Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The inexperienced teacher's guide to Japan

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Japan
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Big_H



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:15 pm    Post subject: The inexperienced teacher's guide to Japan Reply with quote

Having found this review helpful -myself being new-, I thought I'd share it as a resource and was hoping for the more experienced teachers here to weight in with corrective remarks [mod edits are welcome] seeing as how the FAQs are defunct for now.


Japan Fast Facts

Peak Hiring Times: January-April
Average Monthly Salary: $2500/month
Average Cost of Living: $1500/month
Save or Break Even? Saving is possible, especially if you live outside the big cities.
Work Visa: Many schools will sponsor your visa; more so if you've already traveled there.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Japan

The JET Programme:

The Japanese government has been running the JET programme since the late '80s. (JET stands for Japan Exchange and Teaching.) Native English speakers are placed as Assistant Language Teachers in public schools across Japan. JETs usually work a 35 hour week from Monday to Friday. You will need a Bachelor's degree to be considered. The hiring calendar varies by the home country of applicants.

Private Language Academies/Schools:

Companies like AEON and ECC are constantly looking for teaching staff. Many of these positions involve relatively long hours and some will require you to work evenings and weekends. With these private companies, there is a higher likelihood (than with JET) that you will be placed in a large city. You will need a Bachelor's degree to be considered. The hiring calendar varies by company.

Public Schools:

Some public schools recruit privately or source teachers through organizations such as Interac. A 30-35 hour work week is common. Leave entitlements can vary significantly depending on the individual school or company you are recruited through. Some public schools prefer their teachers to have a CELTA/TEFL qualification and/or teaching experience. Peak hiring time is January-April.

Private Schools:

Many foreign nationals give private lessons, often teaching in cafes one-on-one with students. There are no qualifications required for this, though you will need to ensure any work you do is compatible with your immigration status. There is more potential business in the large cities, particularly for anyone looking to do this as a full-time job.

Planning to Teach Abroad in Japan

When and Where to Look for Jobs:

Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya are the three biggest cities in Japan. They are where a large proportion of foreign teachers base themselves. The job market in these cities is competitive. If you are willing to be flexible and look elsewhere, you will find a huge range of opportunities all over the country. There are jobs across the four main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Many of these jobs are advertised online and are open to applications from abroad.

Working Visas in Japan:

A working visa is generally required in order to teach English. Many language schools will sponsor you in your visa application. You will usually need a bachelor's degree to be successful in your visa application. Some countries also have arrangements whereby you can obtain a working holiday visa, which allows you to teach part-time. Finally, it is possible to travel to Japan on a tourist visa and change to a working visa after-entry, provided you are sponsored by your contracting organization. To learn more about Japanese visas, visit VISA HQ.

Qualifications:

A Bachelor's degree is essential for any kind of formal teaching job in Japan. Some public schools and private recruiters prefer candidates with a CELTA/TEFL qualification and/or previous teaching experience. Japanese language proficiency is not required but can be helpful in securing better paid jobs.

Salary & Cost of Living:

You can expect to earn between Y=2.4 million and Y=3.0 million yen (around $24-30,000 USD) per year if you arrive without teaching experience. Those with previous teaching experience and/or a TEFL qualification can earn significantly more.

The JET programme pays Y=3.36 million yen (around $34,000 USD) per year. Most public schools will pay a similar amount to privately recruited instructors.

Private language schools tend to pay slightly less but the salary can vary considerably, depending on your level of experience.

Private lesson fees can vary, but Y=3000 yen (around $30 USD) per hour is not unusual. As you gain experience, you can start to charge significantly more. Your rates will also be affected by how much competition there is in the local area.

Some programmes, such as JET, arrange housing for their teachers. There are also a range of private companies who can assist you in finding accommodation. Sometimes the fees for getting settled in new accommodation can be high and apartments are often unfurnished.


Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Living costs are high. However, the generous salaries mean that it is possible to have a reasonable standard of living. Tokyo is especially expensive, though if you are willing to live in the suburbs, rates are lower. Outside the big cities, Y=50,000 (around $500 USD) per month will usually get you something decent.

Eating out is expensive, but budget options do exist. At the low end, you can buy a filling meal of rice and toppings for under Y=500 (around $5 USD). Meanwhile, a typical mid-priced meal for two outside Tokyo will cost between Y=2000 and Y=4000 (around $20-40). You can expect to pay between Y=400 and Y=700 (around $4-7 USD) for a beer at a typical izakaya.

Classroom & Work Culture:

Japanese students tend to be relatively respectful and well-behaved. However, a lot depends on your particular school. There are some schools where classes are loud and difficult to control. You may teach alongside a Japanese teacher, in which case, they will usually have responsibility for classroom discipline.

If you are teaching adults, you may be able to socialize with them outside lessons, though some private companies prohibit this.

Some high schools and private companies will require you to dress up and wear a suit when you teach lessons. Those teaching elementary school students are usually able to dress more casually.

There are a range of social customs such as bowing, gift-giving and compliments that will take some time to adjust to. Nobody will expect you to get everything right first time, but you will be expected to make an effort. The Japanese workplace tends to be formal, punctual and inflexible. You should consider whether you would fit comfortably into that kind of environment.
=============================================

Contributed by Ben David

Ben David is a British civil servant who has taken a career break to teach English in Japan on 2011.


Last edited by Big_H on Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 896
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:03 am    Post subject: Re: The inexperienced teacher's guide to Japan Reply with quote

That's great. Can you give us a link back to the source?

The only point I disagree with is this:
Quote:
You can expect to earn between Y=2.5 million and Y=3.5 million yen (around $25-35,000 USD) per year if you arrive without teaching experience.

Apart from JET, and some very specialised jobs that require other skills, you're not going to do much better than 2.5 million these days. To earn "significantly more" you'll need a Masters Degree, or some kind of entrepreneurial flair.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Waygeek



Joined: 15 Jun 2013
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is excellent, thank you. I'll be over soon... not confident in finding a job by just showing up but fingers crossed.

Can JET be applied for within the country? Is the hiring process done only once a year, like in early spring?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 398
Location: US

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waygeek wrote:
Can JET be applied for within the country? Is the hiring process done only once a year, like in early spring?


JET hiring is once per year (applications due in late November to early December, depending on country).

As to whether you can apply from within Japan, according to the JET Programme official web site application FAQ:

"Yes, you can apply from Japan. However, you must apply through the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in the country in which you have citizenship, provided that country is one of the countries which participate in the JET Programme. Also, you will have to return to your country of citizenship for the interview if one is granted to you. Interviews are not held in Japan."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Waygeek



Joined: 15 Jun 2013
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah thought as much. Nice gig to have though, they're quite well paid in the big scheme of things.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Big_H



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject: Re: The inexperienced teacher's guide to Japan Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:
Can you give us a link back to the source?


Source: http://www.gooverseas.com/teach-abroad/japan?page=1
Keep in mind that the site itself has hardly been updated in the last 2 years, same goes for the column; so I had to edit a few things like the dollar-yen exchange rates. Still, I found that it summed months of research I did online about the most basic aspects about teaching English in Japan.

Pitarou wrote:
The only point I disagree with is this:
Quote:
You can expect to earn between Y=2.5 million and Y=3.5 million yen (around $25-35,000 USD) per year if you arrive without teaching experience.


Done. Entry level positions range most commonly between 200,000 and 250,000 JPY / month these days.

Waygeek wrote:
This is excellent, thank you. I'll be over soon... not confident in finding a job by just showing up but fingers crossed.


If you have no prior experience teaching or living in Japan, I recommend that you try applying first from abroad, possibly through one of the agencies found in this post's link. I tell you this out of years of my experience in hosting exchange students and helping them to adapt in a new country. It doesn't matter how much you prepare yourself to embrace a new culture until you're actually living in it every day. You'd be surprised from the number of disillusioned JET participants who came to find that Japanese culture was completely different from their expectations, to the point of some ranting about it on youtube and others even failing to see their one year program through.

Having a visa sponsor at your back will make things much smoother for you to settle in. Feel free to stay in touch and letting me know how you're doing, good luck.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Waygeek



Joined: 15 Jun 2013
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been in South Korea about 18 months and spent a week in Tokyo this summer; apart from the overbearing humidity in the Summer I think I'm good to go on that front Very Happy Just not sure from the employers perspective if they would be willing to play ball... we'll see.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bachelor's degree is not necessary to secure formal teaching work. It is normally required for a standard working visa. If married to a Japanese national or Permanent Resident, teaching jobs can be found without a bachelor's degree. I think (but I'm not totally sure) it is also possible to substitute a bachelor's degree with something like 3 to 5 years of working experience in teaching. But, correct me if I am wrong on this last point.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 896
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

timothypfox wrote:
A bachelor's degree is not necessary to secure formal teaching work. It is normally required for a standard working visa. If married to a Japanese national or Permanent Resident, teaching jobs can be found without a bachelor's degree. I think (but I'm not totally sure) it is also possible to substitute a bachelor's degree with something like 3 to 5 years of working experience in teaching. But, correct me if I am wrong on this last point.
That's all correct.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Big_H



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

timothypfox wrote:
A bachelor's degree is not necessary to secure formal teaching work. It is normally required for a standard working visa. If married to a Japanese national or Permanent Resident, teaching jobs can be found without a bachelor's degree. I think (but I'm not totally sure) it is also possible to substitute a bachelor's degree with something like 3 to 5 years of working experience in teaching. But, correct me if I am wrong on this last point.


That is true indeed, but then again it is far less likely that someone with a japanese spouse would have to worry about that.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 398
Location: US

PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big_H wrote:
That is true indeed, but then again it is far less likely that someone with a japanese spouse would have to worry about that.

Worry about what? Getting a job?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Big_H



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rtm wrote:
Big_H wrote:
That is true indeed, but then again it is far less likely that someone with a japanese spouse would have to worry about that.

Worry about what? Getting a job?


Securing a formal teaching job on a "working visa", family related visas like being the spouse of a Japanese national have no restriction in the activities to be engaged, so it is possible to work in any field or industry. You are free to change jobs or to have more than one activity.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Japan All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC