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Preparing to Teach English in Japan

ToilsomeCrane

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I am 23 years old, I am an black American currently living in the United States. I plan on graduating from University in December with a 4-year bachelors degree in Visual Arts. I've studied Japanese at the University level for 1 year, and I am currently continuing my Japanese language study.

I hear that all you need to teach English in Japan a 4-year degree. Which is used to get the Visa from Immigration. What I want to do is create a checklist for myself to make myself as marketable as possible for good employers(employing English teachers) in Japan.

What I plan on doing in the next 6 months.
Continue Practicing and Studying Japanese
Take the JLPT N2 or N3
Take a 120 Hour+ TEFL course (currently taking the course now)
Taking a Public Speaking course, and continue practicing at a toastmasters club.

Relevant Work Experience or Related to Japan
Work at a Tea Shop for 1 year.
I was a trainer at UPS for 2 years.

This is just what I can think of. Is there any other sort of presentable certificate or skills that will enhance my resume?

Any Job searching advice? Where should I apply? Should I start applying now and tell any employers I'll graduate at the end of the year? Or will I actually need to have my degree before I start applying?

I've looked at employers like:
GOBA
AEON
The JET Program
Interac

One of my plans was coming to Japan on a tourist visa in January-March through WWOOFF and job searching on my off days. WWOOF JAPAN - Home WWOOFing is basically volunteer work on organic farms that need help in exchange for free room and board including meals for your duration.
 

nahadef

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In those companies you listed, speaking Japanese is sort of a negative. They don't want English teachers who practice Japanese with students.

After you get a degree, get a suit, a smile, a haircut, hide the tattoos if you have any, and you should get a job. Most teachers last about two years at those companies, so they are ALWAYS hiring. No joke.

They're a good way to get into the country, and if you stick around, you can find other work when you're settled (though you should finish your contract in a professional way).

Everyone has the same degree, so after that, a conservative image is important.
 

ToilsomeCrane

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Sounds good. Any advice on other companies I can apply to? I'm pretty open to where I'm okay with being place. I just don't want Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido, or Okinawa.
 

Mike Cash

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I have my doubts about N2 after a single year of college Japanese....

+1 on what def said.

You should be forewarned that being an English conversation teacher in actuality is usually more a matter of pretending to teach English to people who are pretending to learn it. So use one of those positions to get yourself through the door, but if you're the type who doesn't like being part of a never-ending farce, before you come make sure you're prepared for opportunities outside the conversation schools.
 

ToilsomeCrane

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I have my doubts about N2 after a single year of college Japanese....

+1 on what def said.

You should be forewarned that being an English conversation teacher in actuality is usually more a matter of pretending to teach English to people who are pretending to learn it. So use one of those positions to get yourself through the door, but if you're the type who doesn't like being part of a never-ending farce, before you come make sure you're prepared for opportunities outside the conversation schools.

Oops, I got that backwards. I meant N4-N3. I keep thinking it starts at 1 and then goes up to 5.

I am really over thinking the difficulty of getting into Japan with the proper visa? At what level do people actually want to learn English? Is it usually the university level and some private tutoring?
 

Glenski

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What the heck does working for UPS have to do with relevancy to Japan?

Eikaiwa adults go mostly to socialize with each other or to meet a foreigner, not truly learn (more) English.
Most HS grads can barely speak despite having six years of classes three times a week. They don't get much/any practice putting the grammar to use.
I really think you grossly overestimate what "university" level English is like here. I teach at one.
 

ToilsomeCrane

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I was a trainer there and helped teach proper methods and work practices to new hires. Basically it is something I can put on my resume to show I have hands on experience training/teaching people in a professional work environment.
 

Dotanbatan

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I was a trainer there and helped teach proper methods and work practices to new hires. Basically it is something I can put on my resume to show I have hands on experience training/teaching people in a professional work environment.

You are perfectly correct in what you say.
It is good to include your trainer experience in your C.V. no matter what job you are applying for.
 

Mike Cash

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They would be just as impressed by the third assistant french-fry jockey at Burger King. You're not being hired to actually teach anybody anything. There is no expectation that you will actually teach anybody anything.

The expectation is that you will be neat, pleasant, personable, and help in perpetuating the farce that education is taking place. What you need is a degree (to satisfy immigration requirements), clean and pressed tasteful clothes, a necktie free of gravy stains, and a winning smile. Youth and a clear complexion get bonus points.

You're there to help sell the dream of English proficiency. When the promised proficiency isn't delivered the students will blame themselves; neither you not the scam mill "school" will be held accountable.

The English conversation school racket is like a gigantic mud puddle. Step in with a plan to get out the other side of it and shake the filth of it off your feet. Don't make the mud puddle itself a destination where you sit down and wallow in it. A couple of years of that is about all most people can stomach. The ones who weren't prepared for a life in Japan on the other side of the mud puddle are faced with either the prospect of endless years in the mud or turning around and going back where they came from....most go back. Practically all go back.

I'm not knocking the honored profession of teaching or the sincere efforts of sincere teachers here, but I have nothing but loathing for the whole bogus English conversation school industry. Sham-and-scam....sham education, scamming the customers.
 
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ToilsomeCrane

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Alright, I'm getting the idea. Apply to as many places as possible; interview like a mad dog; accept a job; finish my contract; keep visa and look for work in a more preferred location if need be; renew visa if I stand the test of time; repeat.

More questions though. I understand I won't actually be teaching English in the traditional language sense. That being said, are there companies I should avoid? From what I've read, the Jet Program is the top tier company to be hired by when you first start. Are any of the bad ones still around?
 

nahadef

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Alright, I'm getting the idea. Apply to as many places as possible; interview like a mad dog; accept a job; finish my contract; keep visa and look for work in a more preferred location if need be; renew visa if I stand the test of time; repeat.

More questions though. I understand I won't actually be teaching English in the traditional language sense. That being said, are there companies I should avoid? From what I've read, the Jet Program is the top tier company to be hired by when you first start. Are any of the bad ones still around?

None of them are great, but the big ones are dependable (except Nova). Jet, I've heard, pays fine, but you often do nothing.

Nova is the company I have never heard anything good about. I've never met anyone not thrilled to quit.
 

Glenski

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A

More questions though. I understand I won't actually be teaching English in the traditional language sense. That being said, are there companies I should avoid? From what I've read, the Jet Program is the top tier company to be hired by when you first start. Are any of the bad ones still around?
For the billionth time, JET is not a company!

For advice about places to avoid, go to the ESL Cafe web site and ask around. Some places stand out, while others might get a mixed bag of opinions.

was a trainer there and helped teach proper methods and work practices to new hires. Basically it is something I can put on my resume to show I have hands on experience training/teaching people in a professional work environment.
i hope you explain better when it comes to interviews. The next logical interviewer question is, how do you think this compares to teaching English, or how do you think this helps? Same could be said for teaching/training people in scuba diving martial arts, retail, etc., all of which we have seen touted as "related experience".
 

tomoni

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Hello Toilsome crane

Of the places that you listed, the JET program is the best gig. It pays more and depending on where you are sent, you get free housing or half housing subsidy included with the salary.

The JET Programme--Official Homepage of The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme--

For the JET program a demonstrated interest in Japan (including learning J) is deftly a PULS. I think that you will have no problem getting a job, and that even if you are teaching inn a "conversation school" you can develop as a teacher and make a difference in your own way.

While there are many problems in the conversation school industry in Japan, you can make your open experience rewarding. It really depends on you.

NOTE for the JET PROGRAM you need to apply from you home country

The JET Programme--Official Homepage of The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme

In terms of lifestyle, teaching load, salary, IMO, this is the best option among those that you listed.

Good luck
 

Glenski

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Of the places that you listed, the JET program is the best gig. It pays more and depending on where you are sent, you get free housing or half housing subsidy included with the salary.
Or you might have to pay full rent like everyone else. It's not just the 2 options listed above.

Many people who apply to JET think they can get jobs in the bigger cities and want to do so in order to be nearer the bright lights and "action". They snub their noses at the countryside, but that's where most of the jobs are. Take heed. There are many things you can learn from rural areas, too.

And, just because you list a preference for a location, that doesn't mean you will get it.
 

tomoni

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Or you might have to pay full rent like everyone else. It's not just the 2 options listed above.

Glenski, nice catch- I had meant to write "may" get. (in my area it used to be free rent, but last I heard it was half- and that may have changed)

And, just because you list a preference for a location, that doesn't mean you will get it.

I think this is an important point to think aboutfor selection. Since many people choose Tokyo or other big cities, as a strategy for getting hired, you may want to consider rural areas. As Glenski has said, there is much to learn from rural areas. And if you want to focus on improving your J-language skills, being in a setting where you are forced to use J to function has its benefits.

I am in a rural area and some of the JETS that I have spoken too, chose the rural area in hopes of getting hired (for them - I guess it worked). I am not sure how much weight your choice plays in the selection process (or if it only considered, after the selection process is completed) but I have repeatedly heard from JETS that they thought their chances were better if they choose a rural area.

hope this helps.
 
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