Teaching English in Japan
This weeks guest post is all about teaching English abroad in Japan! Get ready for some great information and insight into teaching and living in Japan straight from the source! John is a jack of all trades and has been living in Japan for a number of years. His article is quick and to the point so for those of you who don’t like to mess around you’ll really enjoy this post!
If you’re interested in teaching English abroad in Japan, this article is for you! You will get first-hand information on the job market, culture and what you can expect.
John also has a website with a lot of resources and information that you can find here: All about Teaching English in Japan
A Quick Introduction
I‘m John. I graduated from U.W. Madison Wisconsin in the U.S.
Why did you decide to move abroad?
Following my graduation, I had the itch to do something different. After grinding out my undergrad by myself. I needed a break. I was always interested in living in Asia and I heard that there were many jobs so I applied from the U.S., was accepted and moved to Japan.
What kind of jobs have you had over the years?
Freelance writing, business building (English schools, engineering for Toyota, real estate flipping, and consultancy work.
What are you doing now?
Mostly building websites, and doing internet consulting for ranking purposes of my clients.
Can you share your personal experiences living and working in Japan?
Hiring managers love to pop questions on interviewees like “What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had teaching and how did you overcome it?” My reply was: I had a class of ten 5-year-old kids I was teaching, we were playing a game and the weather was quite stormy. Long story short – a bolt of lightning hit a power transformer and knocked out the power. The classroom was quite black as it was very late in the day. “How did you overcome it?” I was asked. ” I lit a candle and pushed the lesson through until the end on the light of 2 candles.”
What is the lifestyle and culture like in Japan?
In a nutshell: repressed and conservative.
What kinds of jobs are available in Japan?
Private, public, University. Like most countries in Asia, private (eikaiwas), public government-run jobs like The Jet Programme and ALT (Assistant Language Teachers) positions. And quite a few people just get their own students and teach them out of cafes and coffee shops.
What kind of education and experience is required to apply as a teacher?
A 4-year degree in any field.
What kind of advice or suggestions do you have for teachers thinking about working in Japan?
Think carefully about your own personality before you take the big leap. If you are not flexible or expect the country in which you are a guest to behave like the people from your own country, then it is best to look for other work.
Is there any additional information you think would be helpful for teachers that want to work in Japan?
Regarding competing in the ESL field, many believe that anyone can get a job teaching in Japan. This is no longer the case as things have gotten competitive so in order to enter the field it is helpful to site anything on your resume that indicates flexibility and openness. Write a solid cover letter and get some TEFL certification to separate yourself from other beginning ESL candidates.
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