Former GIs overseas can teach

In regard to the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program (“Japan questions worth of exchange program,” article, Aug. 3, Pacific edition): The Japanese government is onto something here, but they are doing it the wrong way. Importing young, inexperienced college students (often not graduates) whose discipline is often far from teaching [to teach English to Japan’s residents] is a financial risk. There are plenty of civilian Americans like me who are prior military, married to a local national and staying in Japan. In the U.S., the Troops to Teachers program is doing well. Why limit that to America?

The costs affiliated with housing and plane tickets could be cut immediately by hiring someone in country. Even greater is the reduced learning curve of the local language. The majority of folks staying in Japan with their Japanese spouses (and especially those, like me, with children) have enough foreign language skills to engage in an actual conversation — a skill that can take the average JET participant at least six months to catch up to.

Luckily for me, I already have a great job where Japanese language skills are a nicety and not a necessity. But for our great servicemen and women leaving the military and staying in country who might not be so lucky, they should get first chance at these jobs.

Jerry Carroll

Misawa Air Base, Japan

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