teaching english in japan

10 Tips for Teaching English in Japan

Have you ever wondered what teaching English in Japan would be like?

If you’re considering the idea of moving to Japan to teach English, you’re probably researching all of the paperwork requirements.

However, what happens when you have to start teaching? Read these 10 tips to be better prepared when you start your new job teaching English in Japan.

1. Passion and Professionalism

In Japan, being a teacher is a regarded and respected profession. Japanese people place their teachers in the same category as doctors, lawyers, politicians, and authors.

To honor this noble profession, you should always display the utmost professionalism. Make sure you always dress professionally and your behavior reflects professionalism as well.

Don’t forget to show students you’re passionate about teaching and. Show them you want to be there for them and not just to earn a paycheck and live abroad.

2. Don’t Forget to Encourage and Motivate

Don’t worry if, at first, your students seem unresponsive. It will take some time for students to warm up to their English teacher.

Culturally, Japanese students sometimes feel hesitant to speak English because they fear to get the answer wrong or making mistakes.

Since both languages are so different, they might lose motivation from time to time. It’s up to you to continue to encourage them to try their best. Show them it doesn’t matter if they make mistakes.

Always continue to motivate them to speak using positive encouragement.

3. Bring All the Energy You Got

It’s easy to feel the pressure wear you down, after all, teaching English in Japan has its challenges. Not only do you find yourself in a foreign country and away from your family, but you also have a lot to prove.

No matter what, don’t lose any of your energy because your lessons will depend on it.

Whether you teach high school students or kindergarteners, you will have to keep your students engaged. And if your batteries are depleted, students will notice.

4. Let Your Students Speak

Since Japanese students, depending on their professional goals, will have few opportunities to practice English, you should let them speak.

Japanese students often complain their English teachers spend too much time talking. You don’t want to be that teacher, that’s for sure.

Craft your lesson plans with plenty of activities and opportunities for them to be talkative.

After all, some of these students might require speaking fluent English to succeed in the business world. Give them the best chance to practice speaking as much as possible.

5. Use Tools Students Are Familiar With

Teaching English in Japan will give you the opportunity to learn new things. Why not start by learning what Japanese students like?

If you incorporate references they’re familiar with such as popular characters from TV and movies, they might be more responsive to you.

Not only will it help them feel like less like fish out of water, but they will also appreciate you taking the time to learn what they like. Start by using these characters in their lesson plans.

6. Be Respectful of the Culture

It might be nice for you to tell your students about where you come from and what it’s like. You might even bring a few objects and photos to show them where you’re from. After all, children are curious by nature.

However, if you’re teaching English in Japan, be careful not to undermine their culture. If something will sound like complaining, avoid saying it to your students.

Japanese people take a lot of pride in their culture.

Instead of questioning their culture, you could ask your students to recommend you things or show them you’re interested in fitting in.

7. You Need Your Team Teacher

You never know the age group you’ll be teaching. If you get young students, you’ll need all the help you can get.

Team teaching is often implemented in public schools in Japan. Your team teacher will most likely be Japanese.

Consider your team teacher viable especially in those first few weeks of teaching. They’ll be your second pair of eyes who will know how to discipline the students when needed.

8. Find Out What’s Considered Offensive

If you’re teaching English in Japan, you already know the culture is quite different. You should learn some basic etiquette to avoid offending someone.

For example, in Japan is considered bad form to give someone thumbs down. Japanese students might interpret this as you giving them the middle finger.

You should also avoid playing Hangman in classrooms. Students will find the classic game quite disturbing.

Another thing to steer clear of is trying to push students to give you their opinion. Trying to get Japanese students to debate and give their opinion for the sake of an exercise won’t be well received.

Most students fear getting the answer wrong and this makes them shy.

9. Students Might Fall Asleep Here and There

Although it’s frowned upon for students to fall asleep in class in America, it’s not all that odd in Japan.

In fact, Japanese teachers say it’s quite common for this to happen. Japanese students have really long school days, after-school programs, and more studying and homework when they get home.

Even if it annoys you, let them sleep.

10. Find Out the Country’s Requirements

Before you get too excited about teaching English in Japan, you should find out the basic requirements.

Start by checking if your passport is even current. If it’s not, it might be time to renew passport.

Check to see what other documents you need such as a college degree, background check, drug screening, and even teaching certification.

Also, you might need to figure out your salary and finances to make sure you can stay on your feet until you get your first paycheck.

You’ll Be Teaching English in Japan in No Time

Even though teaching English in Japan might seem like an overwhelming idea, it will also be an unforgettable opportunity.

Make sure you’re well informed about the culture, you maintain a positive energy, and always put your students first.

Did you enjoy these tips? If you did, spend more time on our blog. You’ll learn more about the latest career news.