Zimmerman wrote:Hi everyone. It's great to finally communicate with real educators. I am a 33 year old American man with a Bachelor's of Science in English Lit and a Master's in Library and Information Science. Being single, bored and with no children, I'm looking into the possibility of teaching English in Japan. However, I'm a little disconcerted about the age and sex factor. I'm constantly being reminded that they prefer young women as teachers in Japan. Am I too old? Am I the wrong sex? Is there any future for older male educators over there?
"OLD"?!?!!? I am over 40
, sir, and I am not "old"
Japan might be a harder place to land work for two reasons, one you know and one you don't:
1) The world economy. Jobs may begin to dry up.
2) Last year, a major chain school went belly up due to ownership fraud. Dozens (hundreds?) of teachers were out of work, though thankfully the Japanese government was tolerant in how it handled things. The market may be glutted with teachers.
Recruiters are the first place to try. Most are reputable, some are not. Through them you could line up a job and make arrangements to work before ever packing to leave. I have not worked in Japan, only South Korea and Taiwan, but now may be a good time to start looking. Schools in the latter two countries prefer to have people starting in September. Japan may too.
If you're more daring and willing to travel without a guaranteed job, I would recommend landing in Seoul, not Japan. It's cheaper to stay there, only an hour's flight to Japan if you land a job, and Korea gives most foreigners a three month tourist visa (six months for Canadians and a few others) with no questions asked. You can take your time and be picky.
Korea is also worth looking into; although its wages are lower than Japan's, the cost of living is that much lower as well and the tax rate is the same. (Korean smoking, however, is abominable.)
The Japanese embassy is in Seoul, so getting a visa and flying over is a simple matter. Also consider Taiwan because you could teach at public schools and make significantly more.
The bottom line is, as long as you're a native English speaker, competent and respectful, and have letters after your name (e.g. BSc), you can find work. The real question is whether you can stand living in a foreign culture (99% of people) or become a basket case (1%).
Write privately or publicly if you want to ask me more.