Working in Japan

The responsibilities of being an English teacher in Japan

Teaching English in Japan requires much more than simply teaching grammar or vocabulary. Here we explain everything you need to know about being an English teacher in Japan.

Working as an English teacher is a job in high demand in Japan, and an excellent alternative to work in Japan when you still have not mastered the Japanese language. The Japanese are often very interested in English culture. Therefore, there are endless possibilities to earn a living or have an extra salary as an English teacher. As in any other type of job, in order to teach English, it is necessary to fulfill some requirements and face certain responsibilities.

Responsibilities

Being an English teacher in Japan involves much more than just teaching English during the lesson. As an English teacher the basic responsibilities that you will have will be to plan and prepare the lessons and materials that you will use in class, monitor the progress of the students and establish a solid and trusting relationship with them, with their parents (in case they are young students) and with the rest of the staff with whom you will be working.

One of your first tasks will therefore be to organize the topics that will be covered in class and the methodology that you will use to teach English to your students. Apart from the textbooks, photocopies and other materials that you will use during the lessons, you will also have to prepare your students’ homework, so that they can continue practicing English after the lesson is finished. Depending on where you work, sometimes you can adapt the didactic material to your students, while in other places there is usually an established program that you will have to follow.

In any case, it is best to try to be creative, carry out interactive activities to practice and progress, and provide them with the most specialized and individualized attention possible (within your possibilities). If you work in a school, you will also have to prepare for English exams and assign grades. It is important that you do an exhaustive follow-up of each of your students, both academically and personally, since you will have to inform both them and their parents about their kids’ progress, behaviors and performances.

SEE ALSO: 5 Tips For Teaching English To Children.

That is why establishing a good relationship with both your students and their parents from the beginning is so important. Therefore, always try to be friendly, responsible, committed and collaborative. In this case, speaking Japanese, even at a conversational level, can be very advantageous. However, in some places they do not require Japanese skills, so it is not strictly necessary for you to speak Japanese if the company does not require it.

Requirements

Working as an English teacher is very demanding, but it can be very rewarding if you really like teaching languages. Having previous experience as an English teacher can be very helpful (although not necessary in some places), as well as a TEFL / TESOL course (Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language) or any other academic training related to the English language. This experience will surely have given you the ability to know and prepare various methods of teaching English, as well as to develop good organizational and communication skills and other aspects no less important such as patience, dedication, responsibility and respect. Japanese people are often very demanding in terms of the quality of the products and services they consume, and English lessons are no exception. Therefore, always make sure to be as professional as possible both inside and outside your English lessons.

Where can I teach English in Japan?

The best place to start your job search for an English teaching job in Japan is on the Jobs in Japan website. Since the offer to be an English teacher is very wide, you can always dedicate yourself to teaching in the places that best suit your experience, teaching style and preferences. In addition to being a private teacher, you can also teach in kindergartens, schools (primary, secondary and high school), universities, vocational schools and language academies.

Class schedules will basically depend on your place of work. Classes can be in the morning, afternoon, evening, or a mix of all of them. It is not uncommon for an English teacher in Japan to work in more than one school at a time and to combines several part-time jobs, although there are also those who work in a single school as full-time employees. Therefore, it is recommended to have an agenda with which you can keep track not only of the schedules of your classes (which, with the exception of primary / secondary / high schools and vocational schools, will generally change every week), but also of your students (within your possibilities).

As you can see, you have many options to work as an English teacher in Japan. Although the responsibilities are many, it is a very rewarding job and a good option to develop your professional career in Japan.

I was born in Malaga (Spain), and after spending a season in Paris and London, my great passion for comics and manga led me to move to Kyoto as a doctoral student in 2018. In my spare time I write short stories and, I am the author of the book Touching the Stars.

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