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Newbie in need of advice

 
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cfli731



Joined: 02 Sep 2011
Posts: 3
Location: Alexandria, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:28 am    Post subject: Newbie in need of advice Reply with quote

Greetings to all veterans and fellow newbies,

My name is Chun and I recently graduated with a B.S. in Economics from an accredited American university, but unfortunately with very moderate academic standings.
I have no training or experience in teaching except for some volunteered tutoring during middle school, high school, and university.
I also do not have any certifications like TEFEL or CERTA, but am willing to pursuit one.
I have only 1 year of experience (including pre-graduation) in Business development with a international software development company in Hong Kong.
I do speak 3 languages fluently and moderate understanding in Japanese (Not business functional).
According to the official ministry, I am considered a native English speaker since I have been in full English taught educational institutions for more than 12 years.

Sorry for the rather lengthy list, but I figured it might be appropriate to list them in detail before going on about the question.

I am looking to go teach abroad in Tokyo, and specifically there, and I am willing to put in a 1 to 3 years commitment before moving on to a career in Business.
I have read through the FAQ and have decided to teach Adult or Business oriented English only and avoid the public school.
I am not too concerned about living in the short run since I have relatives there (which is why it has to be Tokyo).

Given the above information and credentials (or rather the lack of), here are my questions:

1. Should I even bother, seeing how steep the competition is? I haven't been certified yet but I am definitely willing to if it even matters.

2. I have applied to Footprints and Interac, but with all the horrid stories of recruitment agencies I am definitely having second thoughts. Not much of a question, but might any veteran be so kind as to share their thoughts in this matter seeing how my choices are quite limited?

3. I saw some adult schools in the FAQ section and I am wondering if I might have a better chance with them as opposed to agencies? Also, sorry for being vague but are those adult schools any good? If someone have experience working with them please share your thoughts with me.

I very much appreciate all the time, efforts, and considerations for reading my rather lengthy post and sharing your wisdom with me.
Thank you ahead of time.
Please do not feel the need to hold back on laying down the brutal truth; it certainly beats finding them out after I commit.

Lastly, I apologize if I should have posted this in the Japan forum instead of here in the Newbie forum.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:38 am    Post subject: Re: Newbie in need of advice Reply with quote

If you graduated from an accredited university, you should be ok, as long as the national and regional accrediations are in place.

What languages do you speak anyways?

If you haven't take the Michigan, TOEFL, or Cambridge exams for English, you might want to do that so that you can prove your English level.

As for teaching in Japan, try the Japan forum, Glenski might have some good advice for you. It might be easier for you to get into Business with your education, experience and language skills than to TEFL.

As for recruiters, there are good and bad ones, I'm pretty sure that Footprints is a decent one. Never pay a recruiter money though.

If you're looking for a job, the best thing you can do is cover all bases. Apply to kids' and adults' institutes. try a recruiter or two as well. Maybe the JET programme would work for you?
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Newbie in need of advice Reply with quote

cfli731 wrote:
Greetings to all veterans and fellow newbies,

My name is Chun and I recently graduated with a B.S. in Economics from an accredited American university, but unfortunately with very moderate academic standings.
I have no training or experience in teaching except for some volunteered tutoring during middle school, high school, and university.
I also do not have any certifications like TEFEL or CERTA, but am willing to pursuit one.
I have only 1 year of experience (including pre-graduation) in Business development with a international software development company in Hong Kong.
I do speak 3 languages fluently and moderate understanding in Japanese (Not business functional).
According to the official ministry, I am considered a native English speaker since I have been in full English taught educational institutions for more than 12 years.

Sorry for the rather lengthy list, but I figured it might be appropriate to list them in detail before going on about the question.
Thank you for all of that! It was very helpful indeed.



Quote:
I am looking to go teach abroad in Tokyo, and specifically there, and I am willing to put in a 1 to 3 years commitment before moving on to a career in Business.
Uh, ok, but you're going to need JLPT level 2 (or the new equivalent) to be considered for most jobs in that sector.


Quote:
I have read through the FAQ and have decided to teach Adult or Business oriented English only and avoid the public school.
In today's crowded market, that is shaving things very thin, especially since you have only one year of non-teaching work experience. You might get lucky, but I wouldn't put my eggs in just this one basket.


Quote:
1. Should I even bother, seeing how steep the competition is?
This is a subjective question. Can't answer that. If you don't bother at all, I can give you a quantitative answer: no job at all.

Quote:
2. I have applied to Footprints and Interac
But you said you don't want to work in public schools. This is a clear contradiction, or you don't know those companies at all.

Quote:
Not much of a question, but might any veteran be so kind as to share their thoughts in this matter seeing how my choices are quite limited?
Put your hat in the ring for ALT jobs (dispatch like Interac, or the more highly acclaimed JET program) or eikaiwa jobs, perhaps even the odd business English agency. Might as well shotgun it. Just do it with proper timing.

Quote:
3. I saw some adult schools in the FAQ section and I am wondering if I might have a better chance with them as opposed to agencies?
What's an "agency"? Stay away from recruiters, if that's what you mean. Also, what "adult schools" were you referring to -- the biz English ones?


Quote:
Lastly, I apologize if I should have posted this in the Japan forum instead of here in the Newbie forum.
Let your thread run its course here, then visit the Japan forum. It's a toss-up considering you are asking newbie questions.
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cfli731



Joined: 02 Sep 2011
Posts: 3
Location: Alexandria, VA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@naturegirl321
I speak English and Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin, they are functionally different enough for me to count as two)

I am not familiar with Michigan or Cambridge exams, but I thought that TOEFL is only good for ESL students?

Thank you and I will be sure to look into your suggestions!

@Glenski
I meant career in business back in the U.S., not Japan. Although, that would be very nice. Sorry for the lack of clarity there.

I was really hoping to teach adults and/or business oriented English in hope to indirectly learn about Japanese business culture among other things. I guess when it really comes down to it I am willing to try alternatives.

As for Footprints and Interac, I must admit that I hadn't thought through what i want to do when I did apply to Interac, however, as for Footprints, the position I applied for was specifically for teaching adults. Unless, of course, you are implying that they have a tendency to lie about that and therefore I don't know these companies. If that's the case please do enlighten me.

Could you please elaborate on what is proper timing?

Sorry if agency isn't the correct word choice here, but I was thinking about places like Footprints. Should I stay away from them, or do recruiters mean something else? And by adult schools I am thinking about schools aiming towards adults. It would be a plus if it was business oriented but not necessarily.

Thank you for your comments!
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're not a "native speaker" (do you have a US passport?), then getting some type of official English exam can help prove to employers that you have a good ENglish level. Some places prefer US ones, like TOEFL, others prefer UK ones, like Cambridge. Exams aren't just for students. I've seen jobs English and non English teaching ones, that want these exams. Some prefer more specific ones, like BEC, for Business English, but your general run of the mill exam should cover most bases.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cfli731 wrote:
@Glenski
I meant career in business back in the U.S., not Japan. Although, that would be very nice. Sorry for the lack of clarity there.
No problem. Thanks for clearing that up.

Now all you have to do is determine whether a job that you want in business in the U.S. even cares a whit about having EFL experience in Japan. In most cases, I'd say no. Depends on the specific job, I suppose, and just what you can bring to the bargaining table from an EFL job and a year or two over here. Personally, I can't see much unless you study the language hard and the U.S. company wants that.

Quote:
I was really hoping to teach adults and/or business oriented English in hope to indirectly learn about Japanese business culture among other things. I guess when it really comes down to it I am willing to try alternatives.
Keep your eye open to all possibilities. In Japan competition is steep.

Business English jobs usually require previous work experience so you know the lingo. Doesn't really sound like you have much. Do your best to impress someone, though. Living overseas can prove you don't have as much risk of culture shock as someone who is untested.

Quote:
as for Footprints, the position I applied for was specifically for teaching adults. Unless, of course, you are implying that they have a tendency to lie about that and therefore I don't know these companies. If that's the case please do enlighten me.
To be honest, I don't know who Footprints' clients are. Interac teaches schoolchildren, though, and that is what they are most widely known for. I see from their homepage they also do biz English work, so ignore what I wrote earlier.

Quote:
Could you please elaborate on what is proper timing?
For eikaiwa jobs, Feb/March. For public school ALT work, a few months earlier (but expect to be placed in April just the same). For biz English work, I don't know, but I suspect many contracts begin in April, too. Look at the FAQ stickies on the Japan forum for a list of more biz E employers, contact them, and find out.

Quote:
Sorry if agency isn't the correct word choice here, but I was thinking about places like Footprints. Should I stay away from them, or do recruiters mean something else?
Most of the time, I see the word agency referring to a recruiter, who gets you hired by another employer. Sometimes, like in the case of a biz English agency it can mean an employer who sends you to the clients or who has classrooms of their own.
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maastricht



Joined: 11 Feb 2011
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should app to JET. Are you planning to work specifically for a company that does business in Japan or do you just want a gap year?
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 518
Location: Phaic Tan

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's quite a debt son, maybe try and kick your career off. Some people do well financially in ESL, but I'd say most are doing it for the lifestyle rather than the $$.

Korea is your best bet, I did rather well there but Korean culture isn't for everyone.

There's tons of work in Vietnam, but I'd say at best USD$1000 is the maximum you'd save there.

At least get yourself a Celta, not only for yourself but for your students as well.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 632

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that your experience thus far is completely on par for newbie ESL teachers in most of the world. If you want to go to Japan get your certification (CELTA or something similar) and apply. For country specific advice go to the Japan board. Assuming you have a U.S. passport (even if you don't I'd think that your diplomas from American schools would cover you) don't even worry about tests to prove your English, just be an American. As far as jobs, I'd apply to everything available in Japan. If you get more than one offer, you can choose the best.
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Irish Lad



Joined: 06 Sep 2011
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
Quote:
If you haven't take the Michigan, TOEFL, or Cambridge exams for English, you might want to do that so that you can prove your English level.


I do not recommend this. Doing so will serve only to bring into question your status as an American native speaker. If you are confident in this identity, and in your level of English, present yourself as such in your job search. You've spent more than 12 years in US schools, graduated from a US university, and are considered to be a native speaker. Presumably you carry a US passport? Make sure all this info is readily apparent on your cv/resume--it presents a clear picture. Don't bring all of that into question by talking about TOEFL scores. You'll only muddy the waters (or perhaps I should say picture.) Have to agree with Sparks on this.

.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 742
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you're selling yourself short. I know nothing about Asia or Japan, but I do know that native Chinese speakers in Bogota are in huge demand. Might that be the same in Tokyo? You've got more than 1 tool in your tool box, unlike most of us. Seems to me you could pick up more than a few private students, given that you're native level in 3 languages that are in huge demand. What about translations? And...if you want a business career in the US, why do you want to teach English in Japan?
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