Choosing a Path to Teach English in Japan

TOKYO : In a fast-paced world, having a skill set that meets the needs of modern employers is a prerequisite. One of the many aspects they look for is an employee who can show their real world knowledge in practical settings, whether that be in person or online.

In fact, a wonderful career that showcases this ability better than many is to become a TEFL (or Teach English as a Foreign Language) teacher. With global travel restrictions easing, now is the perfect moment to consider a TEFL career overseas.

One such nation in high demand for TEFL experts right now is Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun has a range of opportunities for the appropriate TEFL instructor, so below are some simple hints and tips to start the process of searching for a TEFL position in Japan.

Getting a TEFL certification

Though this may seem obvious, the reality is that some wannabe TEFL teachers have not thought about the immense value of getting a real TEFL certification. This is essential not only from the point of view of fulfilling potential visa requirements, but also to ensure that the TEFL tutor starts their new vocation with the right information to hand, and is ready to go from day one.

About requirements for teaching in Japan – the TEFL Org is an ideal place to commence the search. With realistic suggestions, and an easy to use interface, any question that a potential TEFL teacher could have is answered at the click of a button.

Not only does a TEFL certification place a new TEFL tutor right at the head of the pack when it comes to employability, but also the course itself is designed and led by experts in the TEFL field, who are on hand to guide and support the new TEFL starter. With years of experience in the sphere, no question is likely to faze them, meaning the rookie TEFL teacher can rest at ease, knowing their concerns will be taken seriously and treated with care.

Choosing an age group

Once the TEFL teacher has their bona fide qualification under their belt, the system of finding the right position in Japan can really begin. The last couple of years have made most people truly appreciate the value of traveling, and the relaxation of some international travel restrictions has led to a plethora of new applicants for the coveted teaching positions abroad.

With that in mind, the approach to seeking the right TEFL position in Japan should begin with narrowing down the search to the most suitable teaching age group. For everyone, this is different, but there are some global features worth thinking about with Japanese culture in particular.

For instance, many Japanese businesses are actively engaged in training their staff to be more fluent and comfortable in English. This, coupled with the fact that some Japanese firms are experimenting with a four day work week, means that the time may just be right for a TEFL tutor who is more familiar with adult education settings to take the plunge.

By contrast, the Japanese education system is full of schools and institutions that place the English language near the very top of their learning schedule. This has only increased in recent years, with the dawn of the digital age in particular playing a heavy role in ensuring that Japan wants to maintain a strong competitive edge in this area.

Opting for a location

In Japan, as with almost any country, there are densely populated city locations, as well as much more rural and secluded settings. The key is to determine which setting is more likely to be one that is amenable to the living hopes and expectations of the budding TEFL instructor.

For some, the hustle and bustle of Tokyo could prove to be an irresistible temptation. As the nation’s capital city, it is home to millions of potential students, from almost any type of background.

However, for others, a slightly more sedate location might just be in order, for example a smaller city like Kyoto. With a more traditional approach to life, and a slower pace of living in general, this can be the spot where other TEFL tutors find their own niche.

As with any big decision, taking the time to research beforehand is a must. This could take the form of an internet search about the places themselves, or finding out about the experience from those who have already lived there first hand.

Selecting a language level

Another major consideration worth bringing into the equation is the existing language level of the Japanese learners themselves. As with any skill that can be acquired, learning English is an ability that might tange all the way from beginner up to the most advanced level.

The pros of teaching starter learners of English is that they are a kind of blank canvas, ready to gain and apply new knowledge without any pre-existing error types in their tool kit. This is appealing to some new teachers, who would like to experiment with many of the strategies and techniques they just picked up during their TEFL certification programme.

On the other hand, the challenge of working with more advanced students is too good to pass up. These learners feel at home in English, and often require assistance that is not really available to them in a conventional course book. This is often an enticing possibility for creative thinkers, those who are able to adapt a lesson plan in an instant, and attend to the need in the room at that moment.

In between these is where the vast majority of English language learners tend to sit, with a level that is categorised as either pre-intermediate, intermediate or upper intermediate. Each of these levels in essence shows that the student has attained a specific amount of vocabulary and grammar already, but needs some aid refining their performance. In any event, making the right choice is one that will enable the TEFL teacher to flourish in their TEFL career in Japan.