This study aims to gain understanding of Assistant Language Teachers’ (ALTs) experiences on the Japan Exchange Teaching Program (JET Program) through their stories. More specifically, it aims to understand how ALTs negotiate their layered identities and to explore the reality of the JET Program in contrast to its officially stated purposes. I conducted and transcribed interviews with seven current ALTs and recent JET Program alumni. I then coded the transcripts to both share participant’s unique experiences and find emerging themes across stories. Commonalities were found in ALTs encountering inconsistent expectations, experiencing a reality that did not correlate with the official purpose of the JET Program, and depending on fellow ALTs filling in gaps left by JET Program training. This study recommends that the JET Program to create guidelines regarding the roles of ALTs, improve team-teaching training, clarify its purpose, support community involvement, and provide information regarding identity negotiation.
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