ESL Teaching Guide - Japan

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Lindsay West - September 2002

There is still a lot of teaching work in Japan, although it is not as good as it was in the boom ten years ago. I have been teaching English here for ten years and I recommend the experience to every one.

For those who wish to teach on a working holiday visa it can be very difficult to survive. due to the limited hours you can work and the cost of living in Japan you can find yourself living from week to week and not profiting from your experience. On the other hand, if you have a degree in any subject it is a lot easier to get a sponsored position and prosper.

Suggested Reading

A Practical Guide to Living in Japan: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Settle In
Living in Japan: A Guide to Living, Working, and Traveling in Japan

Lonely Planet Japan
Fodor's Japan, 16th Edition
Japan (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

Ben Colliver - June 2002

Japan was wonderful. So much to learn, so much to question culturally. When looking for work teaching English,I recommend staying away from the big companies. Take as much money as you can to see the country - the most common regret wold be not taking the time to see all the wonders this country has to offer.

Nadia - May 2002

You can try and find a job from home with the big schools which are constantly recruiting or you can try your luck by coming here and choosing what you want. Both have advantages and disadvantages. There is a bunch of info about teaching English in Japan on the internet so an engine search should give you plenty of results. I highly recommend doing your homework before choosing which way to go.

There is also the JET Programme but I don`t recommend it for anyone with good TES/FL or experience because the JET Programme is not about teaching but rather "internationalisation" or something like that. You just end up frustrated at the way English is taught in the public schools. Teaching adults is much more rewarding.

The pay will greatly depend on the job and on your experience but by law English teachers cannot be paid anything less than 250,000 yen. The JET Programme pays much more than this and whether that amount will be decent or not depends on where you live. You won`t go far on 250,000 yen in Tokyo.

There are many jobs available to English teachers in Japan, with or without TEF/SL certification. However you need a bachelor`s degree to get your work visa which you need to legally work.

Suzanne - June 2002

You don't need a degree to get a working holiday visa. Teachers who worked for my company part time in Tokyo or Osaka took a lot of overtime hours and usually ended up earning more than those doing full time. - First Stop for Your Second Language Needs
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