Teach in Japan: What you Should Know to Get Started

teach in japanJapan is a beautiful country filled with history, art and culture, as is known as one of the most technology-advanced countries in the world. Teaching English in Japan has become a popular way for many English-speaking natives to visit the country on a long-term basis. Teaching in Japan provides you with an opportunity to really explore the country and see parts of it that the regular tourist misses. You can take a course on how to teach English abroad successfully to let you know all you need to know before you begin regardless of where you want to teach.

However, if you are considering teaching in Japan, there are a few essential things you need to know.

What You Can Teach in Japan 

Most foreigners who teach in Japan end up teaching English as a second language. Other subjects require you to be proficient in Japanese, unless you teach in an international school where English is the main language. This makes it more complicated to find teaching jobs, and you will be competing against native Japanese teachers as well. If you choose this route, you will probably have to do most of the research and fill out the application without much help. However, for those who want to teach English in Japan, there are numerous programs in place to help you find the perfect job for you.

The Japanese like having native speakers teach their English classes, and there are plenty of foreigners coming to the country specifically to teach. This means that there is a system already in place to help people find jobs. You can find jobs teaching any age group, from young children barely beginning school to adults looking to acquire new skills. Many programs require you to have some experience teaching English with a strong understanding of the grammar and structure of the English language. However, there are also programs in place that provide you with the foundation necessary to teach English as a second language, no prior experience necessary. 

Teaching English as a Second Language 

Just because you speak English does not make you an expert on the language. There are certain elements about the language, such as grammar and vocabulary, which you will have to teach your students. Teaching these elements to a non-native speaker can be difficult. You will have much more success teaching English in Japan if you take a course on teaching English as a foreign language. The most common certification course is known as TESOL, or teaching English as a foreign or second language. There are introductory TESOL courses that will provide you with the knowledge you need to teach abroad. However, if you are looking to make a career out of teaching English as a second language, you will want to enroll in a more comprehensive course.

How to Get Certified

You can get certified to teach English as a second language in a few different ways. Many universities have certification courses that you can take in person that will last for a few weeks. There are also courses you can take as part of an education degree. You can also take one of the many online courses that provide either a simple or a comprehensive overview on teaching English as a second language. The type of course you take will depend on what type of experience and job you want in Japan. Some jobs will require a certain certification, along with experience, while others might not be as strict. You should research into the various job opportunities and their requirements before you get certified so that you prepare yourself for the job you want. 

How to Find Jobs

There are numerous jobs available to teach in Japan, but with the language barrier, it may be difficult for you to find a job on your own. Luckily, there are numerous programs in place to help you find a job. Some companies that provide TESOL certification will also assist you in finding a job in country. They will help you with every aspect of your trip, including certification, getting your immigration papers, buying your plane ticket, finding a place to live, and securing a job. Not every company offering TESOL certification will provide such a comprehensive service. Luckily, there are plenty of other companies that specialize in placing people into English teaching jobs abroad, especially in Japan. They will help you secure the job before you leave home, making the experience as smooth as possible.

What you Need to Know about Japanese Culture 

Japan has a rich and unique culture. Before you go, you should learn as much as you can about the culture to prepare yourself for the culture shock, as well as ensure you do not offend anyone. You can find books and blog posts that will explore Japanese culture in detail, including facts about Japanese culture that you may not know. Once you are in country, you should also find a friend or mentor who will help you navigate the nuances of the culture. If you go through a company, they might have ambassadors to help you adjust to the new culture, as well as an orientation program before you go. Otherwise, you can use social media to find people who can act as a mentor or ambassador and help you through your transition period.

Learning Japanese

One of the benefits of living in another country is the ability to learn another language. When you go to Japan, you should take advantage of being among the natives and learn as much as you can. You will find it easier if you begin to learn Japanese before you go. You can take an introductory Japanese course on Udemy if you want to learn the language before moving to Japan to teach. Even if you just learn the basics, including greetings, pleasantries, and directions, you will find it much easier to navigate the country. Although many people know English in Japan, and your job will focus on speaking English, you will have a much better experience if you learn as much of the language as you can. 

Must See Sites in Japan

The island nation of Japan is not large, being roughly the size of Montana, but it is filled with many places to explore during your time abroad. Although you will be working while in country, you must make time to travel. Teaching in Japan gives you a once in a lifetime experience to tour the country and learn the area as a native, rather than as a tourist on a whirlwind experience. A trip to Japan is not complete without exploring Tokyo. You might be lucky and get to live in Tokyo, which will give you the opportunity to really see all the sites offered in the city. If you are not based in Tokyo, you should make sure to take at least one trip to the city. Kyoto is another city worth exploring, especially the ancient part of town that features beautiful temples and shrines.

In addition to the cities, there are beautiful shrines and temples around the country to tour. One place to visit is Nikko, which has many of the most lavishly decorated temples and shrines in the country, and it is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to see more shrines and temples, visit Nara. For those who love to ski, or have always wanted to try, there are plenty of places to go skiing in Japan. There are other outdoor adventures to be had as well, including climbing in Mount Fiji. Be sure to also seek out a traditional Kabuki show while you are in Japan. There are so many different places to see, whether historical, archeological, natural beauty, cultural, or religious, that you can easily spend every weekend exploring the country.

Not only does Japan itself provide numerous places to explore and visit, you will also find yourself in Asia, in close proximity to many other beautiful places to visit. Although there is so much to explore, do not fall into the trap of always leaving your home base to go and see other places. Take the time to make friends and explore the city in which you live.

Get Ready to Teach in Japan Today

Teaching English in Japan will be an experience that you will never forget. It does not have to just be something you do for a year between college and starting your “real” career. You could stay in Japan and teach for many years, and you might even find that you want Japan to become your new home.

If you find yourself passionate about teaching English abroad, you might even use your skills and teach in many other places around the globe. The next stage in your career preparation could be learning to teach your students how to succeed academically in an English-speaking country. A simple Udemy course on the basics on teaching English for academic purposes can prepare you for this. Even if you decide to return to your home country, you use your experience to find jobs teaching English as a second language online or at a local school or university.