I’ve been talking with other JETs lately, and especially we first year JETs are going through that ‘I have all these problems that I don’t know how to fix’ stage.

It isn’t necessarily because we have to or even should fix things that happen at school or in our lives as we live abroad teaching English. Sometimes we do have to let things go. But I admire those of us who still keep the ‘I can change something. I can make a difference.’ attitude. Sure, it is easier to become the ‘ugh I hate everything and nothing I do matters’ person every once in a while.

I think venting helps, and sharing our funny stories is definitely a way to relax and blow off steam. But this is just a stage in our journey and we should keep trucking on and learn from every situation.

I know JETs who have their teachers tell them what was good or bad about every single lesson. I know others who take the initiative and make their own AJET organizations. I know others still who have been JETs for a long time and who have grown numb to everything, the good and the bad.

We are teachers. Our work is hard. We are tasked with dealing with students who are still growing and learning. Some of them will sleep in our class. Some of them will fight during class. Some of them will ask why they have to learn English or why do they have to do a certain activity. Some will say they hate English.

Some will smile every time we see them. Some will tell us to be careful going home. Some will tell us that their favorite subject is English and that class is fun.

Life isn’t about the high of being happy. It isn’t about the low of being angry and frustrated.

It’s about living. Whatever that means to you.

Don’t worry about people on Facebook who have more fun than you. They aren’t having more fun than you. That’s a mask they put on.

Everyone is having the same experiences. Everyone wakes up on weekdays wishing they could sleep some more. Everyone gets home after work complaining about someone they had to deal with.

I read something one of my students wrote. It was hanging up in the hallway. It said:


It is hard to literally translate this into English. The word 「あたりまえ」 means of course, natural, something that is just accepted.

So the meaning is, ”Don’t take living for granted” or ”Don’t treat life as something you think you will always have”

I stared at that line for a long time.

We are here now and there are people who aren’t here anymore; haven’t been here for thousands of years.

Change the things you can. Try. Speak up. Go eat some ice cream without thinking twice about it. Make some good food. Talk to someone about your problems.

But move on. Get out of your bad mood.

Moods change.

You are the one who can change them.

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