It’s January and for JETs like myself that means it’s time for Self-Evaluation. I was approached in mid-December with the notion of having to fill out a self-evaluation form and turn it in to my superiors. I knew the evaluation was this month but I wasn’t sure when. My JTE came up to me this week and handed me the form and said I needed to fill it out…in Japanese.
Self-evaluation is a healthy thing and helps you to improve yourself. Now, capturing it in words can be a challenge even in your own language especially if it’s for your boss; the task is even harder when you have to write your thoughts in Japanese. I took this as a challenge and got out my dictionary. About twenty minutes later I had about twelve sentences that even had kanji in them.
Needless to say, I was quite proud that I had been able to express my short comings, strengths, and goals by using elementary Japanese. When I showed my JTE the form she acted Japanese and said it was really good and how she was impressed I did it. …..then she started picking it apart and correcting it. I was thankful for the help, but a little distraught by one of her comments: “Umm, a little more detail would be good.”
WHAT! I had enough trouble looking up Japanese words, kanji, and using correct grammar for simple sentences!
This is what I thought at least. I think I agreed but said it was hard to do in Japanese. She ran off to class and I was left with a copy of the form with red ink all over it; I felt like I was in Latin 101 all over again.
I erased the mistakes and added the corrections and when my JTE came back I made sure it was ok. It was.
I then found my kocho-sensei (principle) to turn in the form. I handed it to him expecting a “wow, you can’t even speak Japanese but you wrote the whole form in Japanese!” Nope. He put his hand in the air and made a writing action accompanied by the word “pen.”
Yes, I wrote the whole thing again in pen.
If anything, the self-evaluation taught me one thing: I need to improve my Japanese.