If you are working in Japan but don’t speak Japanese, work options can be a little limited. Sure, being an ALT is fun but it can be hard to save enough for weekend travelling or spending sprees in Animate.
Looking to earn a little extra? Teaching English online is an easy and convenient part-time job in Japan. Read how to get your online teaching side-hustle started.
Benefits of teaching English online
- It’s flexible. You can choose your own working days and hours to fit your schedule.
- You can work from home. You can save on commuting costs and work in your pajamas (from the waist down!)
- You can choose your students and build good relationships with them
Who are the students?
Most online English students are adults. They have maybe studied English in high school and after, so they will have a basic knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar.
Each student will have different needs and requirements. For example, some students may want to practice casual, daily conversation. Some students want to practice EIKEN or TOEIC speaking tests. Some students want you to pick a topic and test them on pronunciation and grammar. It’s important to ask your students what they want to achieve from your lessons.
What qualifications do you need?
Different companies require different levels of qualifications. Some request you have a bachelor’s degree, 6 months to two years teaching experience or a TEFL certificate.
How can I teach English online in Japan?
The easiest way to start an online English teaching job in Japan is to sign up with an online lesson company. Here are a few of the companies we recommend:
The AEON Corporation is one of the largest and longest running English conversation schools in Japan. Founded in 1975, they now have over 250 branches in every prefecture in Japan. They pride themselves on hiring high-quality, native speaking teachers. AEON requires all teachers to have a BA degree and some previous teaching experience.
AEON usually requires online teachers to work a minimum of three weekdays and Saturdays every week. They teach in shifts of 3 hours in the mornings or evenings. They pay an attractive salary: ¥3,000 – ¥6,750 per day. This is much higher than you can expect from lower quality online conversation schools.
TORAIZ is a highly-reputable English conversation company for more high-end English language learners. Many of their students are business focused CEO’s and professionals. Teachers must provide level-appropriate and goal-oriented lessons.
They do not require teachers to have any previous teaching experience. In fact, most of their employees are from other industries. However, a high level of English is essential to ensure their standard of quality. Also, a conversational level of Japanese is preferred. TORAIZ rewards their teachers for meeting these criteria with an hourly rate over ¥3,000.
If you are looking for a full-time English teaching position, GWG Teachers offers job roles with both physical teaching in the classroom and teaching online. Your work schedule is flexible with opportunities for a raise early on. Native speakers are preferred and they offer visa sponsorship.
How much do online English teachers get paid?
Your payment will depend on the company’s level of quality. ‘Lower’ quality companies offer between $5- $10 per hour. Lessons are not guaranteed, so it may take time to build your reputation and fill your schedule with regular work.
Also, please note that your fee may differ from the lesson price. For example, Café Talk offers a minimum of 60% margin rate on every lesson. This will increase to 65% or 75% depending on your reliability and sales.
Higher quality companies can offer a higher rate, plus guaranteed work shifts or number of lessons per week.
How do I plan online English lessons?
A few English lesson platforms will supply teachers with detailed lesson plans, and materials for activities. But if this isn’t your style, you can opt to plan your own lessons.
I strongly recommend planning a ‘Introductory lesson’ for every first lesson with a new student. This gives you an opportunity to sell your skills and experience. It will also help you understand your student’s English level and goals to help you plan lessons in the future. Here are some key questions to ask:
- Have you studied English before?
- Have you ever taken EIKEN or TOEIC tests? What was your score?
- Why do you want to learn English?
Try to learn a little about your student’s personality and hobbies. It will be much easier to plan conversation lessons if you know your student has a keen interest in a particular sport, music or anime!
If you can plan your lesson time, consider offering both long and short lessons. Many Japanese people work long hours and do not have time for a full hour lesson. Offering a short, convenient 25- 30-minute conversation lesson helps students’ practice, without eating too much into their schedule.
Here is an example for a casual conversation lesson plan:
Greeting – ‘How are you? Have you had a good day?’
Introduction – Explain the topic and your plan for the lesson
List of Questions – Write a combination of short and open-ended questions and prompts about a particular topic.
Review – Give the student praise for what went well. Offer some areas to improve, such as specific grammar points.
Closing – Thank the student for booking a lesson and offer them ways to contact you if they have questions.
What to write in your English teaching profile
Your teaching profile is your chance to highlight your unique selling points! It should include:
- Your nationality – Many Japanese students want to learn English from a native speaker.
- Your experience – Let students know if you have experience teaching in Japanese schools or online.
- Your qualifications – Degree, TEFL, ect
- Your hobbies – Showing a little personality helps potential students connect with you.
Remember to add a photo! Try to use photo with your smiling face and your nationality’s flag. Japanese people are risk-adverse, so this kind of image helps reassure them that you are a safe, friendly native speaker.
We hope this guide gives you some good information to start your online English teaching career. If you would like to find more part time or online jobs in Japan, check out our Jobs page for the latest exciting opportunities.