Tefl careers: Japan needs skilled English teachers

Japan has been hard hit by natural disasters this year and, as life slowly starts to return to normal, the country needs English teachers more than ever. After the recent earthquake and tsunami, some schools and their pupils have been displaced, while other schools are unable to use their buildings. The presence of a regular English teacher offers structure and routine, both of which help children feel safe and secure as their communities recover.

One of Tefl England’s regular recruitment partners got in contact with me recently and asked for our help in recruiting English teachers for Japan. While there is a shortage of English teachers in Japan at present, recruitment organisation Interac are only recruiting teachers that they are confident will be able to contribute. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the right character is often as important as the right certificate in Tefl. An entry-level weekend Tefl course is the only teaching qualification required to teach in Japan with Interac, however, an applicant’s main asset for these teaching jobs is their personality.

Even more than in other Tefl jobs, teachers who want to work in Japan at the moment need to be sensitive and able to show extra attention to children dealing with difficult situations. They should be open-minded, cheerful and energetic people, who understand that they are guests in Japan and they must accept the culture as it is.

Resiliency and industriousness are also important and, as in any Tefl job, having some immunity to culture shock and homesickness would be a great asset. Teachers will also get ongoing support, training and relocation assistance in return for their efforts at this difficult time.

Teachers currently working in Japan have been keen to emphasise the positive side of working in the country at present. One Interac teacher, Oliver Huang, says: “Please come to Ibaraki. Life is still good here. The situation regarding the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor has stabilised.

“The Japanese people have been extremely resilient. It has been an awe-inspiring experience to witness the country banding together. They still need help, though. I’ve always felt redeemed by my work, but now I am especially proud about how I can contribute to the community.”

While such work may require a lot from an English teacher, it is undoubtedly rewarding. Another teacher with Interac, Nicole Kavanaugh, says: “To be a part of a community in Japan is to be a part of something special. This experience is something I will value for the rest of my life. I feel thankful to Japan for giving me the rare opportunity to see the best of what exists in people. I hope you can come and see it too.”

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