Advice for Talking to JTEs

If your experience is anything like mine, then your JTEs may be pretty skeptical about trying out something new — especially something as novel as a communication activity or class. So here is some advice I have for overcoming this hurdle based on my own experience. 

1) Come with a Plan

Actions speak louder than words and so do completed materials. If you are going to propose an idea make sure you have clear examples and explanations. Also make sure that you know exactly how long it will take and stick to that time schedule if your material is accepted. I remember writing up a plan several times before I went to my JTEs when I first started out as an ALT. If I couldn’t explain my idea in a few quick steps I would start over again. Doing this not only leads to a greater chance of success but also improves your skills in explaining your ideas clearly and succinctly.

2) Go to the JTE you are Closest with

If you have a natural connection with one of your JTEs, then this JTE is the one to start with whenever you have a new idea. Go to them first and ask them what they think. If they are already open to your ideas, then that is a foot in the door for you. If they say “no”, ask them for advice on how you could improve it. Personally, when I have a new idea I always want to go shouting from the rooftops and telling every teacher in the room about it. But I have to remind myself to start small and with those closest to me. It is a great strategy in general for spreading your ideas in organizations anywhere, large or small.

3) Brag about your Successes to other JTEs

It may seem cynical, but it’s really not if you have a material that is actually successful in motivating and teaching students. If you use a great communication material in class and it is a success, immediately go to the other JTEs and tell them about what you did and how it worked out great. If the material is proven to work in another class, JTEs will be more likely to want it.

4) Don’t give up

New ideas take time to take hold. Learn from any mistakes you make in your planning and presentation of an idea to JTEs and do it better next time. If your material doesn’t work out in one class, figure out how to make it work next time. Failure is okay as long as you are learning. The only time you actually fail is when you stop trying. If you are a champion for this idea of communication activities and materials and you don’t give up, eventually somebody is going to notice and your ideas are going to start gaining traction. It is inevitable.

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