Posted by: wesleysensei | November 6, 2008

Ghosts in Osato!!

Ok, it’s actually one ghost and his name is Steven. Steven was the ALT in Osato for four years and is a great guy. I had the chance to meet him before he left and he helped get me set up for the year; however, perhaps he was too good.

Before coming to Japan I read the General Information Handbook (GIH) to help prepare. One of the sections had short essays on topics like “Being a Male JET” or “Being a Rural Jet.” There was one though that definitely caught my eye: “Being Compared to Your Predecessor.” The topic talked about coming in after a lousy JET or after a SUPER JET; both were not good but the latter is certainly worse than the former.

Steven was likely a SUPER JET seeing how he was here for four years. In that time he became a better teacher and his Japanese became exceptional. When I arrived in August I was fresh out of college with zero Japanese under my belt. Since then I have gotten some experience teaching and have been studying Japanese. The bad news is that I’m still not at “Steven” level.

This week in particular has been somewhat difficult and quite possibly the worst week yet, but I won’t go into that. What I will mention though is that this week I finally accepted and noticed the number of times Steven keeps popping up.

1. His name is still on the seating chart for the staff room (I changed it yesterday by crossing it out and writing my name).

2. My JTE (has) called me Steven many times.

3. A student today called me Steven during the class greeting

4. Another JTE has been using a CD player instead of asking me to come to class

So yeah, maybe I’m done whining.

This is not meant to speaking badly about Steven. He was a great ALT and is a great guy.

Because of other frustrations this week I have recognized the ghost that lingers in Osato Junior High School: Steven



  1. Hey Wesley,
    That’s a tough situation to find yourself in. It’s a real balance between identifying yourself with your predecessor and trying to be drastically different and now. You’ve got your own bit of polish to bring to school, so you just have to roll with that. (Unless you plan on staying in Japan for four years!)

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