Tea, coffee or some English conversation?: teaching English in Japan has a unique taste!
Have you ever thought about teaching English in Japan? There are currently lots of foreigners who would like to have this experience. Actually, teaching English is one of the most requested job position in Japan, above all in metropolis like Tokyo where a lot of companies are gathered together representing a huge platform for career opportunities.
Nowadays Japan is an integral part of the globalization and in order to be more international and play a larger role in this process, the Japanese demand of qualified English teachers is growing steadily.
Not only native speakers, even people with a proficiency in English can try to realize their own dream and become an English teacher in Japan. If you are thinking about a career as a English teacher, this article is for you: I will try to explain how English teaching activity is perceived by learners; I will also try to help you to better understand which are the requirements to get this job or at least what it’s indispensable to satisfy your hobby if you are passionate about the field of language teaching.
Who are English language learners in Japan: lots of different perspectives
I think it’s important to analyze which perspectives lead Japanese people to learn English. English is the language designated in the world as the solution for problems derived by communication barrier.
As I briefly mentioned at the beginning, the main reason why countries like Japan want to learn English is practically international business.
Except for young learners who approach English at school as English is becoming part of the bases of Japanese education system, the rest of the learners are people who need to improve their language skills for job-related reasons. Another pattern is those people, a bunch in most of cases, who are interested in meeting foreigner friends; they look for an easy channel to communicate and what’s better than the global language by definition? The last pattern is the one for all those Japanese who are merely interested in the language itself because, for example, they like western music or dramas. They usually don’t tend to attend English classes because in most of cases tuition fees are quite expensive.
In this respect I think we need to consider two of the main problems for learners: English language school tuition fees on one hand and the lack of self-confidence on the other.
Because of the price of English lessons there is a relevant number of English language learner-to-be who can’t attend classes in a language institute.
Besides, the introverted temperament of Japanese population is also a critical component among difficulties; there is a strong inhibition due to shyness: even with solid bases in English grammar, Japanese students feel shy and reluctant to practice English, especially with a foreigner interlocutor.
Many foreigners register their resume via some websites for teaching English. In those websites Japanese people can find amateur teachers. Lessons take place at cafes, parks and so on. I believe that it could be a clever way to solve main problems for Japanese learners overcoming language institute tuition fees or any sort of inhibitions. An informal location for the lesson, different from the classic one like a school or a language institute, can let the student feel comfortable: He/she may feel more confident or at least confident enough to practice his/her English and finally succeed in making progresses.
So, while drinking coffee or tea you can help learners to practice their English and spend a couple of hours in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. It could be a funny and helpful start to try out how it is teaching English in Japan.
Who can become an English teacher in Japan?
Let’s think one more time about the reason why countries like Japan need to increase the number of English speakers: basically, it is business. International business, by definition, suggests us that business is done mainly among people coming from different nationalities. In business more than in other fields words can’t be misunderstood; as a foreign worker in Japan I think that it’s important to provide a channel of communication to be understood by everyone not only native English speaker’s business men.
English is now more than ever a language that reflects the globalization, being a non-native speaker is not an impediment, on the contrary don’t think that your accent or your nationality may affect your professional goals. Your peculiarity lies on what makes you different from others. You could be an asset! So, don’t be afraid to apply for a position abroad as an English teacher. If you think you have a solid English language background, why not? If you have been studying English for years your knowledge of the English grammar, English semantics etc., is deep, and it might be deeper than a native speaker’s one.
But what is necessary to apply for such job positions?
-With no doubt what you need first, it’s a bachelor’s degree otherwise you won’t be able to receive a VISA.
-You need to be proficient not only in English grammar but even in comprehension, conversation and so on. Most of the times a proficiency certificate is required. The most required one is TEFL.
-Of course, job experiences related to the same field are more than welcome, but they are not a conditio sine qua non.
-Last but not less important, you need to be passionate about teaching. Even if you are a native English speaker you need to like this profession. It’s important for students to feel that their teacher is there for them. Especially in case of Japanese students. It’s important to create a solid and mutual trust relationship to put them at ease
It’s possible, you can!
Well, I hope I have been helpful! What do you think about teaching English in Japan after this article? Are you ready to challenge yourself?
Of course, teaching English in a café can’t be a stable employment but if you are a student for example, it can be your starting point and it can help you increase your experience before you start looking for a full-time job. Also, it would be an effective way to approach Japanese people and culture; if you are new in Japan, you could even meet some new friends and why not improving your Japanese too.
Remember that your knowledge of the language should be combined with a great passion for teaching, the desire to help other people reach a goal. This factor is often taken for granted but actually it makes the difference between a teacher and someone who just can do something but basically can’t teach it.
Do you think you have all the requirements to be a great English teacher in Japan? Have a consultation with us!
For any question related, please feel free to ask to JapanLIFE, we will try our best to provide you all the answers you need!
p.s. Don’t forget to send us your resume!