Announcement

Collapse

The GaijinPot Forum Is Closed

Please join us on our new Facebook Group.
See more
See less

Top

Collapse

Are Gaijin Teaching English in Japan Slackers?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Are Gaijin Teaching English in Japan Slackers?

    I've been thinking about this recently, mostly because I've been planning on heading back to Japan when my kid is school age so he can get a couple of years experience of learning Japanese in a Japanese school. Naturally, my options will be limited to teaching English. Now, I can deal with that for a couple of years, & I know folks who have done it for a few more years in order to save money in a low-cost environment while having a blast. But of those who do it long term, how many are not just opting out?

    Now don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with being a Slacker. I'm a card-carrying member of Generation X, & being a Slacker was our equivalent of the Hippie. I know some of you will say that you work very hard to create a stimulating teaching environment for your students & that it's more than just a job to you - & I'm sure it is. But, there are people who are teaching kids from broken homes in underprivileged areas back home & really making a difference to their lives. Some of you will say that you own your own school & you're worth ten times what I've got - & I'm sure you have. But, there are people back home who dropped out of high school, got into Real Estate, & are now worth ten times what you're worth.

    It seems to me that what you get for living in Japan is a degree of status/respect that you would need to do something more than simply graduate with an arts degree back home & that's the real reason some stay on. That's cool with me, but doesn't it eventually wear off? Do you get to a point where going back would mean such a drop in standard of living that it's no longer an option?

  • #2
    I can't speak to the motivations you mentioned in the last bit, and find it too simplistic and reductionist, but to answer the question as posed in the thread title:

    hell, yeah. I am stretching the limits of my memory to come up with even one long term acquaintance or friend that still only teaches English that isn't an obvious slacker in some significant form. Many of them pose as Academics due to their University level Eikaiwa jobs, some are Artistes and Moozishuns, but all are defintely slacking and lacking.

    And as with you, I have nothing against slackers and slacking in principle, though the intellectual pretence of some does get annoying. Mentally lazy people need to embrace their supposed vice and treat it as a virtue, not try to disguise it with sophomoric and aggrandising pseudo-philosophy. The world will always need fries with that, after all.

    BTW, I like your plan for Japan, but would be very surprised someone of your intelligence and capabilities couldn't figure out how to get a job that doesn't involve teaching English, especially if you get off your striped bottom and start looking into it in advance.

    I would work as a peanut farmer in rural Chiba before I would ever take a job that even remotely appeared connected to teaching EFL.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think a lot of people opt for it as an alternative to working in the 'rat race' yeah. One of the top reasons for me doing it has sometimes been its easy, but depends largely on what you're teaching.

      At entry level it's easy and often good fun. And when you get to higher positions you do get more respect and perks such as time off.

      The other thing for me was I am quite passionate about linguistics and it stoked that fire, and keeps me interested in that way. I'd be happy to do it as a career but in Japan the progress is too limited.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by kurogane View Post
        I can't speak to the motivations you mentioned in the last bit, and find it too simplistic and reductionist, but to answer the question as posed in the thread title:

        hell, yeah. I am stretching the limits of my memory to come up with even one long term acquaintance or friend that still only teaches English that isn't an obvious slacker in some significant form. Many of them pose as Academics due to their University level Eikaiwa jobs, some are Artistes and Moozishuns, but all are defintely slacking and lacking.

        And as with you, I have nothing against slackers and slacking in principle, though the intellectual pretence of some does get annoying. Mentally lazy people need to embrace their supposed vice and treat it as a virtue, not try to disguise it with sophomoric and aggrandising pseudo-philosophy. The world will always need fries with that, after all.

        BTW, I like your plan for Japan, but would be very surprised someone of your intelligence and capabilities couldn't figure out how to get a job that doesn't involve teaching English, especially if you get off your striped bottom and start looking into it in advance.

        I would work as a peanut farmer in rural Chiba before I would ever take a job that even remotely appeared connected to teaching EFL.
        That's funny because you strike me as someone who would really enjoy it!

        Comment


        • #5
          Peanut farming????

          Sure, I could see doing that...........

          I have never bothered to figure out why I dislike teaching as much as I do, and especially language teaching, but I do, whether it be ski instructing, teaching Anthropology, or teaching English, 2 of which I have done, one of which would be a bridge too far even for a jack of all trades like me. Keep in mind that my motivations for becoming an academic were heavily intertwined with my slacker ski bum worldview: they paid me well to do the only thing I was really good at, and once they stopped paying me to do pure research and I had to consider teaching as a fearsomely probable prospect I quit and took up another line of work.

          I don't judge anybody that doesn't feel that way, and even envy them a bit, but there ainna gonna be no Ekimae Kurogane Eikaiwa nowherez nohowz.

          One peevish pleasure I will admit to though is my secret mirth at the indignant outrage we see on here and at the local Ekimae Knobgoblin Pubs from English Teachers complaining about the lack of career prospects for English Teachers in Japan. Without significant qualifications and a niche gig like you mentioned, if one aims low enough to think of that as a career track one must drastically reduce their levels of pride and expectations to be at least as low as their aspirations, motivations and industry.

          MYHOMO.

          But I can certainly dig it as an alternative to the Rat Race, as you noted, and I think that a is a much more viable explanation than Spacetiger's notion of inflated self-importance, which is both overly psychological and rather snippy (not you, ST. In general, I mean). The important thing I think is to be clear eyed about it and what it is. Never having raced rats myself, I wonder if I were presented with a Sophie's Choice between Teaching English or Corporate Work which one I would take.
          Last edited by kurogane; 2013-09-01, 02:15 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Guess some people just don't like it. I do find teaching kids makes me bat____ crazy if I don't get regularly breaks although it is always amusing. It did take quite a while to start really enjoying it though, say 2 years. I was ready to quit after the first which was a bit of a nightmare of screaming kids and screaming bosses. I took another job back home for the money and got fired after a few months because I was clearly not into it, only to be reinstated when a colleague left without giving notice, suspiciously after the boss said he would be police checking us! After that I decided to buck up my ideas and start trying harder and eventually it paid off.

            I couldn't really bring myself to get too wound up about the lack of career options here as I read a lot about the places I work and I've never once got the impression it'd make for a good career! Opening your own school would be a slightly different story though.

            Anyways my own future is up in the air a little bit but TEFL on the whole does have options for those who like it. Just doesn't seem that many about here.

            If I were staying here forever though at least TEFL would buy me time to figure something else out and there is always something else going on, so again in that sense if you resign yourself to a base level eikawa job then let's be honest - you are a slacker. Having said that though compared to a lot of my mates back home I've had a positively glorious career, if you're looking for bigger slackers than TEFLers I could show you some people hahahahaha


            EDIT - about the respect thing, I wouldn't say it is a particularly prestigious job anywhere anymore!
            Last edited by rm83; 2013-09-01, 02:29 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah, simplistic I know. My last paragraph didn't even make grammatical sense, I think. Obviously there will be as many answers as there are teachers. I was just trying to avoid some of the regular responses that you see on this forum with the bit about passion &/or coin. I had planned going deeper with some stuff about trading in on the fading glory of a culture that came to dominate the globe but has degenerated to the point where things at home are worse than being a self-exiled drop-out; but I don't really think it's worth opening that can of worms. I also overlooked the plight of those who came for a working holiday & fell in love with a local lass who never had any intention of living anywhere other than Japan.

              I guess what I was driving at was, I feel it's safer to plan to go back to teaching English, even though I'll be in my mid-40s by this point, because there's no danger of me deciding to stay long-term. I think anything more than a two-year gap in the CV would ring alarm bells with any future potential employer. If I tried to make a go at it in some worthwhile venture, I might find myself five years later slowly biking down the street wearing a jinbei on a fine summer's day, gently bowing to local shopkeepers & realise that I'd gone native & that there was nowhere left for me to comfortably go.

              I think the rat-race thing is correct; but I think there is still a status thing. It's not so much about teaching. It applies to Irish backpackers pulling pints in Sydney too. That's not all they pull, due to their accents, & they do much better in that respect than they would back home.

              Anyway, I was looking at the ECC website this morning & thinking: OK, Y250K per month - that sucks, but it would just be so easy!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by spacetiger View Post
                I've been thinking about this recently, mostly because I've been planning on heading back to Japan when my kid is school age so he can get a couple of years experience of learning Japanese in a Japanese school.
                ...
                Sorry, but I think your apparently casual view of how to foster language acquisition at an early age (and how a kid might enjoy his/her early life), is pretty different than mine.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by spacetiger View Post
                  If I tried to make a go at it in some worthwhile venture, I might find myself five years later slowly biking down the street wearing a jinbei on a fine summer's day, gently bowing to local shopkeepers & realise that I'd gone native & that there was nowhere left for me to comfortably go.
                  That little image warmed my heart and reminded me of Gion matsuri time in Kyoto, when all the winguts pull out their Jinbei and Yukata and lord it over those of us loafing oafishly about in our Western Clothing! like a bunch of White Pride Imperialists. Even though I buy almost all my summer clothes at the Native Japanese home centres, usually for about 5000 yen total. Which is not to deride a good set of Jinbei, but you need to have the body type for them, or get some custom made so they fit right. All my ethnically Mediterranean friends look good in them. I look like a Trying Too Hard dork in them because of my long legs and short trunk. Western Men almost never look good in Yukata, so we'll leave that one.

                  But as for that career track planning, yeah, you're probably right. Very few other jobs for Us in Japan with such low entry and exit costs, and the sheer lack of charm in Eikaiwa work makes it doubly logical as far as the Lure of the Orient problem goes. My Inner Spock salutes you.
                  I can name at least 10 very able slacker friends that left Japan that would have been perfectly happy being stuck there if only they had more avenues for a rewarding career, though their lack of motivaton and industry was also part of the problem.


                  Which brings us back to the slacker problem.................

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by johnnyG View Post
                    Sorry, but I think your apparently casual view of how to foster language acquisition at an early age (and how a kid might enjoy his/her early life), is pretty different than mine.
                    No need to apologise. I don't consider school age to be an early age anyway. He speaks more Japanese than English at the moment, & hopefully a couple of years immersion before he turns ten will allow him to preserve some of it later in life. As for enjoyment, he gets to be the biggest kid in his class. What's not to enjoy?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                      I can name at least 10 very able slacker friends that left Japan that would have been perfectly happy being stuck there if only they had more avenues for a rewarding career, though their lack of motivaton and industry was also part of the problem.


                      Which brings us back to the slacker problem.................
                      Hmmmm. So slackers with potential elsewhere are forced to move on, while those with motivation & industry (who are therefore not slackers) can find avenues for a rewarding career in Japan. I guess this leaves those who actually stay in Japan teaching English long term as the true slackers. Kinda admirable in an underachieving way. Beats ending up like the Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by spacetiger View Post
                        Hmmmm. So slackers with potential elsewhere are forced to move on, while those with motivation & industry (who are therefore not slackers) can find avenues for a rewarding career in Japan. I guess this leaves those who actually stay in Japan teaching English long term as the true slackers. Kinda admirable in an underachieving way. Beats ending up like the Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons.
                        Boring as it sounds, it depends what you want out of life doesn't it? Also, we live in our own little world as teachers in Japan, have a look around outside and you'll see much worse off people doing much worse jobs. Depends on you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Is this another one of those threads about how useless English teachers are?
                          Yeah, totally agree, everyone should go back to their own damn country and speak their own damn language just like 1372. Ah those were the days right?
                          Whenever one of these threads comes up you just KNOW that the OP either was either ridiculed by his students and is still seething or walked in on his girlfriend getting boned by the local ALT.

                          The bitterness! Get over it. She saw, she liked, she came.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'll give you teaching for deprived, poor areas is much more honorable than teaching to generally well-off, entitled Japanese kids but... Why does this only matter for teaching? Is a doctor any less of a doctor because he chooses to have his own practice helping regular people rather than volunteer or work for very little in Africa?

                            There are people who take teaching seriously, there are people who don't, and there are people all over in between. I don't really see any point in slaving away longer than an 8 hour day, no matter what profession I'm in. I like my weekends and my time to pursue other things. In that regard, teaching in Japan is pretty sweet and I enjoy working with kids. As long as I'm working to live, I'm at least going to try and make the most of it.

                            As for slacking, I don't know. I don't have to spend as much time planning or prepping a lesson like when I first started. Not because I got lazy, but because I got used to planning a better lesson in less time. I don't consider using my time more effectively to be slacking, but I suppose from the outsider looking in perspective it might seem that way.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by twelvedown View Post
                              Is this another one of those threads about how useless English teachers are?
                              .

                              Not really, but that rant was quite revealing................


                              Originally posted by rm83 View Post
                              Boring as it sounds, it depends what you want out of life doesn't it? Also, we live in our own little world as teachers in Japan, have a look around outside and you'll see much worse off people doing much worse jobs. Depends on you.
                              Much, much worse. Nice comments, btw. I agree with your take on this.

                              I suppose my resistance to the idea of me teaching English is simply logic based: when I came to Japan in 1987 I made 100,000 per day working twice a week as a kimono model in the summer, and 15,000 per day as a ski clown in the winter. Then I trained and got a vocation. Whyever would I start doing THAT now?

                              The only scenario I could even imagine would be suddenly going broke and opting for life in Kyoto because it's so much cheaper, and then teaching 5-8 year olds, the only section of the species for which I retain any hope.


                              Originally posted by mizutama View Post
                              As for slacking, I don't know. .
                              As usual, a lovely defence of a much maligned profession and vocation, and as for your take on slacking, no you don't.

                              SpaceTiger(!!), the OP, means people lacking in a traditional work ethic who have chosen more or less consciously or reflexively to pursue a different life path not primarily centred on a value nexus symbolised by work, career advancement and financial gain, and whose ethos can be seen to explicitly reject more traditional benchmarks of externally modulated success and happiness in favour of a more internalised and idiosyncratic measure. It's a big reason why so many people your age sound like such self-indulgent witless hippy poseurs when they talk about these things.............

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X