Learning Japanese and Teaching English
Last summer I decided to take a break and a year out in Japan. I knew that the only (or easiest) way for me to enter the Japanese labour market would be to teach English. So I quit my job, obtained the CELTA teacher training certificate and looked for a language school to learn some Japanese. I chose GenkiJacs because it was one of the few schools that offers a beginner‘s course every month. I tried applying for positions from overseas but was not successful. So I entered Japan on a tourist visa and gave myself three months to find a job. I studied Japanese to structure my day and, of course, to exchange with other people. There were some people at Genki JaCS doing similar things. And the atmosphere was very energetic and motivating – which was supportive to my endeavour.
In the evenings I researched job listings, the JALT website, the Ohayoo Sensei Newsletter and the blogs of other English teachers. There’s loads of experience posted out there, although some stories are a little discouraging – I tried to ignore them. In general, I followed a simple rule: To do something every day: research, send a few applications, rephrase my CV or the cover letter. Some applications took 15 minutes, others 3 hours. Another strategy was to always have a few applications in the pipeline – so I was never just waiting for one school to answer. Talking of – most places I applied to I never heard back from. Here I reminded myself that I only need one job, not all the jobs I was applying for. However, after 3 weeks of little response I decided to set up a backup plan – teaching in China. So I also started applying to English Schools in China. I received encouraging feedback which lifted my spirits – I knew I could always find a job there. And then a lovely English Language School invited me for an interview and offered me a job. I am now settling down in Kumamoto – just over an hour from Fukuoka.
When to come: The academic year starts in April and most teachers are hired in Jan/Feb/March. Must have’s: A bachelor degree, being a native speaker and a diploma in teaching (CELTA or TESOL). Oh, and some stamina.
Congratulations again, Vicky, and we hope you can stay in Japan for the long-term!