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Can an old codger get teaching work in Japan?

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Hello everyone. A little about myself. I taught eikaiwa in Japan for 4 years from 2001-2005, and again from 2010-2012. I would really like to go back to Japan for a few years (possibly more), but I am 53 years old and know that my age is a huge strike against me. I am wondering if anyone here has any suggestions or advice for someone like me? I have applied to several job ads for eikaiwa and ALT positions that were advertised on GaijinPot and Dave's ESL Cafe, but no responses so far. Does anyone know of any companies that are not adverse to hiring older individuals? I am in excellent health, look pretty good for my age, and speak intermediate-level Japanese. Thank you.
 

Mike Cash

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Are you applying only to schools in the more popular urban areas or are you also applying to places out in the sticks? Rural areas would probably be less particular.

So you have any of the common TEFL certifications that would help dress up a resume? Have you passed any level of the JLPT? (It would look good and maybe give a smaller/rural school some indication that they won't have to follow you around wiping your nose for you).

Adverse vs. averse - Grammarist
 
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Hi. Thanks for your reply. I do not have any sort of TEFL or similar certification. I am looking for work in the Kanto area. I am open to Tokyo suburbs, or anywhere in Saitama, Chiba, or Kanagawa. Possibly willing to go out as far as Gunma or Ibaraki. I have not yet taken the JLPT but hope to take (and pass) the JLPT N1 in July. I am studying and practicing really hard to bring up my intermediate-level Japanese to greater fluency. I already have a lot of experience living in Japan and can handle my own day-to-day affairs without language assistance.
 
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I can't answer the question about why you aren't getting replies. Age, maybe. Maybe other things.

Why on earth would you want to demean yourself with an eikaiwa job at 53? Aren't you qualified for anything else?
 
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Hi Glenski. I don't consider teaching eikaiwa to be demeaning. I did it for 6 years and had a very positive experience. I met a lot of really nice friendly people of all ages and had a very good boss. I do realize that not everyone has such a good experience in the eikaiwa industry. But that being said, I would prefer to try working as an ALT in a middle school this time around. That would be something new for me. Hopefully I can find a good school to work at, but I realize this is a gamble. Do you know of any dispatch companies that don't care so much about an applicant's age? Thanks.
 

Mike Cash

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You're limiting yourself to the areas all the young people are applying for, which would help explain why you're having no luck.

Eikaiwa is a field not only where age works against you but also where previous experience doesn't work for you.

Loosen your geographical preferences way the hell up and you may have better luck. It is so much easier to get hired once you're in Japan compared to being overseas that you'll find it much easier to get a gig in the sticks and then relocate to where you'd rather be after a year or so rather than try for what you want on the first shot from out of the country.

After having spent a very considerable chunk of my life in Gunma I found it a little amusing that it is a place you would consider lowering your standards to if you just absolutely had to. By coincidence, just before you posted this I had just gotten off a very long phone call from a former coworker who, like me, finds himself in Tokyo for work about six days a week. One of our topics of discussion during the call was how glad we are to live in Gunma instead of Tokyo and how we wouldn't miss never having to go there again. Seriously, I don't see the attraction.
 
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Hi, Mike. I don't consider Gunma to be lowering my standards at all, it is simply far from where I prefer to be. I actually lived in Maebashi for 2 years my last time in Japan. It is a very nice town, and I lived right by the river and used to enjoy long bicycle rides along the cycling path there. For various reasons, I just want to be closer in to Tokyo-to (already know people there, etc). But I agree with you that Gunma is a gorgeous area and I had a very positive experience there. You are right in that it would probably be a lot easier to find something if I were on the ground in Japan, and in fact, that just may be what I will do, that is, go to Japan on a 3-month tourist visa and start pounding the pavement. When people can meet me in person and see that I am not senile and don't have one foot in the grave, maybe they will be more willing to give me a chance.
 
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Just to clarify, I am not wanting to live and work in any downtown type area of Tokyo such as Shinjuku, I want to live in a nice quiet suburb. I lived in Ome for 4 years, which is about 45 minutes west of Shinjuku on the Chuo/ Ome Line and absolutely loved it. It is about 30 minute from Tachikawa, which is a good-sized city with all the amenities, but in the other direction you are not far from beautiful rural areas such as Mitake mountain and Okutama. Best of both worlds.
 

Mike Cash

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The main reason people already here have an advantage is due to the lessened visa hassle, although a chance to make a good impression in person is always a plus.
 
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I don't consider teaching eikaiwa to be demeaning. I did it for 6 years and had a very positive experience.
I did it for almost 4 years, but I was 40 at the time. To jump back into it at 53 sounds pretty pitiful to me. "What do you do, sir?" "I work in eikaiwa." "Uh, ok. See ya." This is an attitude to expect.

You didn't answer my question earlier, so I'll pose it again. Don't you have other skills or experience to find work here? I'll also add this one: why Japan at 53?

To answer your question, no, I don't know dispatch agencies that shrug off age. I'd suggest you go to the ESL Cafe and ask in the Japan discussion forum.

if I were on the ground in Japan, and in fact, that just may be what I will do, that is, go to Japan on a 3-month tourist visa and start pounding the pavement.
I agree that that will be more helpful, but plan your timing well. You don't want to be here when there is a massive holiday or when the hiring is slow. ALT interviews often take place in November/December/January for the hiring in April. That would mean making a trip back and forth if you get hired, if you can afford it. Also, you do realize, don't you, that many ALTs get severely reduced monthly salaries with school is out.
 
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So, what happened? Did you get an eikaiwa job? Hey. I don't think it's demeaning, unless the particular situation is demeaning. What's wrong with teaching English in Japan in your 50s at an eikaiwa? How many are there in Japan? 5000? There's lots of room for different circumstances, some of which are pretty decent. Sounds like a good way to get back to Japan for a foreigner. A great thing about some eikaiwa is that you can really get local connections and build up your Japanese. I like the way that some of them really encourage using your Japanese and socializing with the students. Lots of marriages come out of eikaiwas. I would say that some eikaiwa discriminate against age, but definitely not all. I was working with a guy in his 60s at an eikaiwa. The guy had great Japanese. Not so sure how good he was at teaching English though. He kind of lived in his own bubble, thinking he was the only gaijin around with Japanese skills. I guess in his mind it was still the 80s. The danger of working at an eikaiwa isn't that it might be demeaning, but what sort of bubble you live in. I've met far too many weird old western men in Japan that have been around years and years, who have all sorts of teaching experience, still work as ALTs, at eikaiwas, etc. The main problem is they didn't study Japanese hard enough. Their whole life is just Japanese wife, English job. Way too dependent on their wives. They end up looking really dumb. It's like you're in Japan, god damn it. Act like it.
 

Mike Cash

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What's wrong with teaching English in Japan in your 50s at an eikaiwa? How many are there in Japan? 5000?
Gotta figure that most of these 10,422 are English conversation schools:

外国語会話教室数 [ 2014年第一位 愛知県 ]

The main problem is they didn't study Japanese hard enough. Their whole life is just Japanese wife, English job. Way too dependent on their wives. They end up looking really dumb. It's like you're in Japan, god damn it. Act like it.
That's a common theme in two-thirds of your posts here thus far.
 
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That's a common theme in two-thirds of your posts here thus far.

So, you looked up my other posts for some reason? Trying to show how good of a stalker you are? Me and my, what, 3 posts?
 

Mike Cash

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So, you looked up my other posts for some reason?
Yes.

Trying to show how good of a stalker you are? Me and my, what, 3 posts?
"Stalker"? For looking at your posts?

If it upsets you for people to read your opinions then maybe you should consider not sharing them on the internet.

I answered your question about the number of schools. Did you read the link?
 

Mike Cash

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So you didn't read the link? Can you read the link?
 

nahadef

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From what I’ve read here, ALT would be the better fit for you. Eikaiwa tend to want people they can sell, and those skew younger. As sad as it sounds, in my experience, experience was a hinderence. They want McDonalds-style staff, not teachers. That said, I had some dealings with Nova a few years ago and was surprised how over-40 everybody was. So they might be an option.

ALTs are there to teach, not to get people to sign long term contracts, and those companies are more looking for nicely dressed, polite people. Right now is the time to apply. There are definitely jobs out there right now. If you don’t have one by the end of February, you might be out of luck for 2018. For fill in jobs, they prefer people in Japan with a visa.
 
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