Advice from an Experienced Council Member
As a new JET year approaches, and the new AJET council are finding their feet, we thought we would take the time to ask one of our longest-serving council members about what exactly AJET does for you!
Martin Nash is based in a small village in the south of Nara, and hails originally from Seattle. This is his 3rd year on the national council and he has a wealth of experience under his belt. Starting two years ago as the webmaster, Martin is currently serving his second year as the national council treasurer.
‘There are only 25 kids at my biggest school,’ Martin writes, ‘so I have a lot of time to focus on AJET stuff. It works out great. My teachers at my school and my BOE are really supportive about my choice to be on AJET. If they weren’t, I probably wouldn’t be going into my third year now’.
To many, this might sound like a dream come true. We ask, how did Marty come to gain the support and respect of his colleagues?
‘Being part of AJET means I have access to information on what is happening throughout Japan. I relate these successes and learning opportunities to all those around me’. It becomes clear; Marty uses his contacts to encourage interaction between JETs and BOEs throughout the prefectures. After 3 years on the national council, he is able to truly understand the importance of constant meaningful communication between JETs, prefectures, blocks and the whole of Japan. In this way, we are able to share our experiences and contribute to the continuing development of the JET Programme. Through informing his colleagues of the work that other JETs and BOEs are doing, Martin is able to highlight the benefits of supporting JET organized activities.
However, promoting the JET programme is part of a much bigger picture for Martin. His interest in international exchange and communication started way back. ‘I volunteered with a high school exchange programme student group in the US’, Martin remembers. It was not long before he too would become part of the international exchange world that he used to volunteer for. Martin knew that when working for an organisation as rewarding as the JET programme, it is important to know its origins and aims. He told us ‘It’s interesting to see what happens at the higher levels of the JET programme’. Martin took the natural next step.
As an experienced council member, Martin has some advice for any JETs interested in joining the AJET ranks as a council member or volunteer.
‘It takes a lot of time and dedication to be a good council member. I’ve been working on that for three years and now I think I’m just finally starting to get the hang of it. If you want to get involved, you can work with your local AJET chapter or volunteer your services to the national council (Planet Eigo, translators, articles, JET Effect etc.). If you enjoy that, then why not consider running for a position on the council next year?’