If you’ve recently graduated from school and are at a crossroads in the beginning of your career, Teaching English in Japan might be worth looking in to. Believe it or not the English language learning industry is a multi-billion dollar that employs over 65,000 ESL teachers.
What’s Needed to Teach English in Japan
In order to get a job teaching English in Japan, you’ll need to be a college graduate from any field (sorry but two year degrees won’t cut it.) You also need to speak English at native level fluency. There’s some that do find teaching jobs in Japan although English is not their first language, but this is more an exception to the rule.You’ll also need a working visa in order to work legally in the country. Most employers will take care of this for you. Working visas are lovely for a year with extensions being from one to three years for U.S. citizens.
Another helpful trait is an interest in Japanese culture. When you fly tten thousend miles east things, get different quick. So having a desire to experience the Japanese culture is helpful. Not from the standpoint of getting a job but from the standpoint of enjoying the experience. Those who don’t have a natural curiosity or desire to experience Japanese culture usually don’t last that long.
What Isn’t Required to teach English in Japan
Contrary to what lots of think a TESL or TEFL certificate is not necessary in order to teach. Although it does help getting higher paying jobs. The massive majority of the large recruiters, the ones that have recruitment centers all over the world, don’t need TESL certification. Also because these massive recruiters pay the maximum wage, they also don’t need much teaching experience. In fact the bulk of this industry runs on recent grads.
General Information About Teaching English in Japan
Let’s start with funds. You ought to expect a wage of at least 250.000 yen per month. This is a entry level wage for those with tiny or no experience. However be warned this won’t go that far in the bigger cities like Tokyo or Osaka. You ought to expect a bit more to compensate for the cost of living factor in these huge cities. Large English schools like Nova, Aeon, Geos, Berlitz & ECC will also offer two weeks paid holiday and most national holiday off. Schools differ on which national holidays they observe but the norm is 8 to ten per year. Expect to work close to 40 hours per week. Each school is different but you can expect roughly 22 to 29 actual teaching hours per week with the rest being office hours.
A typical teacher will work five days per week with Sunday and another weekday off. Teachers with seniority may get Saturdays and Sundays off. Typical office hours are filled by grading student work, taking class notes, preparing future lessons or chatting with students. Most schools also will offer you medical insurance or subsidize it. Larger chain schools, mentioned above, usually have a fixed curriculum. This means you’ll be using their in house texts, tapes and other support materials for teaching. For those who don’t have plenty of teaching experience it’s helpful in reducing stress (there already is a bit in adjusting to the culture and learning the language etc.) Those who need to express their creativity in the lesson will probably find it stifling.
Students who will be assigned to your class will probably be of all ages. Literally from five to 6 year olds up to 75 and 76 year olds. Some schools deal specifically with kids or adults but because of the competitiveness of this industry, most schools cater to all ages. Student wise, you can expect a healthy dose of kids and young professionals like office ladies and wage men as they’re called to make up the bulk of who you teach. Most of your gigantic chain schools will offer you some type of accommodations. This is a big help as it’s difficult to find accommodations by yourself without the help of a Japanese national. Not to mention being expensive. Although the type provided will vary expect things to be on the tiny side. Teaching English in Japan surely is an experience best taken with an open mind. For those with an interest in Japanese culture it surely can be of the most enjoyable and profitable ways to experience Japan!