What kind of atmosphere do you enjoy teaching in?
If you plan to teach in Japan, you need to think about what kind of institution you would enjoy teaching for. There are many different kinds of situations.
(Pictured: Devanshe Chauhan, and English teacher in Japan in front of Iya, Route 32 on Shikoku)
I spent a year teaching English in Japan at an elite private school. They offered me another contract to teach for another year. I felt some of the Japanese staff were snobbish. One teacher had his classroom next to mine for the whole yearand couldn`t once be bothered to say hi to me. A colleague of mine, a lovely Japanese woman, found out she wasn`t rehired by not seeing her name on the list of teachers for the next year.
This was simply and oversight, but to me it highlighted what acold place it was to work. Just the fact that this kind ofoversight could happen, disturbed me, and she was almost in tears.
So try to find out as much as you can about the school you are thinking of teaching English in Japan at.
English Learning - the Atmosphere
What kind of atmosphere do you enjoy teaching in? When involved in English learning, the atmosphere of the institution can greatly affect how quickly and with how much joy the students pick up the target language; and of course how much you enjoy the job.
If the school has a lot of inane and strict rules, this of course affects how people feel while there.
Is the staff generally relaxed and friendly, or elitist and aloof, or somewhere in between? How are they with welcoming new teachers? How do they feel about teachers sent from an agency? (if that is what you will be).
These are tough questions to answer if you have never worked at the place, but will give you pause for thought. You can always ask about these kinds of things if you think you have a good shot at the job. It is tragic when teachers get into situations that don`t suit them. They end up feeling bitter about it.
What kind of atmosphere or teaching situation would you like?
For me, I have realized it is very important to have a relaxed atmosphere. I like a school where my colleagues and I have a friendly and warm relationship. This is very, very important to me. It took working in many schools to realize this.
I had thought that working in an elite school with amazing students would be really interesting. And it was to a certain extent.
But I have learned in the course of my teaching career, that a laid back atmosphere is prime for me.
If the institution is strict, and the staff and teachers are overworked, stressed, and not a lot of fun to be around. I won`t stick around.
Work should be as fun and interesting as possible. If not, then one should either make it so (if possible), or work elsewhere.
Before you sign that one year contract, make damn sure that it is a place you are going to enjoy working at. Even a year of your life is a long time.
Indeed, it takes a while to make friends and feel comfortable at a new place of work. But once you have paid your dues but still find you don`t fit in, then it may be time to move on.
I think one should honor one`s contract if possible. Preferably though, one should do as much as possible to think about what kind of place one wants to work at. Then do as much as possible to research the school in question by contacting former or current teachers, and getting a feel for the institution from the job interview, the website and such.
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