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altervenom

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really, I apologize for this. I've been doing research for a long time and still coming up with some of the same questions. Thank you for any information you can provide.

I will give a bit of background information on myself first. Currently I am working on my bachelor's degree, I will graduate in December and I will have a B.S. General Science; Chemistry with Teaching. It's a long title, I know. My major isn't a dual major but a program that is kind of a dual major? Basically when I graduate, I'd be able to work in a chemistry or natural science field, OR go into teaching. I'll need to take a standardized test, the PRAXIS II in my content area, to be certified to teach. I will also have the ability to take multiple PRAXIS exams, so I could take it in general science, chemistry, biology, math, et cetera and be certified to teach any of those subjects here in the US. If I intended to remain here in the US, I would have taken two or three of those exams to make myself more marketable.

That being said, I plan on moving to Japan! Yay (otherwise I wouldn't be here, right?)
So before I get all crazy and take all those praxi, (I have to take at least one of them, no matter what) I'm wondering if I should bother with more than one of them at all?

I saw one school specifically say they were looking for people who were qualified to teach areas other than English, which would precisely be me in that case, and of course I need to hear back from them before I figure out what they're looking for specifically. But here come the questions (and sorry for the TLDR)

Are there more schools like this? the one I'm referring to right now is called Sagan Speak, I believe. I would absolutely love to be able to move to Japan and teach some of my content area. And I intend on applying to Sagan but the more options the better.

TEFL/TESOL Certification? Should I take this? I've seen a few online courses (Love TEFL?) that are no more than 200 or 300 $ at most, which is fine, but I've also seen more indepth courses for 1000$ or more? Clearly there's a difference here. I dont plan on taking a 1000$ course but I do wonder if it would benefit me to get the online course cert? I see lots of places saying it's preferred but not necessary, I see lots of people saying the pay rate is better if you have the certification.

Finally, I dont like the idea of conversation schools at all. And I want to work in or around Tokyo/Chiba area. So I'm looking for other companies to apply to rather than the two I have on my list right now (Heart and Sagan).

Thank you for your time!
 

nice gaijin

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Why not look into international schools? You'd be able to teach in your field
 
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really, I apologize for this. I've been doing research for a long time and still coming up with some of the same questions. Thank you for any information you can provide.

I will give a bit of background information on myself first. Currently I am working on my bachelor's degree, I will graduate in December and I will have a B.S. General Science; Chemistry with Teaching. It's a long title, I know. My major isn't a dual major but a program that is kind of a dual major? Basically when I graduate, I'd be able to work in a chemistry or natural science field, OR go into teaching. I'll need to take a standardized test, the PRAXIS II in my content area, to be certified to teach. I will also have the ability to take multiple PRAXIS exams, so I could take it in general science, chemistry, biology, math, et cetera and be certified to teach any of those subjects here in the US. If I intended to remain here in the US, I would have taken two or three of those exams to make myself more marketable.

That being said, I plan on moving to Japan! Yay (otherwise I wouldn't be here, right?)
So before I get all crazy and take all those praxi, (I have to take at least one of them, no matter what) I'm wondering if I should bother with more than one of them at all?

I saw one school specifically say they were looking for people who were qualified to teach areas other than English, which would precisely be me in that case, and of course I need to hear back from them before I figure out what they're looking for specifically. But here come the questions (and sorry for the TLDR)

Are there more schools like this? the one I'm referring to right now is called Sagan Speak, I believe. I would absolutely love to be able to move to Japan and teach some of my content area. And I intend on applying to Sagan but the more options the better.

TEFL/TESOL Certification? Should I take this? I've seen a few online courses (Love TEFL?) that are no more than 200 or 300 $ at most, which is fine, but I've also seen more indepth courses for 1000$ or more? Clearly there's a difference here. I dont plan on taking a 1000$ course but I do wonder if it would benefit me to get the online course cert? I see lots of places saying it's preferred but not necessary, I see lots of people saying the pay rate is better if you have the certification.

Finally, I dont like the idea of conversation schools at all. And I want to work in or around Tokyo/Chiba area. So I'm looking for other companies to apply to rather than the two I have on my list right now (Heart and Sagan).

Thank you for your time!
Do the praxis exams and get a real job. If you want to work in Japan get a job at an International School teacher at a real international school, not one of the fake ones. Don't bother with the TEFL certification it doesn't matter in Japan, we didn't even know what a CELTA or DELTA was on our hiring committee. Sagan Speak and Heart are not schools they are outsourcing agencies that will pay you a terrible salary 250.000-300.000 if you are lucky.
 
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Sagan Speak is an admitted language dispatch agency. Avoid them for that reason if nothing else.
They also apparently claim to be able to dispatch you as a content teacher into international schools. I strongly suggest you go to the ESL Cafe and ask people there to tell you if that's legal. Dispatch agencies are not legally allowed to do that in universities, for example.
Plus, even if it's legal, it's not a normal route. International school teachers not only must have degrees but also teaching experience (2-5 years) in their home country. You would probably be relegated to non-credit courses at best, and seen as slag labor by the others there.

Getting paid what SS offers is bottom of the barrel salary, akin to what an eikaiwa teacher gets. But real experienced teachers at international schools get far more. Want that difference?

I would absolutely love to be able to move to Japan and teach some of my content area.
Then learn plenty of Japanese, get a degree from a Japanese university, and hope for the best.

Boy, you sure know how to pick 'em! Heart is notoriously bad. Do NOT get involved with them!

TEFL/TESOL Certification?
Get a CELTA. Nothing less. But that's only if you really, really, really plan on teaching EFL. If you're just going to be here a year or two, do what most others do and just show up (or join the JET Program).
 
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Then learn plenty of Japanese, get a degree from a Japanese university, and hope for the best.
Why? It would be much easier for the OP to get a teaching license get 2 years experience and then get a job at an International School in Japan. Much easier and the working environment would be reasonable, did you know Japanese teachers work 12 hour days and most do even more.
 

Mike Cash

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Why? It would be much easier for the OP to get a teaching license get 2 years experience and then get a job at an International School in Japan. Much easier and the working environment would be reasonable, did you know Japanese teachers work 12 hour days and most do even more.
No, I didn't know that. But I did Google it and find the data doesn't quite match your assertion
 
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Altervenom, definitely do the praxi, as many as you can, while you're still fresh. Trust me that the various minutiae fades quickly or gets replaced with more current information (often not on the test).

Then research the options (Japanese schools, international schools, dodea schools, whatever else is out there) and make a decision about what work life you want. No one can really decide that for you because only you know what's important to you. Then do what it takes to make that job a reality.
 
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Thank you everyone for your comments.

I had considered Heart because I had a friend who worked for them and he told me they weren't bad, but now I will be more cautious of them and sagan. If anyone has any recommendations as for schools or companies for me to look into that are better than these two, please let me know!

I didn't know anything about international schools before this, so I have looked into them quite a bit but it appears their hiring cycles wont fit with my graduation date. Due to the way school years work here, unless I got a long term sub assignment for half a year, I'd have a hard time finding a job here in the US during that time after graduation before moving to Japan.

I think an international school might be a good move for me once I already have moved there and if I decide to stay.

For the record I can speak and read Japanese, not super fluently or even close to native level, but well enough. I also know that it would require lots of time and effort for me to instead focus on learning Japanese well enough to teach science and/or math in Japanese which..I'm not sure I want to do at this point. I'm already 26, so spending any more time in school is not on the agenda.


Sagan Speak is an admitted language dispatch agency. Avoid them for that reason if nothing else.
Why is it a bad thing? I dont think I understand how this works..

Getting paid what SS offers is bottom of the barrel salary, akin to what an eikaiwa teacher gets. But real experienced teachers at international schools get far more. Want that difference?
ok so I'm all about the making enough money to pay bills, live and pay school loans

do what most others do and just show up .
but dont you need a visa? I can just show up and start job hunting ? that doesn't sound very secure..
 
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I think an international school might be a good move for me once I already have moved there and if I decide to stay.
It will probably not be an option unless you do the preparatory groundwork. I think you'll need to show years of experience teaching subjects in which you're certified while working in a proper school.

You're at a crossroads. It would be wise to decide what you want your life to look like in five years before you make this choice. Putting in a couple of years of teaching now in the US will massively widen your field of opportunities both in and out of the U.S.
 
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Wow! So many posts to catch up on.
Ishibai:
It would be much easier for the OP to get a teaching license get 2 years experience and then get a job at an International School in Japan.
Doing that would take less time and be easier overall if he wanted to teach science, yes, but it would limit him to international schools, perhaps DOD schools on a military base. I suggested learning Japanese and getting a degree from a J uni because that would open his options to all public/private schools. I kind of assumed that's what he wanted.

ishibai:
did you know Japanese teachers work 12 hour days and most do even more.
Considering I used to teach in a private HS, yes, of course I knew that. It's a miserable existence to stay in the building that long, and it's terribly inefficient from what I have seen. But, what makes you think a newbie to the teaching world (the OP at an intl school) wouldn't take home his work and put in as many hours there?

altervenom:
I had considered Heart because I had a friend who worked for them and he told me they weren't bad, but now I will be more cautious of them and sagan. If anyone has any recommendations as for schools or companies for me to look into that are better than these two, please let me know!
Eikaiwa and dispatch agencies? Is that what you mean? Please take my original advice and visit the ESL Cafe, Japan forum for teachers, and ask there. You will get a mixed bag of responses, but everyone there is a teacher or wannabe, and you'll have more advice than you can shake a stick at.

altervenom:
For the record I can speak and read Japanese, not super fluently or even close to native level, but well enough.
If you don't mind my asking, how good is that? Do you have a JLPT score? Just curious what you mean by well enough.

altervenom:
I also know that it would require lots of time and effort for me to instead focus on learning Japanese well enough to teach science and/or math in Japanese which..I'm not sure I want to do at this point. I'm already 26, so spending any more time in school is not on the agenda.
Two things here:
  1. Being 26 is young. Many people come here around that age to start English teaching and stay, but they soon realize they will need a master's or doctoral degree and get it (often by distance learning) for most work beyond eikaiwa or ALT jobs.
  2. What are you sure about at this point? I'm getting mixed messages about English vs. science teaching. Again, just curious here, as it affects how I answer your questions.
altervenom:
Why is it [ALT dispatch work] a bad thing? I dont think I understand how this works..
Dispatch companies have a poor reputation for filling a need in public schools. They usually don't offer the ALT any assistance in his job at all. Their involvement in schools and poor contracts have made quite a few changes in the system here in the past decade. Like the JET Program (a government-funded ALT program), dispatch companies send you to various schools (elem, jr hi, sr hi) as they pick up contracts. They make a profit off this. Their involvement recently has actually caused a change in the law so that the ALT and JTE (Japanese teacher of English) cannot really make lesson plans together, which IMO is a major snafu because how can 2 people work together without collaborating? Answer: they can't do it very efficiently. You are not looked upon favorably by JTEs anyway because most ALTs don't have any sort of teaching license or background or experience. They perpetuate what is often called in eikaiwa terms "edutainment", which simply means serving as an amusing foreign face and voice in the room in a vain effort to motivate students to study the language. Experiences as an ALT vary considerably, but a lot of them are relegated to being mere "human tape recorders", where they read aloud and students try to repeat. Ask the ESL Cafe. Dispatch agencies have caused a change in the law such that you no longer are able to work at a place more than 5 years (technically) because after that, you are obligated to be hired there permanently. I say "technically" because you might indeed be able to work there that long, but only because your contract (with the dispatch agency, mind you, not the school) cuts short your full-time status by a week or a month, thus nixing your full uninterrupted status each year. Sleazy, but that's how they operate. Type "ALT scam" into a Google search and read the plethora of posts. Or just peruse the General Union website for official stories.

altervenom:
ok so I'm all about the making enough money to pay bills, live and pay school loans
Typical eikaiwa or ALT salary is 250,000 yen/month pre-tax. This allows you to live and pay bills and get around a little. You will typically end up with $500-750 after taxes and deductions (I can provide a breakdown as I have done for dozens of people in the past 15 years), so what you do with that depends on you:
  • sightseeing
  • emergency or routine medical treatments
  • gasoline and parking (if you have a car or motorcycle, usually not needed unless you are in the countryside)
  • souvenirs
  • student loans (how much do you have per month?)
  • trips back home
altervenom:
but dont you need a visa? I can just show up and start job hunting ? that doesn't sound very secure..
It's not, but look at it this way. You can stay home safe and secure with whatever you have going now -- PT/FT job, all English environment, friends & family nearby, food & shopping you are accustomed to, etc. -- but you will be able to apply to jobs here only through a handful of recruiters that either have offices in your country or have the capability of doing a Skype interview. You pay for the 1-3 day expenses of going to the interviews in your country, and Skype interviews don't really give you any chance to look around and ask questions like a live interview. OR you can come here, with plenty of money in hand and at the right time of year, NOT tell customs or immigration that job hunting is your intent (because they will throw you back on the plane home), and do some sightseeing and job hunting with the capability to contact more employers. The majority don't have the deep pockets to have overseas recruiters, and most won't do Skype. But if you are here, they will see that as a sign of commitment and look upon you more favorably. Notifying them just prior to your arrival will shorten delays. Plus, about 1/3 of employers seem to prefer people who are already here. Some of them also have a requirement that you have a work visa already, but that's because they are looking for people who are experienced. Look at the bimonthly online publication Ohayo Sensei to see who wants what.

Just being here gets you used to some of the environment and culture, but you will need to bring about US$5000 to tide you over before you get hired and set up in housing. Again, I have broken down this into costs to describe how I reached that figure. There is no guarantee that you will ever get hired, certainly not in a week or two, so plan ahead. You will have 3 months, and that goes by fast. Competition here is steep, even for the lower ranks of eikaiwa and ALT.

If you have any science-related work experience, consider looking into business English agencies (Simul, Phoenix, etc.; I have posted a list of these in the past), because they will look for people who know the lingo and work environment and better serve their clients in those fields.

Once you get hired, you apply for the work visa, whether from your home country or from within Japan. You and the employer must both file various documents. Look up the necessary info at the Immigration Procedures Guidebook.
 
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Glenski,

I think we are wasting our time here as the OP is hell bent on coming to Japan no matter what. The sensible thing to do would be as I said get certified teach for 2 years in his home country and then try to get an International School job in Japan. It might not be that easy to find one though as there are only a few real ones. I think the OP will end up coming here as an ALT or something similar and then in about 10 years try to do what we are telling him to do now. He really needs to consider instant gratification versus the chance of a career.
 
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Glenski,
I think we are wasting our time here as the OP is hell bent on coming to Japan no matter what.
I don't know that for certain. How do you?

The sensible thing to do
He has the options. Let him consider which are sensible.

try to get an International School job in Japan. It might not be that easy to find one though as there are only a few real ones.
...which is only one reason I gave him other options. You started this one, and you should have said this up front.

He really needs to consider instant gratification versus the chance of a career.
More or less what I have been saying. Thanks for agreeing, albeit in a roundabout and late way.
 
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Moderator note: since this is a forum about Japan/Japanese, and some information is simply not readily available in English, linking to a Japanese-only source is not against the rules.

However, since the OP of the thread (and others) may not be able to understand the information, some indication that it's JP-only and an English summary would undoubtedly be appreciated.

There will be a brief lock while I remove discussion I don't feel is relevant to the OP.
ETA: open for business.
 
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nice gaijin

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The reason I originally suggested looking into international schools was that it would make the most of the OP's current career trajectory and training. Get the degree, take the PRAXIS, work a few years at schools in your own country, then seek work at International schools elsewhere. Your qualifications and work experience in the states help you get the job abroad. At least at the schools where my friends work, they're required to be licensed teachers at home, and having a couple years of experience was a prerequisite to getting placed. When I went to Korea to teach, I met a lot of people with different experiences. For those who trained to teach at home, international schools were a good path to take.

Try to make the most of the efforts you've already made, so you don't find yourself "starting from scratch" just so you can move to Japan. At least, that's my suggestion.
 
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