“It depends on you.”
JTE stands for Japanese teacher of English, and at my school I work with six. One of them keeps telling me that: “It depends on you.” When I asked him about a plan for a lesson and how well it would work if executed a particular way, that was his reply. While he was only talking about the lesson, I can’t help but think that it refers to my entire experience and time in Japan. The experience that I have, the opportunities I get and whether I have a good time or not all depend on me.
I’m worried because of how tough it’s been for me to get to know my coworkers, even though I see them everyday. Part of it is the language barrier, but another part is just how far outside my comfort zone can I push myself? How far will I push myself? Coming to Japan is step 1, but now what happens? Last week I went on a ski trip with my students and that was fun. Not only did I learn how to ski, but I was able to see my students in a completely different context. They weren’t shy or exhausted from trying to communicate in English, they were teaching me how to ski down the bunny slopes!
I felt good about asking to go on the trip because it was fun, and I think it helped me get to know the students a bit better. That being said, I still struggle with gaining the courage to ask for the things that I would like to, but I think that not asking would be an even greater risk.