The 8 best programs to teach English in Japan
As summer draws to a close, and the nights start getting longer, thoughts for many turn to the idea of getting away from it all. For some, this may come in the form of beginning a new vocation, even if that means traveling to the other side of the world to find it.
One great career to consider right now is to become a TEFL (or Teach English as a Foreign Language) teacher. This profession enables a wannabe TEFL tutor to combine a challenging yet rewarding career with the chance to see the planet and explore it, especially now that global borders are finally opening once again.
So, below are 8 great options to consider when thinking about the idea of working as a TEFL teacher in Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun is full of wonderful opportunities to grow and develop as a TEFL expert, so read on to find out more!
Teach other teachers
Before a TEFL teachers can really get started with their new profession, they should consult the how to requirements for teaching English in Japan on The TEFL Org for the lowdown on all the major details. Getting a reputable and reliable certification is the optimal place to commence, as it provides a solid grounding in the basics of TEFL, as well as dealing with the common queries that come up.
Afterward, a TEFL teacher could come to the conclusion that the best way to help others is to teach other TEFL instructors how to teach. This is usually reserved for experienced TEFL instructors, who have been there and done that, but is a great long-term target for a TEFL tutor who is serious about their work.
Teach in a kindergarten
After getting certified, the next task for the TEFL teacher is to decide where to teach. For some, the peace and tranquility of the mountains might appeal, whereas for others the attraction may lie in other natural beauties, such as rivers or ponds.
In any event, then the hard decision of deciding upon the appropriate age group comes next on the list. In Japan, many children begin learning English at kindergarten age, which provides a market for TEFL educators to ply their trade there.
Teach in a high school
For those who prefer their students to be a touch older and hopefully wiser, high school becomes a viable option. Most Japanese children are taught to take their studies very seriously and are typically a polite and respectful presence in the classroom.
As a result, many of the behavior issues that could come up in other cultures tend to be less of a concern in Japan than elsewhere. Consequently, the learners are allowed to be more focused on their classwork and homework, which can often lead to a higher level of performance with the right TEFL tutor.
Teach in a primary school
As a middle ground between the frenetic energy of young learners and the high-stakes pressure of some older learners, primary school institutions might just be the right fit for the new TEFL tutor. There is typically a high emphasis on play and games at this age level, so classes can normally be designed with fun in mind.
An aspect of Japanese primary schools that is often overlooked is that there are usually four languages being learned in any given school day. This is because Japanese has both a character and alphabet system to learn, as well as English and Mandarin Chinese.
This could put a lot of pressure on some children to transition between languages, but the Japanese system is built upon patient foundations, meaning that students are often given the time to flourish and grow from an early age. Thus, primary school is a fantastic moment to capture the positives of this developmental phase and build a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy TEFL tutor.
Although many physical classrooms have now reopened, much of the modern world is still online. In fact, some learners have opted to keep their learning virtual, staying away from the challenges that being in a real room can present to them.
For some students, it is simply more comfortable to learn online in this digital age. One positive of this is the fact that teachers can give more undivided attention to learners in this sphere, and use technology to save time and effort on certain teaching elements.
Additionally, there may be times when using digital means is preferable, for example on snow days, when students can not get to the physical building. A TEFL teacher who is well-versed in the online field will be ready and able to tackle this more easily as a consequence.
Teach private lessons
Although private lessons can pay well, and be a great way to supplement a basic income, there are a few drawbacks to them in Japan. For one thing, it is not possible to get sponsored for a visa for private lessons alone.
On top of that, these can be transient in nature, meaning there are loads one week, but none the next. This makes relying on them challenging, especially when bills and prices are rising all the time.
Teach at a university
Some universities do have a need for a TEFL teacher, either to help students keep on top of their English for day-to-day usage, or to support them while writing their thesis papers. These reports are often required in English, so aspects such as proofreading or teaching academic writing in English might be needed here.
Teach in a business setting
With global giants such as Sony and Honda always on the lookout for top-notch TEFL teachers to teach their staff, Japan is a wonderful place to think about becoming a business TEFL teacher. The students are almost always highly engaged and willing to participate in discussions on a range of topics, and this can lead to lessons that are both fun and unexpected. Of the many options above, all of these have their own upsides for the new TEFL educator.