There is, in Japan, a great demand for native English speakers teaching English, but most of that demand comes from private English “conversation schools”, or Ekaiwa, or JET, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.
Teaching English in Japanese Ekaiwa Ekaiwa are very common in Japan, and are “schools” in which those teaching English will be actually offering individual of small class sessions of conversations. Ekaiwa give Japanese of every age a chance to engage in real English conversation; teaching English in this way can give the teacher a chance to see their students progress in a very short time.
There are chains of ekaiwa in Japan, rather like there are chains of ballroom dancing studios in the US. The premier chains include Geos and ECC, which have upwards of two hundred ekaiwa, but there are thousands of smaller schools. Salaries and working conditions will vary according to the money behind each operation.
Those wanting to teach English in the Japanese ekaiwas can contact one of the recruitment offices that the chain ekaiwa operators have established abroad, in particular in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. While the better schools in the most desirable locations may require degrees in English and teaching experience, many ekaiwa only require a college degree.
The JET Program Many people, however, find that the premiere English teaching jobs in Japan come through the JET program, overseen by the Japanese government. The JET program, while it does include employment teaching English in Japanese schools on a daily basis, is really designed to expose the Japanese people to foreigners.
Most of those teaching English
in the JET program are assistant teachers in Japanese middle and high schools. They must be under forty, and have both excellent language skills and a college degree-although the field does not matter-and they are not allowed to choose the part of Japan in which they will be working. If accepted to the JET program, however, their airfare will be provided.
Those accepted to teach English in the JET program will have to have great interpersonal skills, because they will be immersed in a foreign culture and left more or less to their own devices as far as seeing that their basic needs are met. And they will be responsible for representing their native countries while in Japan.
Given a choice between the ekaiwa and JET English teaching positions, most of those considering a job in Japan opt for the JET program, which offers better salaries and, most of the time, better working conditions. But if you are young and resourceful, and want to see Japan while getting paid for doing something that is second nature to you-speaking English-an ekaiwa job can be just the ticket!.
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