Teaching Spoken English at English Schools in Japan

Teaching Spoken English in Japan: what it is like

(Pictured: Mount Fuji by Paul Canosa)

At one of Japan`s largest chain English schools called ECC, I taught from 5:20PM-9:20PM on most days. I loved all the free time this gave me.

On Saturdays I taught from 2:15-6:15 and I had Sundays and Wednesdays off. I also had much of Mondays off--not having to start teaching until 5:20PM.

My girlfriend (now my wife) and I would often go on a weekend trip leaving on Saturday night or Sunday morning, and getting back in time forwork on Monday at 5:20.

Typically you will teach from about 4PM-9 or 9:30PM. You may teach in the mornings as well. Or you may be offered extra morning or afternoon work as it comes up. Things change so check to see what ECC is doing now if you are interested in teaching for them.

For me ECC was ideal as the pay for that time was very good and I loved all the free time it gave me to study Japanese or tour the area.

But decide for yourself what kind of situation you would like.

Teaching Spoken English: My Case

Again read all that you can about teaching here. You may regret it if you don`t, and that really is unfortunate. Teaching English in Japan should be an interesting and enjoyable experience.

(Pictured: a very beautiful temple in Japan, by Paul Canosa)

I never had a major problem with any of the bosses I taught for. Then again I was a good employee. I did the basics: showed up on time, appropriately dressed, prepared and ready to teach. Any problems I had, I left them at the door and didn`t bring them to work.

Just by doing your best, I found--you are halfway there. Your boss will see if you are trying or not. It`s tough to fakethat.

One of my bosses though Japanese, had lived in Vancouver for a while. Mr. Minamida was a great guy.

The teachers who had problems with their boss, tended to not follow the above basics. This is purely in my experience. Of course there are difficult bosses. I just didn`t have any. One boss was unique but I wouldn`t say he was difficult.

At ECC I had two weeks off over Christmas and New Years and two weeks off in August all paid. This is pretty typical for language school teachers in Japan. However,teacher beware. Check with the school about what you are being offered.

Teaching Spoken English -- Complaints about English Schools

Some have complained that you cannot make teaching at English schools a career. I think it depends. Some schools would love to keep you for many, many years--in other words a career. Others would prefer to hire a new teacher after you have taught there for three years or more. Perhaps the feeling is that the job will burn you out.

I believe at David English House there are some teachers who have taught there for ten years or more. As well I think at various schools including Shane and others, teachers can eventually be promoted to managerial positions.

A good friend of mine is a district manager at Shane. Then there are various positions at the different schools you can advance into. Best to ask the school if they offer career options for foreign language teachers.

One question you may want to ask yourself too is:

Teaching Spoken English: Do you want to make teaching at an English school a career?

I didn`t. For me it was always a stepping stone, a way to learn the ropes in order to open my own schooltwo years later. I became the owner and manager of Kevin`s English Schools, then decided I`d like to teachat a university. Then an elite high school here.

So for me TEFL--Teaching English as a foreign language has been a career. And teaching at an English school led me to open my own school. It was a stepping stone. It also led to university teaching, which has been great! So has teaching at the private high school.

Certainly, many of the English schools don`t regard the position of English teacher as a career either. You may find that they lay you off after three years or more. That being said, others will be more than happy to keep you for many years.

Check with the school before you sign the contract to see if it is the right situation for you.

Teaching Spoken English: learn how to run debates in your English classes.

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