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"Not" a Native, teaching possibilities

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  • "Not" a Native, teaching possibilities

    I've been reading this forum for a while now, and I wonder if you could help me with this one:

    I've finished my BA in Japanese Studies this last year and now, continuing my MA, I thought about taking a year off and coming to Japan to work as an English teacher. As I'm working as a teacher in an English school, and have been an English private teacher for few years now, I thought it wouldn't be too difficult. I have all the references, experience in teaching children (that's what I'm aiming for in Japan too), I can speak very decent Japanese (N2 level).
    I'm basically from a bilingual family and English is my second (or first? hard to say) language. I spent a great deal of my time in UK and have a proper British accent.

    BUT: I'm not a Native, since I haven't been born in UK, and I haven't got a citizenship, obviously.

    Having said that, my question is: what are my chances of finding a decend teaching job in Japan? I know I can prove my skills during an interview, but I fear that just because my surname doesn't sound English I won't be even taken into account... Am I being too pessimistic? Maybe it would be better if I looked for a job directly in Japan (I'm going there in the summer anyway)?

    Any feedback? Cheers.

  • #2
    Originally posted by daredatoomotte View Post
    BUT: I'm not a Native, since I haven't been born in UK, and I haven't got a citizenship, obviously.

    Having said that, my question is: what are my chances of finding a decend teaching job in Japan? I know I can prove my skills during an interview, but I fear that just because my surname doesn't sound English I won't be even taken into account... Am I being too pessimistic? Maybe it would be better if I looked for a job directly in Japan (I'm going there in the summer anyway)?

    Any feedback? Cheers.
    It looks like you have not looked at any job ads yet. It depends on the School. Some clearly state that they will 'only consider applicants with a passport from an english speaking country' (i.e. US, UK, Oz,... ) while others look just for 'native speakers'. But with your impressive background you should have no difficulties find a job. If you go to Japan anyway, it would make sense to already line up some interviews during your next trip.

    Comment


    • #3
      A lot of schools just ask for the "native speaker" part because of the work visa requirements.
      It's not necessarily a job requirement!
      As we all know there are a lot of non-native speakers out there who have great English skills.
      So, it's not that.

      The question is, will you be able to obtain a proper work visa if you're not a native speaker and haven't been educated in English for at least 12 years?
      If not, then you might be able to get the "working holiday visa", but as you didn't tell us your nationality, I don't know if you can get it or not.

      Comment


      • #4
        The company I worked with did hire a few teachers from non-English backgrounds. The key criteria is

        Native English Speaking Ability
        Full Bachelor Degree (in any field) for the work visa
        Basic Japanese Ability

        You can also improve your chances of employment by having some teaching experience and qualifications such as ESL, TEFL or CELTA.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by daredatoomotte View Post
          I spent a great deal of my time in UK and have a proper British accent.
          Strike one!


          Originally posted by daredatoomotte View Post
          BUT: I'm not a Native, since I haven't been born in UK, and I haven't got a citizenship, obviously.
          Oh, you weren't..? Yeah, that's obvious...

          Strike two!!

          Originally posted by daredatoomotte View Post
          Having said that, my question is: what are my chances of finding a decend teaching job in Japan? I know I can prove my skills during an interview, but I fear that just because my surname doesn't sound English I won't be even taken into account... Am I being too pessimistic? Maybe it would be better if I looked for a job directly in Japan (I'm going there in the summer anyway)?

          Any feedback? Cheers.
          O
          I believe in you, even though you have two strikes going for you. Improve your grammar, and don't expect any school to pay more than you are worth... Oh, and lose the quasi-awkward British accent. It seems painful for all concerned!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tsunatuna View Post
            A lot of schools just ask for the "native speaker" part because of the work visa requirements.
            It's not necessarily a job requirement!
            As we all know there are a lot of non-native speakers out there who have great English skills.
            So, it's not that.

            The question is, will you be able to obtain a proper work visa if you're not a native speaker and haven't been educated in English for at least 12 years?
            If not, then you might be able to get the "working holiday visa", but as you didn't tell us your nationality, I don't know if you can get it or not.
            Some of my friends are working in Japan (but not as teachers) and they had no problems with getting a visa, but from what you're saying the one they give to teachers is something different - I just need to check it once more in the embassy.

            Comment


            • #7
              It depends actually!

              If you work in an Eikaiwa school (cram school -ish) you'll need the "Specialist in Humanities" visa.
              However, if you work as an ALT, you'll need a different visa type (instructor visa).

              I can only speak from my own experience, but the latter one seems to be much harder to get for non-native speakers.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Japan Australia View Post
                The company I worked with did hire a few teachers from non-English backgrounds. The key criteria is

                Native English Speaking Ability
                Full Bachelor Degree (in any field) for the work visa
                Basic Japanese Ability

                You can also improve your chances of employment by having some teaching experience and qualifications such as ESL, TEFL or CELTA.
                Glad to hear that it's possible.

                I've read that offers for September start to pop up around June/July - that still gives me plenty of time, but I should've got around passing some of those exams long time ago... I just hope my Japanese will somehow prove to be useful when looking for a job.

                Btw, care to share the company's name?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tsunatuna View Post
                  It depends actually!

                  If you work in an Eikaiwa school (cram school -ish) you'll need the "Specialist in Humanities" visa.
                  However, if you work as an ALT, you'll need a different visa type (instructor visa).

                  I can only speak from my own experience, but the latter one seems to be much harder to get for non-native speakers.
                  Exactly, that's what I had in mind - the instructor visa. Probably won't be able to get that, but I'll call the embassy just in case.

                  How do I tell which school is Eikaiwa and which is ALT - I know it might sound like a stupid question but I'd rather hear that from somebody who has some experience.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Where are you from originally? Finding a job and getting a visa are different animals. You may find one more difficult than the other.

                    As for your friends who had "no problems with getting a visa", what was their job(s)? Sounds like it wasn't teaching, so obviously the requirements for the visa will differ.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by daredatoomotte View Post
                      Exactly, that's what I had in mind - the instructor visa. Probably won't be able to get that, but I'll call the embassy just in case.

                      How do I tell which school is Eikaiwa and which is ALT - I know it might sound like a stupid question but I'd rather hear that from somebody who has some experience.
                      Eikaiwa's generally are privately owned and run schools by companies where people go to learn and study English. ALT's are 'assistant' language teachers. They go to elementary (maybe junior high and high schools? I have experience only with elementary) and teach English with the homeroom teachers. I say "assistant" very loosely because of my own and friend's experiences where the ALT was mainly the person doing the lessons as the Japanese teachers stood to the side.

                      Oh and as far as the Native Speakers part.. I'm the head teacher at my school and I am involved with the hiring process/interviews of employees. We want to hire native speakers first obviously because even if you speak English fluently, but are not from a Native Speaking country where English is the first language, there are some people with accents that are just too thick we can't understand them during the interview process. Not necessarily because of a visa requirement. We sponsor visa's but if we can't understand you then how do you expect the children that you are teaching English to? However, if someone is not a native speaker and has lived in a foreign country/worked/went to school there then we would hire them. Just depends on their experience compared to the others in the long run.
                      Last edited by mandm; 2012-02-03, 08:40 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by daredatoomotte View Post
                        Glad to hear that it's possible.

                        I've read that offers for September start to pop up around June/July - that still gives me plenty of time, but I should've got around passing some of those exams long time ago... I just hope my Japanese will somehow prove to be useful when looking for a job.

                        Btw, care to share the company's name?
                        Yeah, most will pop up around June/July for September starts, but also some positions for ALTs will be advertised earlier than that in May, so be prepared as soon as possible. The company I worked for is called ALTIA CENTRAL and they specialise in the Tokai area of Japan but do have a few contracts outside of that area.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by daredatoomotte View Post
                          I've been reading this forum for a while now, and I wonder if you could help me with this one:

                          I've finished my BA in Japanese Studies this last year and now, continuing my MA, I thought about taking a year off and coming to Japan to work as an English teacher. As I'm working as a teacher in an English school, and have been an English private teacher for few years now, I thought it wouldn't be too difficult. I have all the references, experience in teaching children (that's what I'm aiming for in Japan too), I can speak very decent Japanese (N2 level).
                          I'm basically from a bilingual family and English is my second (or first? hard to say) language. I spent a great deal of my time in UK and have a proper British accent.

                          BUT: I'm not a Native, since I haven't been born in UK, and I haven't got a citizenship, obviously.

                          Having said that, my question is: what are my chances of finding a decend teaching job in Japan? I know I can prove my skills during an interview, but I fear that just because my surname doesn't sound English I won't be even taken into account... Am I being too pessimistic? Maybe it would be better if I looked for a job directly in Japan (I'm going there in the summer anyway)?

                          Any feedback? Cheers.
                          I've worked alongside non-native English speaking teachers from a number of different countries - Belgium, China, Taiwan, Ukraine, Italy, France and Montreal, Russia, Philippines - in both language schools and universities. However, all of these teachers had native like proficiency, although some of them were difficult to understand at times, and the university teachers all had Ph.D degrees in linguistics / language education. Also, the non-native speakers teaching in the language schools married to Japanese, making it easier for companies to hire them since there were not any visa issues.

                          It's possible - even likely - that you'll eventually find a job teaching English in Japan if you look long enough. You might want to try some of the large EFL school chains like Berlitz, ECC or AEON for a start.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Shimokitazawa View Post
                            I've worked alongside non-native English speaking teachers from a number of different countries - Belgium, China, Taiwan, Ukraine, Italy, France and Montreal, Russia, Philippines - in both language schools and universities. However, all of these teachers had native like proficiency, although some of them were difficult to understand at times, and the university teachers all had Ph.D degrees in linguistics / language education. Also, the non-native speakers teaching in the language schools married to Japanese, making it easier for companies to hire them since there were not any visa issues.

                            It's possible - even likely - that you'll eventually find a job teaching English in Japan if you look long enough. You might want to try some of the large EFL school chains like Berlitz, ECC or AEON for a start.
                            Thanks for advice. I have the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, I've heard it's not really all that popular ouside of Europe, though I suppose bigger schools would recognise it anyway.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mandm View Post
                              We want to hire native speakers first ... there are some people with accents that are just too thick we can't understand them during the interview process.
                              So 'Chinese and Irish need not apply'.

                              Comment

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