Teaching English in Osaka, Japan
Report submitted on 30 June, 2014 by David.
Teaching English in Osaka, Japan:
How can teachers find teaching jobs in Osaka, Japan?
There are lots of ways to pick up work, both full-time and part-time. Firstly, there are the big “Eikaiwas” (e.g. Geos, ECC, Aeon) which are the English Conversion schools – they have schools al over Japan and employ thousands of foreign teachers. You can just contact them and set up an interview. Then there are lots of smaller conversation schools who are often looking for full-time and part-time teachers – you can drop in with your CV. Lots of schools post jobs ads online and also in free foreigner magazines, such as Kansai Flea Market. There are also company business classes – agencies hire teachers and send them to different companies to teach their staff – again look out for ads or call them directly. Probably the best way to find work is through word of mouth – get to know the foreigners in your area and they will know exactly where you should look.
The main English teaching jobs available are:
Full time English language school positions, agencies (send teachers to different locations), teaching at kindergartens / pre-schools, teaching at state schools (e.g. ALT), teaching at companies, teaching at community centers, teaching at colleges / universities, private teaching (not through a school, agency, etc.).
What are the minimum teaching requirements?
A Bachelors degree – you will need this at the very least.
What teaching requirements would you recommend?
A TEFL or similar teaching certificate – this is almost necessary now. Experience is also a big help in finding work.
What are the levels of payment?
250,000 yen – 300,000 yen per month (approx. US$2,400 – US$2,900) for full-time teaching work (by law the minimum is 250,000 yen)
Anywhere from 2,000 yen to 5,000 yen per hour for part-time work,
How many teaching days a week is normal?
5 days per week.
How many face-to-face teaching hours a week is normal?
20-30 hours per week. If you work at a lot of different places you can pretty much build up as many hours as you want.
What is the normal arrangement for holidays?
All public holidays and about 2 weeks personal holidays.
What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Osaka, Japan to teach English?
For finding jobs, network! The more teachers you know the more job leads you will get. The Japanese really place high value on smartness and punctuality – never be late for classes and dress smart. Wear a full business suit for any interview and you may even need to wear a suit at your school – so bring a suit with you!
What are the positive aspects of teaching English in Osaka, Japan?
Japanese are very kind and classroom discipline is usually not much of an issue. Students (especially the adults) generally love being taught by a foreigner so you can have a lot of fun in class. Schools are usually very well equipped and the big ones offer teacher training and support.
What are the negative aspects for teaching English in Osaka, Japan?
The hours can be long and you will often finish teaching late in the evening (9 or 10pm). In the summer it is unbearably hot and humid so you’ll be exhausted at the end of the day. In the big cities transport to and from your school can be really crowded, especially during rush hour – at this time be prepared to stand, squashed against everyone else in the train or bus. Saying that, transportation is amazing in Japan – always on time and frequent.
What are some of the teaching challenges for English teachers teaching the local people in your area?
Japanese are very shy so it can be difficult to get any conversation or discussion going in class. At the junior and senior high school level expect a lot of silence and nervous giggles in class! Japanese often find it very hard to lose their accent when speaking English – they use what’s called a “katakana” accent, which means they put a vowel at the end of every syllable. Also, they tend to focus a lot on accuracy and not fluency, so many students will talk really slowly and carefully as they are scared to make a mistake … this makes conversations and discussions difficult.
Living in Osaka, Japan:
Are there any visa or other legal requirements to live in Japan?
You will need a working visa – if you get a full-time job the school will usually help you with the paperwork. Once you have got the visa you will need to use this to get an alien registration card (often called a gaijin card – gaijin means foreigner).
What is the cost of living like in Japan?
It is expensive but the salaries are high so it all levels out. If you are careful with your spending you can save quite a bit. Rent can be around 50,000 yen for a one-room apartment (around US$580)
What are the usual accommodation arrangements and how can you find accommodation?
For full-time teachers your school will often set this up for you. Otherwise there are lots of agencies – foreign speaking ones advertise online and in magazines for foreigners.
Other than teaching, what positive aspects are there for living in Osaka, Japan?
The big cities are lively, exciting and full of life – you’ll never get bored. Outside of the cities the countryside is beautiful. All Japanese are really nice and kind, although they can be overly shy as well.
Other than teaching, what negative aspects are there for living in Osaka, Japan?
The summer heat. The difficulties of the language (learn the basics quick!), crowded, concrete jungle cities.
What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Osaka, Japan to live?
Get to know people in the foreign community – this will be a huge help and allow you to let off steam so the culture shock won’t be so extreme.
What things do you miss most (other than family and friends) from your home country?
English food, pubs, football. Walking down the street without being stared at.
What things would you recommend to new teachers in your area to bring with them from their home country (e.g. things that are difficult to get in your location)?
You can get a lot of stuff in Japan that you would get in your home country. Bring a suit and if you are a large size bring plenty of clothes as the Japanese sizes are small!
What do you think you will miss most when (or if) you leave Osaka, Japan?
Japanese restaurants, friends, mountains.
About Me and My Work:
My Name: David
Students I’ve taught in Japan: Pre-school / kindergarten (4-6 years), elementary (6-12 years), junior high school (12-15 years), high school (15-18 years), university, adults, business.
Where I teach: Various English conversation schools and companies in the Osaka and Kobe area. Working here for 11 years.
How I found my current jobs: Via other teachers that I know. Word of mouth.
My school facilities: Very good – Most schools have all you need.
Teacher support at my school: Lesson observations, trainings / workshops, teacher evaluations, peer support / training.
Do you teach English in Japan?
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