TEFL teaching in Japan

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TEFL teaching in Japan

Unread postby Clareman » 22 Jun 2007, 10:17

Hi. I have just recently completed a TEFL training course with i-to-i. I am married to a japanese woman and have two kids. We live in Galway,Ireland but We want to go back and live in japan. I dont have a university degree but have two diplomas in Graphic Design and TEFL. Will I find work as a teacher even though I dont have a degree? I suppose I will be eligable for a spouse visa. Anyone know?
Tadhg Maloney
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Unread postby ironpetal » 12 Jul 2007, 10:06

I have heard that they will only take you in Japan if you have a degree and a Tefl.

But then you hear lots of different things.

Checkout the language schools there see what they say. This is the only way you are going to find out. Sorry for stating the obvious. ;)

Depends on what you want to do. I have a friend who wants to go to Japan and work on a Tefl. She does not have a degree and she thinks she doesn't or wont have a problem. If I hear any more I will let you know.

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Unread postby Alex Case » 22 Aug 2007, 14:53

The main reason you need a degree is for the visa. If you have a spouse visa you should be able to find a job even without a degree, or at the very least string together enough privates to make a living.
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INTERAC in Koga Ibaraki

Unread postby Clareman » 29 Aug 2007, 08:53

I have been hired by INTERAC since and will start a post in a junior high school as an ALT. Im going to Koga shi in Ibaraki ken end of September. Is Koga a nice place? Can i suppport my family on 250,000 yen a month? I guess it will be very tight. But I heard its illegal to do other work as well.
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Unread postby Alex Case » 29 Aug 2007, 14:24

Some contracts will say that you can't do privates on the side. Whether they are legally allowed to stop you is often disputed, but in Japan if they never have to notice they never have to worry. As you cannot possibly support a family without doing so, I guess the advice is do privates but keep it very quiet.

Never heard of Koga. Anywhere near Mito? Mito's nice...
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Unread postby Glenski » 29 Aug 2007, 14:46

Supporting a family of 4 on Interac salary will be impossible to near impossible. Your wife should realize that.

How old are your kids?
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Unread postby Clareman » 30 Aug 2007, 09:41

Glenski wrote:Supporting a family of 4 on Interac salary will be impossible to near impossible. Your wife should realize that.

How old are your kids?


My kids are one and three. My wife does realise this but It's been a long time in the works. I was wary myself about going there. So i researched and talked to many friends who have taught there. I applied to so many companies Like NOVA, AOEN, American Times,Joytalk and settled on INTERAC. I know it will be tough but I dont know for sure til I get there. Its got to better than here in Ireland stuck in night shift in a factory full of zombies and not able to afford a house. Ireland may be the land of riches at the moment but its too bloody expensive here.
But thats not the reason I am going to japan. We want to live in a new place and change career, have my kids see and experience japan and their family there,for my wife as she is very homesick and bored(not able to get much teaching work in Galway) and I want to learn the language too. I have a TEFL qualification and a background in graphics and manufacturing but work is abysmal as there too many English schools for foreigners here.
My wife has researched and found reasonably priced rented accomodation in Koga shi.
We just want a few years here and with some luck my wife will get part time work too. We have to consider school of course.
Im not going in to this blind, I am no gambler..Ive considered all angles I can.
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Unread postby Clareman » 30 Aug 2007, 09:47

Im sure some if not most guys/gals went there(Japan) on a wing and a prayer and got on ok. I well aware of disasters too!
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Unread postby Alex Case » 30 Aug 2007, 12:39

I'm afraid most people posting here probably did not move out with their families but got a family when they got here, so most of their advice will be more relevant to their own situation rather than yours. It sounds like you've made your decision for all the right reason, but just like back home things won't necessarily work out financially just because of that.

Bring out as much money as you can, live near your inlaws and do as many privates as you can early on until you see if you can afford to lose a few and you will see if you can stick around till juku (cramming school) starts for your kids and still survive. If you can , you will find that Japan is a great place.
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Unread postby Glenski » 30 Aug 2007, 14:54

Alex Case wrote:I'm afraid most people posting here probably did not move out with their families but got a family when they got here, so most of their advice will be more relevant to their own situation rather than yours.
Save your left-handed snipes, alex. My advice is as sound as ever, no matter if I got married here to a Japanese or not.

Clareman,
If you want to live here permanently, you need to understand a few things about foreigners here.

1) You will always be one, even if you get Permanent Resident status. My J in-laws are wonderful, and I hope yours are, too, but the majority of Japan (especially the government) won't necessarily accept you with open arms. Many times, you will have to earn their respect. Just a heads up here. For all I know, you may have zero problems.

2) Your wife may know a little about what it's like to be a foreigner in Ireland, but she will have to remember that when you return here, because you will probably face stronger anti-foreigner sentiment. Moreover, she will have to translate everything for you until you get up to speed. That means arranging housing, buying cars, dealing with sales people at the door, and tons more. So, learn Japanese as fast as possible, otherwise it is going to be a terrible burden on her.

3) As a foreigner with 2 kids, and presumably the notion to stay here permanently, you have to think about making more money. Scrimp and save on Interac's salary if you can, take on private lessons or other PT work if you must, but it's going to be tough financially, especially when the kids start going to school (and even more especially if it's an international school). I don't know why your wife is bored in Ireland, but if she returns to Japan and wants to spend money, it's going to require a harsh wake-up call with 250,000 yen/month. Think about more than the take-home money, too. Think health insurance, car tax and mandatory safety inspection (shakken), think pension plan and life insurance. Lots of guys scrape by, and lots of guys work 6-7 days a week whether they scrape by or make 600,000 yen/month.

4) If you work for Interac for a year or 2, you will have enough experience to try something a bit more lucrative in teaching (private HS, or even PT at junior colleges and universities). No need to worry about visa sponsorship from an employer if you have a spouse visa, but you have to move up the salary chain. If factory skills are all you have, you might want to really seriously consider what it's going to take to do well as a teacher or get the experience/education for a different line of work (coupled with good Japanese skills). Neither is easy, the former is easier than the latter, but there are some people who look down upon English teachers (behind their backs or not), so beware of that in relation to your in-laws, too. Graphic design work for foreigners here is like bringing coals to Newcastle, but if you have something unique to offer, then language skills and a good portfolio are only the start -- you're going to have to land some contacts, so network like mad.

5) Is your wife willing to work, even PT? Once both kids are in daycare/school, she will have more time on her hands, but she may not feel it is her place to bring in the money (more stress on you). And, with her essentially running things due to her Japanese ability, asking her to work on top of coordinating home affairs may be stress on her. Have the talk soon.

If you want more advice, PM me, or drop me a line.
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Unread postby Clareman » 31 Aug 2007, 00:08

wow..i know i have my work cut out but the bottom line is budget and learn japanese quick smart!!!!!
many thanks guys..

both of you!
Tadhg Maloney
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Unread postby Clareman » 31 Aug 2007, 00:15

actually im bringing 22,000 euros to tie us over till i get a decent? paycheck coming in- end of november.
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