Hi! My name is Annette Lee. It’s nice to meet you.

If you have an interest teaching English in Japanese schools, I will share my story of how I made my dream of coming to Japan a reality. It actually started in the early 2000s when I was a university intern student, working for a startup IT company. This was through the Hyogo Business & Cultural Center, and I was placed to work for Sohatsu Systems, located in Kobe city. I helped design the company’s English website. I had a love for technology as Japan, at that time, was economically #2 in the world!

On the other hand, I was also curious about the possibility of teaching in a Japanese school. What was it like and will it be fun? I’m Asian American and I had always wondered what it would be like to be with other Asians who looked just like me and shared similar Asian culture and customs. Although, Japan is uniquely different, and I had learned a lot! I used to be fascinated in watching Japanese TV drama shows, particularly if the characters’ story involves being in a Japanese school.

I had applied for the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) program several times and once, a Nova recruiter had told me I’m more suitable for JET. I was finally accepted on JET in 2004 and was employed at Kasai City Board of Education in Hyogo Prefecture. My first year of teaching in a Japanese school was rough! I was young and inexperienced, expecting my JTEs to lead and not me. JET is notoriously famous for every situation is different (ESID).

Other than JET, I had the opportunity to work for Interac. I was first hired domestically and later, internationally. The early days of Interac, they seemed to be a pretty good company to work for. There were other dispatch companies I had worked for too. Now, I prefer the return on “JET-vestment” and advise newcomers to go this route because of its two-way merits.

I did land several direct hire ALT jobs, including a private JHS/HS, in Osaka Prefecture from 2012 to 2020. This was about the time frame, I started my Eigo Ganbare website, but technically it was established in 2010. Eigo Ganbare has evolved throughout the years, but the vision remains the same. Japanese schools have unique challenges like the lack of quality educational resources that focus on team-teaching and ALTs having restrictions to be able to plan effective lessons. Though, the root of Eigo Ganbare’s vision was all about bridging an equitable English education to all students + ALTs who can share their country’ culture/customs. Basically, I have a similar concept as the NPO of eboard!!

Well, I already returned to the U.S. and I still have no clue about certain things, like how to look for grants or register as an NPO to support this project. I will try to seek for grants and someone who can offer me some advice, but I will also need your help in advocating your employer to open their wallet. I don’t think employers should burden the cost on you if something is work-related. I also like to have the freedom to develop quality innovative team-teaching ideas! Thus, social-economically disadvantage/middle class students in Japan can reach their fullest potential of attaining quality education and their school’s introduction to EdTech. 全員参加で楽しくガンバロウ。

If you can, please contribute!