Ask Ibaraki JET PAs #019

Question:

My JTE friend is complaining to me about another ALT they work with. I want to help. What should I do?

Answer:

Answered by: Emily

It’s too bad that you’re getting stuck in the middle of a conflict between another JTE and ALT. It sounds like the JTE came to you as a friend, so it’s understandable that you want to help, but getting in the middle of another ALT and JTE’s relationship is likely to cause more harm than good. If the JTE is looking for advice and you feel that you’d really like to help, one thing you could do is share some general information from your own ALT experience. The spring term can be a difficult time for both JTEs and ALTs as they adjust to new students and new team-teachers.  If you share some thoughts about your typical “ALT beginning-of-year challenges”, and what things tend to be helpful to you in overcoming them, it could give the JTE a chance to think about their situation from an ALT’s perspective. While your situation may be quite different from your JTE friend’s, something you say might give them an idea about how to communicate with their ALT, or about what information the ALT might need to do their job better.

You also shouldn’t feel pressured to give advice or get involved though, if you don’t want to. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of that JTE and ALT to figure out how to work well together. If you’re not comfortable listening to the JTE talk about another ALT, it’s okay to say that you don’t think this is something you can help with, and suggest that the JTE talk to the ALT directly. You don’t have to get in the middle of their relationship, nor should you.

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