Many of my ESL students here in Japan are older adults in small group or private lessons. Many have studied English during their junior high and high school years and were taught English with the Grammar Translation Method and the Direct Method. They have not had much experience actually using the language, so I find that many students are very shy and are afraid of making mistakes when speaking English, which holds them back from trying to improve their conversation skills.
Japan is a very active market to teach English in. It is also a culturally rich, clean and safe place to live, but it will take preparation as well as an open mind and sensitivity to the Japanese culture to live here. If you think Japan might be the place for you, and you would like to spend some time teaching English here; here are some considerations to take concerning getting a TESOL job in Japan.
Other then the obvious language difference, there is a lot more to being a foreigner in Japan. Culture shock may or may not happen to you. It really depends on how open your personality might be or just how prepared and knowledgeable you might be of Japan. Below are a few important facts about Japanese culture:
There are many ways to go about getting a work permit to teach English in Japan. If you decide to sign up with any of the big companies, such as AEON or Interac, from your home country, they will most likely take care of everything for you. You will just have to fill out some forms and submit them to your city’s Japanese Embassy. There wouldn’t be much to worry about because your company will have you covered. Most private companies hire teachers using overseas recruiters rather than people who are already in Japan, so your best bet would be to get the job plus visa before you head off to Japan. Read more
The typical day of an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) starts much earlier than that of a conversational school teacher and some prefer it that way. You usually arrive at school by 8AM. In 99% of the cases, you will have your own desk within the office for you to prepare for class. Greeting the staff with a simple “ohayo” or good morning is recommended.
Before I left for Japan, I had a really tough time deciding what to pack and what I could do without. I am sure your parents and relatives will be sending you care packages, so don’t worry too much about the details and plan based on your own daily needs. Here is a helpful list that I came up with.
Looking to teach English in Japan? This TEFL Japan blog will help you pass the interview!
The interview is always a nerve-wrecking experience for me, unless I have all the information to fell 100% prepared. If you are anything like me, I want to help you out with this blog.
7 Things You Need to Know to Pass the Interview:
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.