Ah, the jikoshoukai… Ask any JET about theirs and they could probably recite it to you by heart, word for word. At least I know I could (though I wouldn’t want to) because I’ve given mine 16 times as of today, so I’ve just about memorized every single slide.
In English, jikoshoukai (自己紹介) means self-introduction. Every new JET is expected to give a jikoshoukai, or introductory presentation, to each class during their first week, as a way for students to get to know more about their new English teacher and his/her cultural background.
Every JET’s intro is different, of course, but intros tend to include the same content: interesting facts about said JET`s home country/home town, pictures of friends and family members, hobbies, interests, future plans, etc. My self-intro included all of those, and I also talked about going to UCLA and what I studied since I just graduated in June.
I included lots of quiz-type questions throughout the PowerPoint to keep the students engaged, like how old am I? and What is my favorite Japanese food? (the students were always surprised to hear that the answer is kabocha) and How old is my little brother? etc. At the end, I gave out the no. 2 pencils I`d bought at Target months ago to students who were first to answer the questions correctly.
My presentation has usually lasted about 25 minutes, which is only about half of the class period, so there’s plenty of time for students to ask me questions afterwards. I’ve gotten the same questions for the most part – favorite color, favorite actor, favorite animal, favorite sport… But I’ve had a few particularly memorable ones too. Like, What would you do if you were President? or What`s your favorite kind of building? or Do you have a favorite train? or How big is an American hamburger in comparison to a Japanese hamburger? And my favorite question by far was: Do you prefer animes that were released in the Heisei Period (the current era in Japan) or the Showa Period? (Sadly, I was unable to provide an answer to that question, to the student’s dismay.)
Today was the last day that I had to present my self-introduction, which I admit I’m pretty happy about. Though I’ve enjoyed telling my new students a little bit more about myself and where I come from, it’ll be nice to not have to explain that my university is called UCLA, and not Mr. Bear University, for the 17th time.