Currently I teach second graders of a junior high school in Japan. Maybe it sounds familiar to you, saying eighth graders. Since mandatory education is by junior high school, career education is very important at junior high schools here. In reality, even though almost all students study at high schools as well, we, teachers, should help them being independent enough to choose their own career path.
Prefectural Based Entry
In most cases, Japanese junior high school students choose high schools they want to go from high schools in their prefecture. There are public schools and private schools. As you know most likely public schools are cheaper and private schools and private schools have unique curriculum or features. It depends on each prefecture; which schools are popular, but in my place, public schools are more popular. Actually, private schools are getting bigger options for many students, and it is remarkable that public has more popularity.
Entrance Examinations and Required Documents
When a student decided to go to a high school, they have to pass the entrance examination. Generally, he/she has to do three things; sending own resume, taking a paper test and taking an interview test.
- Sending Resume
Junior high schools publish students’ resume. It shows their grade and attitudes at school. It is recorded for three years, from their entrance to graduation, and sometimes it is more important than the result of the entrance examinations. So some students really care of it and beg teachers not giving a bad grade as a joke. In that sense, teachers have some power. Also, in some subjects, like physical education or music, students do not take tests for entrance examinations. School grade of those subject has a big meaning to measure their skills of the subjects.
- Entrance Examination
It is a critical factor of the result of entrance examinations. Depending on each high school though, students take three or five subjects; Japanese, English and math, plus science and social studies. The first three subjects are regarded very important. I teach English at my school and as we started career education from November, more students are motivated to learn my subject.
- Interview Test
Students often take interview tests too. Good attitude of interview tests should be different that of in European countries. In Japan, “form” is very important. Students show polite and “correct” manner throughout the interview. They have to learn how to bow and how to open the door too. Surely, content, like their personality and what they speak, is important, we cannot miss good manner to win good impression. When I was a college student, I learned the differences “good attitudes” of interview tests by watching a video. Unlike people should show who they are in European countries, in Japan people should show how appropriate we are socially.