Teaching english in Japan

So you live in Japan and you’re looking for a job, but you haven’t graduated from University and you don’t know much japanese. If you are ever stuck in this situation then there is actually something you can do, teach your native language (english in my case).

Now, many english teaching companies will only hire potential teachers if they have a bachelors degree. If you have yet to attain one of those, there are always websites that allow you to freely sign up as a english teacher, but BE AWARE. You will most certainly have good and bad experiences with these kinds of websites.

Good:

  • With these websites you are allowed to create your own schedule, set your own cost and location as to where you want to teach. It is completely up to you.
  • You get to meet locals. These people will have info about Japan that would be hard to find elsewhere.
  • You will be able to explore areas you never would have before whilst/before/after meeting a student.
  • you make contacts in a foreign country!

Cons:

  • (Especially for females) you will get some older men who may come across as “creepy” or “desperate” (and not for language teaching).
  • You don’t get any proper training prior to teaching, you are literally on your own.
  • You must organize and set up appointments yourself. So if you mess up then its all on you. (No teachers or parents to help).

Advice:

Its okay to decline a potential student: 

If somebody wants to meet too far away or isn’t willing to pay you at your price or even just gives you a bad feeling, you can always decline the student. The teaching experience should be enjoyable for the student AND the teacher.

Be careful when offering to teach at night:

The main offers I get for nighttime are from business men or women whom are too busy to meet during the day. A portion of them will be completely fine, but the other portion aren’t really looking for language lessons…

Teach at public places:

Such as McDonalds or Starbucks. These places often have a nice and friendly atmosphere, a perfect place for a language lesson.

Keep a notebook with notes from each student:

To remember where each student is in the english teaching process, I keep a notebook with notes of our lessons. I write down their previous language experience, their goals for my lessons, their interests and notes from our conversation.

Talk about the students interests:

If a student is interested in a certain country or movie, I tend to aim my conversations around those subjects. This keeps the conversation flowing and makes it easier for the student to speak.

Never interrupt a student during their thought process:

If a student is taking a little time in trying to figure a sentence out, do not interrupt them or finish the sentence for them, give them time to think and speak. After they say what they wanted to say, then you can correct them or add on to what they said.

Make sure private info STAYS private:

If a student asks you where you live, saying the area you live in is fine, but if they ask you for your address or when you get home then that is a red flag. If a student asks you questions that make you uncomfortable, change the subject or tell them that the subject is inappropriate. Keep your private info private for your safety.

Follow your gut feeling:

If you get a bad vibe from a student, or you just don’t feel comfortable around them, you are under no obligation to keep meeting them. It doesn’t matter if you already set up your next appointment, your safety comes first. Thank them for their time, cancel that next appointment and move on.

The websites I use for teaching:

http://www.my-sensei.com

http://hello-sensei.com/sensei/find-students-in-japan

These are just notes on my experiences in teaching in Japan. Ive learned all of this through advice from other language teachers and from first hand experience. I would not recommend using these websites for a long-term job, but perhaps a temporary one, something to get you started.

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