Work in Japan. Is it Really Work?

If you want to work in Japan and are wondering if it's the cake walk you read about on some sites, read on...


Many who are fresh out of school want to try their hands at teaching because they think it'll be a snap to work for a huge chain school. We can practically see the visions in their heads - drunk again and churning through those tasty chicks and beers.

Those who believe it to be the same as a frat party are in for a fairly unpleasant surprise.
Not to dissuade serious teachers but, truth be told, it's work. It may not seem like it at first but when the awe and splendor of living in Japan wears thin and the long hours start piling up, the reality dawns.

The Myth of Eikaiwa
Working in the "eikaiwa" or English conversation industry is no picnic. Teaching well is hard work. Lessons need to be prepared and logically structured. Communication problems your students struggle with need to be solved and they look to you to do it.

What it Typically Entails
One quick glance at our salary comparison chart tells it all. If you're working for a big school, you'll be teaching over 20 hours per week. Plus you'll have required office hours and prep hours where you'll be have to plan lessons, hand out fliers and do fluency level checks etc. When it's all said and done, you'll be putting in 40 per week.

Teaching is not a team sport like when working for a company where you can sit through a meeting without contributing anything. The reality is you're 100% accountable to your students every second you're in front them. It is a bit like being on stage.

Work in Japan - Getting the Most Out of Your Experience
If you want to get the most out of your experience, take some time to think about what you want out of your experience. Ask yourself who you want to teach. Kids? Adults? What kind of English do you want to teach? Conversation? Grammar? TOEIC prep? Business English? Do you want to be an ALT? Or would you rather experience teaching junior high school students through the Jet Program?

Work in Japan - Rants and Finger Pointing
If you've spent anytime at all in the ESL forums around the net, you'll see quite a few venting their anger, pointing fingers at everyone around them for their woeful dilemmas. Cranking out You Tube videos etc. The fact of the matter is your boss isn't responsible for spoon feeding you a little slice of Japanese heaven. Neither are your students, neighbors or co-workers - you are.

The Bottom Line
Understanding what you want out of your experience is probably the most important part for prepping to work in Japan. Time doing this is time well spent. If you got yourself into some trouble by choosing a bad company, then you are responsible to raise the blade and make the employment change.


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