JETAA Great Lakes (US-17)
- JETAA USA Country Representative (2018-Present)
- National Conference Detroit (GLJETAA President and NatCon Organizer-2015)
- GLJETAA President (2012-2016)
- GLJETAA Secretary (2017-current)
- JTAM (Japanese Teachers Association of Michigan)
Positions held: Secretary, Vice President, President (2000-present)
My name is Faye Valtadoros. I was a JET participant from 1998-2000, in Kagawa-ken, teaching at one junior high school, four elementaries and four kindergartens. Since my return home to Michigan, I have been teaching Japanese to high school students and hope to continue my job of teaching and showing my love for Japan to my students.
As an educator, I am a huge advocate of exchange programs. At my high school, I have a strong and unique program with Chiba Higashi High School whereby they send 16 students to Clarkston for a week annually. The students create presentations on Japanese culture in English for my students. Each Japanese student does a home-stay with their counterparts from Clarkston . They are able to experience American life, organically. The friendships that I have seen formed, continued and strengthened, even 12 years later, is so heart warming for me. My students and I reciprocate the exchange by going to Japan every other year, with my students giving presentations on American life, in Japanese. They also do home stays with their counterparts in Japan. This exchange program, not only continues to strengthen that bond between the United States and Japan, it dispels any stereotypes that either my students or the Japanese students might have about each other and their respective cultures.
This is why I want to focus on education as your Country Rep. There are so many individuals who go on JET and have a teaching degree, and then come back and their time on JET goes to the back burner. Teaching here in America is so different from teaching in Japan. I learned the hard way when I started teaching here. I want to connect these educators and create a Facebook page to help support them, as well as supporting those who are coming back from JET and going into education. Education is an essential part not only for our society, but also for educating our future about the JET program and Japan.
I have held the position of President of GLJETAA. Leading GLJETAA for a few years brought its challenges, but also many accomplishments. We had many issues with low member involvement likely due to spotty coverage over multiple state chapters, Getting a strong representative in Ohio helped to get Ohio members more involved and interested in JETAA.
Another personal accomplishment was spearheading and organizing the National Conference in Detroit. Preparing for NatCon is not an easy feat, but with the help of CLAIR, our amazing and supportive Country Reps, we did it. It was a great conference! In a city that many thought would never would recover and rebuild. In a chapter, that has had its ups and downs, it was great to bring JETAA members out to help run the three day conference. In preparation for NatCon, people communicated the desire for some form of Japanese entertainment, I was able to organize a few events as a result of this feedback:
- A surprise Taiko concert by a fellow JETAA member
- A “Detroit-themed” dinner at a local non-profit restaurant to play out the theme of “one non-profit helping another”.
- A scavenger hunt around Detroit!
The outcome of the whole weekend in the pictures was amazing and brought the group so much joy and happiness.
Since I was elected as Country Rep last year, I was able to help Denver organize an amazing NatCon. I also started a Facebook page for JETAA members, who are now in the education field (https://www.facebook.com/groups/234796977200271/). I have had the joy of visiting the NOLA JETAA, and visit with their members and president and talk about the chapter, answer questions, and most importantly letting them know I’m there for them, as I am for all of the US chapters.
This year I learned a lot being in this position. I feel more ready than ever to continue as your Country Rep, and wish to help every one of the chapters, in anyway I can. I look forward to helping organizing NatCon 2019, I look forward to meeting more chapter leaders, and most importantly, continuing to support JETAAUSA.
To view Faye Valtadoros’ CR Endorsements, see below: