Janette B. Fuller - Inspiring Educator and Author


Q: When (how long) and where were you in Japan?

A: I was in Japan for two years – from July 2002 to July 2004. Fukuoka was home away from home.

Q: How was your time in Japan?

A: It was a learning experience. I got the chance to explore the culture of Japan and have come to an appreciation of it. This is a culture that in many ways, at that time, was quite foreign to me. In addition, Japan, being the gateway to Asia, allowed me to explore much of Asia. Overall, my time in Japan may be described as being enlightening.

Q: Give us a synopsis of your books and your blog?

A: I have completed and published three books. The first book is titled: Investing in Our Success: A glimpse into our world. It is the story of Jamaicans making lemonade with the lemons that life has given them, metaphorically speaking, and thriving as a result. The second book is titled: The Teacher’s Gift. This book takes the reader on a journey into the life of a teacher – how she’s made, how she gets the best from her students and how she achieves work-life balance. MY OWN BIG WOMAN tells the story of two sisters who live together and are fighting their own demons. My blog, www.janettebfuller.com is a work in progress and hosts a number of articles about writing, with a few short stories and poems tossed in. It is a blog for readers who have an interest writing and reading.

Q: What motivated you to start writing?

A: Writing is one of my gifts, I think. I love books. I love stories and I discovered at an early age that I had a knack for writing stories that people enjoyed. I finally found some time in my adulthood to write and have been enjoying the process as well as the products of writing.

Q: Who is/are your target reader(s)?

A: My target readers for the books I have already published are adults. The Teacher’s Gift is specifically for teachers, whether in training or seasoned in the profession, but people with an interest in education may also read it. My target audience for Investing in our success are Jamaicans who are on their journey to achieve their dreams and for people who want to learn about the ingredients of the success that many Jamaicans have achieved in all spheres of life. People from all nationalities may recognize themselves in the stories that the book tells. MY OWN BIG WOMAN explores how a relationship between siblings is affected by the dreaded disease of dementia. So, as you can see, the themes in my books vary, depending on the topics that I explore.

Q: How has your experience in Japan contributed to your content?

A: The Teacher’s Gift was inspired by the experiences of teaching that I had in Jamaica, Japan and in the Turks and Caicos Islands. These experiences drove home to me the idea that teaching is more than imparting knowledge. It requires a number of skills, one of which is the ability to tailor lessons to students who are never alike, not even if they share the same context. Therefore, I wrote a book about the skills the teacher possesses which give her the ability to help her students develop their thinking skills to learn the content that she shares with them and to apply the knowledge of the content that they receive to real world contexts. I refer to this ability as "The Teacher's Gift".

Q: Do you have any plans for any more books?

A: Yes. I have one finished book for students 9 to 13 years of age which I will publish soon, an unfinished novel, another book about education, plus lots of ideas running around in my head which I will tame one day, given time.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in going to Japan on the JET Programme?

A: Go! You will gain educational, cultural, financial and other benefits from the experience.

Q: What advice would you give to someone about to return or who has recently returned to Jamaica from Japan?

A: Be wary of reverse culture shock. Jamaica would have changed in a number of ways since you left. You would have been changed in a number of ways by your experience in Japan. Having arrived home, you need to work hard to reconcile the two different realities to find space to thrive.

Q: Would you return to live in Japan? Why or why not?

A: Yes. For another short spell, probably working in a university setting. I would love to revisit Fukuoka, visit the places that I once visited to see the changes that have been taking place there.


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