ECC is primarily about learning English, but it is also an opportunity for ALTs to share their culture and form bonds with the community. Many past ALTs have said that being a part of the ECC was a highlight of their time in Yosano, and past ALTs often drop by an ECC evening if they are in town. Whilst not technically part of the ALT’s job description, participating the ECC is one of best ways ALTs can foster cultural connections and exchange - which is, after all, the basis of the JET programme. Long may it continue.
ECC classes are held one one Wednesday every month, usually at Kaya Town Hall. New members are always welcome. The Board of Education can be contacted for details.