With the great number of opportunities in Japan floating all over the internet theses days, it might seem a bit daunting to get a grasp of where to start. I want to introduce you to a few and notable companies that would make an excellent first stepping-stone on your TESOL journey in the land of the rising sun.
Conversational Schools – TEFL Japan
The eikaiwa or conversational schools are a popular choice for many good reasons. They usually have recruitment offices set up in many cities across North America and help teachers with all the paperwork that comes with getting their visa. With private companies, classes will range from baby classes all the way to adult students. My recommendations in terms of conversational schools would be Gaba and AEON. Both have a recruitment page on their website and are fairly stable companies that are still booming in Japan. Private companies such as the ones I mentioned are very familiar with hiring teachers from their home country and/or city and are usually very helpful during the whole process. These companies are especially mindful with people who have had little to no experience in the teaching field, and their application process is fairly easy, making it a great and easy way to stat your teaching career.
Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) – TEFL Japan
A different route is that of the Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). Instead of working in a private company like the ones I mentioned above, an ALT is hired by a dispatch company. The dispatch company has a contract with schools in a certain area and will send you to help the Japanese English teachers to teach with them in a public school environment. The most popular dispatch company is the widely-known JET Programme. Interac is also a very well-known dispatch company that hires teacher from overseas. Becoming an ALT is a little bit harder as they usually give priority to people who have had teaching experience or have an accredited TEFL or TESOL certificate (Minimum 100 hours). Go to TEFL certification Japan to find course that is right for you!
Last, there are tons of small schools in Japan offering great opportunities. In general, they prefer to hire experienced teachers who are already living in Japan because they do not have the resources to run a sophisticated HR department. For those who are interested in teaching at a small school, I recommend visiting Gaijin Pot. It’s the monster.ca of Japan.
I hope this gives you a good idea about teaching English Japan. Good luck!