Even if you don’t want to be an English teacher for life, having an TEFL certification is undoubtedly a security policy for life here in Japan.
Japanese companies and schools are always looking for English teachers and having a simple TEFL course, as our friends over at Live Work Play Japan wrote about here, is an insurance policy in case your future business ventures or jobs in any field don’t go the way you planned.
In fact in 2015 the Japanese government linked together visas for Engineers with the International Services and Humanities for this exact reason. When engineers were struggling to find jobs in their chosen field they could use teaching English to help pay the bills while they looked for jobs.
This is especially important if you have a family. While you may have upgraded from being an English teacher to go to more lucrative careers, if you lose your job there could be a lot of pressure on you to find another to provide for your family. Having a TEFL course will put you above the other “holiday” English teachers, so you can get a job when times are tough.
I am no longer a teacher, but getting a teaching qualification helped me with three things:
1) I did not feel like a fraud anymore – The school that initially hired me gave me little training that basically consisted of watching a few classes by the more “experienced” teachers. None of us trainees knew how to teach, nor the “teacher” for that matter, and I felt like a fraud. Not only did I hate it, but I was doing a disservice to my students. Instead of calling me a “sensei’, they should have called me a clown. I enjoyed teaching much more when I had the skills from my qualification.
2) Confidence – More than confidence in the classroom, I now knew that I could easily walk into a dozen or more schools and get a job. It is a lot easier to negotiate with your boss when you have options.
3) Personal – I am sure my children would not be able to speak English as well as they can now if I had not gotten proper training.
I am certain the certification would have paid for itself many times over if I decided to stay in teaching, but that was not what I wanted to do with my life. As a means to an end though, I recognized the importance of having this and how important licences and qualifications are for Japanese.
So do you have an insurance policy in Japan? Or are you an English teacher looking to earn more money? If so, take a look at the course offered at Live Work Play Japan or do some research and find a decent TEFL course to give a boost to your resume.