Teaching English in Japan

by Hugo

Teaching English in Japan is one of the most common jobs available for foreigners. There is a whole industry based on English teaching and lots of books made specifically for the Japanese market.

I often joke when people in Japan ask me what I do: Well, I'm no engineer so I guess I'm an English teacher. It's a fact: almost 98% of Westerners living in Japan teach English.

My own experience: I came to Japan in '97 armed with a working holiday visa and a dream. I first found a job in a bar, the night shift from 21:00 to 7:00. Not easy. there, I met a patron who told me they were looking for teachers at the school he worked at. Never looked back since then.

I've worked mostly as an Assistant Language Teacher in the public school system but I also worked in the private conversation school system.

Since 2007, though, it has gotten harder to get a decent job. The biggest Conversation school, Nova, went under like a meteor plunging in the ocean. Thousands of people lost their jobs and the market got flooded with cheap teachers.

This has done nothing good to keep the wages to a decent level or to help new comers come to Japan but the market is still there.

I'm lucky to speak Japanese as many employers prefer that you do, if only to deal with other staff members.

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