AATJ Teacher Awards

The AATJ Teacher Awards recognize outstanding teachers who demonstrate excellence in teaching, advocacy, and leadership in Japanese education both locally and regionally. AATJ presents the awards to the recipients at the AATJ Awards Luncheon during the ACTFL Annual Convention each November.

Awards are given annually in two categories:
• K-12 Level Teacher Award
• Community College/College and University Level Teacher Award

Individuals may submit nominations using the Teacher Award Nomination Form. Upon receiving the nomination electronically, the Professional Development Director will contact the nominee, confirm the acceptance of the nomination, and request that the nominee complete an application form.

Candidates must have a minimum of three years’ teaching experience at the level for which they are nominated and also must hold a current membership in AATJ. If the nominator teaches Japanese (language, literature, culture, etc.) s/he must be a current member of AATJ as well. A non-member of AATJ (such as a principal, department chair, student or others) can also nominate a candidate. No AATJ board member is eligible as a nominee for these awards.

1. A completed application form.

2. Curriculum Vitae (not exceeding 3 pages, WORD or PDF), which includes professional development activities and contributions to the field.

3. Candidate’s essay (WORD or PDF) stating his/her teaching philosophy and long-range vision for Japanese (language, literature, culture, etc.) education in the US. No more than 500 words.

4. Three letters of recommendation, including one from the person who nominated the candidate, signed and scanned.

Guidelines for those who are nominating or recommending candidates for the award will be posted here by early April.

*All documents should be sent electronically to aatj@aatj.org by the deadline.

Nominations are due May 31. Candidate applications are due July 31.

The selection committee, which consists of three AATJ Board Members, examines dossiers submitted and chooses the recipients. Finalists may be contacted for a telephone interview.

The committee is interested in knowing the particular way in which a candidate demonstrated his or her abilities to best enhance the quality of teaching in large or small classes and/or as a guide for students in their independent projects.

The committee is concerned with the candidate’s rigor as a teacher and wants to know that the candidate has been doing not simply a good job but a distinguished one and his or her dedication and contributions to the students, to the school, or to the college and university has been an inspiration to students and colleagues.

The committee also wishes to know if the candidate has been instrumental and has shown leadership in the promotion of the study of Japanese (language, literature, culture, etc.) by keeping current with developments in the field beyond her(his) classroom such as:
K-12 Level: beyond her (his) own program (e.g., entire school, community, and regional level)
College and University Level: beyond her (his) own institution (e.g., community, state, and national level).

Recipients are notified on September 15.

An official letter from AATJ will be sent to the recipient’s Principal or Department Chair, and to the affiliate organization of the recipient. The announcement will be made in the AATJ Newsletter and on the AATJ Website. The 2017 winners were recognized at an Awards Ceremony at the AATJ Luncheon at the ACTFL Annual Conference and Language Exposition, held in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 18, 2017. AATJ will pay for the recipient’s ACTFL Conference registration and for a ticket to the AATJ Luncheon; however, travel and lodging expenses for the conference must be covered by the award recipient or his/her school.


The 2017 AATJ Teacher Awards were presented on November 18, 2017, to Julie Cain and Tomoko Graham (both from K-12 level), during the annual AATJ Awards Luncheon. Please CLICK HERE FOR PROFILES AND PHOTOS OF THE 2017 AWARD RECIPIENTS.