At the start of the 2014-2015 AJET National Council term, the Council developed the following seven overarching goals to guide its direction throughout the year. Below is an assessment of how the Council has performed in relation to each of these goals.
1. Increase financial transparency and sustainability
Tightened accounting system, with physical proof of need for reimbursement
Ceased income streams from advertising, sponsorships, and publications income
Researched more sustainable means of funding such as grants and member donations
Limited expenditure solely to funding key AJET services such as the AJET Peer Support Group (PSG), ajet.net, SurveyMonkey, Xero, and Campaign Monitor
Emptied storage locker used for surplus stock of publications, leading to a 20,000 yen per month savings. Publications were donated to the JET community and Boards of Education
2. Increase offers and discounts for JETs
Completely reconstructed of the AJET partnership system. Where previously monetary payments were requested from sponsors in return for advertising in various AJET social media (e.g. Facebook, Connect magazine, ajet.net), the 2014-2015 AJET National Council abandoned this system and offered free advertising in return for greater discounts and giveaways for JETs.
Secured 8 new partnerships on top of the previous 3 partnerships who continued with us with our new system.
10 giveaways from 5 companies were executed across the 11 AJET Blocks, resulting in 238 of JET Programme participants winning free items this AJET year.
74 Applications for the Outstanding Educators Program ITTT TEFL Discount were processed, awarding approximately 930,000 yen worth of discounts for TEFL certification training to the JET community between 2014 and 2015.
3. Build new and better resources for JETs
Recruited JETs to write new informational articles for our website. The goal was to ensure that most of the information for the National AJET website came directly from JET Programme participants, which proved successful.
Overhauled existing resources on the AJET website, leading to an updating and revision of existing information such as resources related to driving and cell phones in Japan.
Constructed a new database and repository of lesson plans, materials, resources, and URL links to AJET and non-AJET content providers throughout the internet. The database and repository are powered by Google Drive until a more suitable option is developed.
Cemented agreement between JALT and National AJET to provide a discount on JET members’ initial membership fees to join JALT, and there is an introductory package being developed to provide new JETs with information, tips, and materials useful in educational classrooms.
Established professional development partnership with the Belizean International Symposium on Education to provide on-going invitations to JET participants to speak at their annual 3-day conference at the beginning of January.
Other successful projects include creating the AJET PRO Tips series of articles providing professional and educational development tips for JET Programme participants.
4. Revamp website for improved accessibility
Successfully redesigned and overhauled the AJET website, ajet.net.This goal was carried on from the previous AJET National Council and has been met successfully this 2014-2015 AJET year. After 7 months of work from 2 webmasters, the new ajet.net website was launched on December 15, 2014. Over 5 months, the revamped website has attracted 91,480 page visits. Currently, ajet.net receives an average of 18,296 visits per month.
Improved accessibility through the use of easy-to-navigate and logically structured tabs. Almost all pages on the ajet.net website can be found directly from the homepage. The site is also now fully responsive, making it viewable and usable on a variety of mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.
5. Broadcast through an active and inclusive YouTube channel
Published “Welcome to AJET”, the first welcome video from National AJET, which has received over 3000 views.
Published 8 videos this AJET year, distributed throughout the 3 newly-started channels: JETLife, about life as a JET; JETTeach, for English teaching; and JETTalk, recordings of AJET talks, professional development calls, and conferences.
Increased subscriber count to over 100 by the end of the current AJET council year
6. Recreate Tatami Timeshare for travelling JETs
With the help of Hokkaido AJET, officially launched Tatami Timeshare nationwide on March 18, 2015; more than 187 of JETs across 41 prefectures have registered for this renewed project
7. Strengthen relationships with JETAA and JET alumni
Established the new Director of Alumni Relations position; the new DoAR personally liaised with 59 JETAA chapters
Established the “Spotlight on JETAA series” on ajet.net
Introduced the new Middle East JETAA chapter to the JET community
Officially partnered with JETwit to provide support for both current and alumni JET Programme participants.
Created the AJET Job Listings Facebook group, which, created on February 12th, reached over 550 members by end of May 2015.
Other successful projects include contacting 59 JETAA branches about promoting AJET and the establishment of the DOAR position, promoting JETAA to current JET Programme Participants, holding two official networking events, establishing a series of ‘Spotlight on JETAA’ articles, and introducing a new Middle East JETAA chapter to AJET.
In addition to goals at the organisational level, each Council member also developed their own goals for what they wanted to achieve in their respective roles. Below is a summary of some of the key achievements of the 2014-2015 AJET National Council:
Revised human resources procedures for maintaining AJET volunteers spreadsheet and wrote standard for using the spreadsheet to secure volunteers for projects.
Created standard for professional development audio and video self-recordings in response to low-interest in professional development conference calls.
Created Thought Repository for AJET Personnel to track projects
Organized giveaway with Cooori, which provided free 2-month subscriptions to 150 JETs
Organized giveaway with Stone Bridge Press, which gave 11 free e-books to JETs
Established a new American JETs group on Facebook, to help JET participants from the United States collaborate information and receive American-specific information.
Re-establishment of AJET Awards, with three awards given this year:
National AJET Excellence in Team Teaching Award: recognises extraordinary Japanese professional teachers and JET Programme participants who have made exceptional efforts through team teaching to improve the language education of their students.
National AJET Internationalisation Award: recognises members of the JET community who have made a positive impact towards increasing international awareness in Japan. This includes creating internationalisation events, the creation of English clubs in schools, starting sports teams or interest groups, or by otherwise devoting their time and effort to internationalisation in their local communities.
National AJET Goodwill Ambassador Award: seeks to recognise individuals who truly “bring” Japan home with them. Examples could include organizsed events, penpal efforts, starting a taiko group, art project, a gallery exhibit of pieces from Japanese artists, and more.
Compiled JET-related Facebook groups, JET blogs, and JET vlogs, with a central database hosted on the AJET website.
Formed two new Special Interests Groups (SIGs): ¡Hola!JETs, for JET participants of Latino or Hispanic descent, and Gluten-Free JETs, a support group for JET participants with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Facilitated the Cricket Workshop for JETs in Tokyo organised by Japan Cricket Association in collaboration with National AJET (January 2015)
Reformed the council structure. Detached secondary positions from the Block Representatives and established them as appointed positions, in preparation for the incoming 2015-2016 AJET National Council, The purpose is to make for a more manageable workload for Council members and involve a greater number of the JET community.
For the first time in AJET history, achieved a statistically significant response rate of 25% or above on both winter and spring surveys, allowing for more accurate representation of the needs and opinions of the JET Programme community.
Spring, after months of cold up throughout most of Japan, the pink sight of the cherry blossoms welcome a new season of warmth and adventure. What better way to welcome the warmer weather than with the May issue of Connect? We've got articles galore of new Fashion, Running, Travel guide for your Golden Week, and the latest Releases in Entertainment. But with summer comes the Farewell of Sweet Potatoes and Snow, so read on for our tribute to them. Note: reading our fresh content with a side of murasaki imo ice cream is the best way to enjoy your day.