How are you doing?
It has been a few months since the spread of coronavirus started and it’s really sad that we can’t travel freely. But the situation is gradually getting better (We were not able to travel to one area to another in Japan, from June 19th we can!).
And the government here is planning to welcome new foreign workers from overseas again so if you are interested in moving to Japan, now is a great time to get prepared!
One of the most popular and the easiest jobs to get in Japan for a foreigner is teaching English. As Japan was ranked 53rd in an annual survey of 100 non-native English speaking countries (sadly..compared to neighboring countries like China (40th) and Korea (37th), Japan’s English language skills also fell below the world average), it is most likely that there will be more need for English teachers. If you search English teaching opportunities in Japan, you can find millions of information about it.
But is the job worth applying for? How much can you earn?
To answer those questions, I wrote about teaching English in Japan here.
I myself worked as a head teacher of AEON (one of the leading language institutes) for 3 years and have experience working as an English teacher for over 10 years now (in total, I have taught over 3,000 students in Japan).
So I know a lot about teaching English in Japan.
I will give information in details and based on my experience.
I hope this will help you make your life plan for the future!
3 major types of English teaching jobs
I give you a conclusion about how much you can earn teaching English in Japan: it depends on the kind of teaching job you take but sometimes from 1,500 yen per an hour to 300,000 yen per month at most.
Here are 3 major ways to be an English teacher in Japan.
1.Work as an ALT
ALT stands for Assistant Language Teacher. ALT helps teaching English at schools like elementary schools/junior high schools/high schools in Japan. There aren’t many requirements to apply for the position as long as you have graduated from a university/college and the official language in your country is English (that means, non native English speaker can be an English teacher here. You do need fluency in English though).
You don’t need experience teaching, but teaching certification such as TEFL, is preferred (but not required).
Average salary is about 270,000 yen per month.
2.Work for an English school
Taking an Eikaiwa (English speaking) teaching job at a language institute is also a popular way of teaching in Japan. Just like ALT, you don’t need a specific certificate to work for an English school but there are a lot of candidates for major companies (such as AEON, Berlitz, ECC) ,so if you would like to work in big cities, it’s better if you could prove that you are competent personnel.
Average salary is about 250,000 yen per month.
After the spread of coronavirus, online teaching job is getting more and more common. Great thing about online teaching job is that you can take it as a second job and you won’t need to go to a class to teach (you don’t even need to move to Japan!). Students will most likely be adults who need English for work or want to brush up their English skills for fun. You get paid based on how many hours/to how many students you teach.
Average salary is from 1,500 yen to 3,000 yen per hour.
Great things about teaching in Japan
By teaching English, you can make good connections with locals.
It is really fun to meet someone with different backgrounds like young students, adults, and elders. You can learn a lot about Japanese culture by talking with them and most of them are really friendly. If you are interested in Japanese culture and like communicating with others, I’m sure that you can enjoy the work. And it is very rewarding to see your students progress (like from a baby who can’t speak at all to a good English speaker). Even if you don’t have any experience teaching, if you are passionate about it, you will find it really fun.
Not good things about it
It depends on the program, but most teachers have contracts that are renewed every year. If school is unhappy with grades or your class, you may not be able to take the job again next year.
Not all students in schools are interested in learning English, so you might encounter some students who behave badly or ignore you during class. Many Japanese teachers at schools can not speak English well so you might feel somewhat isolated.
Just like ALT, you will have contracts and you will be graded by managers of the school every year so you need to work hard to live up to their expectations. Most students are serious about learning English and at big schools, you will be busy teaching many classes a day. Also to support your school (because it’s a business), you will need to do extra work like handing out flyers, selling materials, planning event, etc. Also, depending on the situation, you might be sent to a different school suddenly. If you don’t mind taking teaching as a business, you will have no problem but if you don’t, I won’t recommend.
It is very hard to make living just doing this job unless you apply for several online teaching positions. Most students (except those who are taking classes for work) are retired and not serious about learning compared to young students and adults, so you might get bored teaching basics again and again.
So, all in all is it worth taking the job? I would say, for a foreigner who’s coming to Japan for the first time, it will be a good start but it’s not a job for life. If you like teaching and Japanese culture, and want to be in Japan for a few years and then go back, I think this will be a good job (Or maybe you can look for another job as you teach). But otherwise, you should look for a different job. Teaching is not that easy! What you also need to consider is the cost of living in Japan. If you would like to be in a big city, you will need at least 200,000 yen per month (for details, check my another article: cost of living in Tokyo for a single person). So if you are thinking about taking a teaching job, you need to do some research about the area you will be staying and see how much it costs to live there.
I took a teaching job at AEON because I didn’t want to forget my English and I really wanted to support people who want to improve their English (and I didn’t mind doing a business). And I had great experience and I still feel very thankful for people I worked with and students I met.
If you are passionate about teaching, go for it! If not, try for a few years or look for another job. Let me know if you need any help regarding English teaching jobs in Japan.
Have a great day!
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