When it comes to jobs teaching in Japan, competition can be fierce. That is, for good jobs – as there are reportedly still some of the assembly-line eikaiwa out there who will take almost anything with a visa and a pulse. But let’s assume you’re looking for an actual teaching gig and are applying at a reputable school. What kind of people ARE they looking for to fill those opportunities? Let’s take a look at what makes an “ideal” candidate, and how that could be you!
Long, long gone are the days when not being fair and light-haired was almost a dealbreaker. With Japan exposed to the world via social media and the internet, the stereotypes of what a “true” English-speaker looks like have changed. As well, the rise of English-Japanese speaking YouTube personalities has changed the way many in Japan view the both the speakers and the language itself.
These days, eikaiwa in Japan commonly hire people of all skin colors, backgrounds, and nationalities.
Now, with all that above said, personal appearance is still paramount. The English school is hiring you to be the literal ‘face’ of the company to their customers, and they’re not going to put anyone looking like a slob there even with doctorate-level grammar knowledge. Dress up for the interview professionally (no shorts or cosplay please), and stay carefully groomed.
Body language matters too; so get a handle on your posture, practice your best outgoing smile, and rein in your fidgeting.
English schools in Japan do look for teaching experience and having that is a huge leg up. If you have any under your belt, whether its working for other eikaiwa or private tutoring, online lessons, etc., it’s worth putting out there.
Not having teaching experience can be a handicap, and it definitely will push you down in the short-list. But for a lot of people (myself included long ago), coming to Japan to teach English is more of a change of direction in life. You may not have any experience teaching whatsoever. And that’s OK – you can balance this out by beefing up your other facets. You’ll need to show your interviewer that you’ve got the promise: that with your winning personality, your professional appearance, and your clear, fluent English, you’ll be a star teacher in no time.
Which brings us to the last factor, and the most important one: your personality. You need to present a side of yourself that students are going to like, trust, and feel comfortable talking with. Consider the clientele you’ll be teaching to, whether the school is businessmen, college students, all-female, or even children. And ask yourself – “If I were a (client type), would I look to someone like me to teach me?” If the answer is NO, well… you know what to do!
Looking back on it, you can see that how “ideal” you are for the teaching English in Japan job is actually mostly in your hands. Your appearance, your personality, your conversation, all of these are things you can start working on today to get ready for that new position waiting for you over here.
And if you need help finding, applying for, or performing your teaching job in Japan, check out some of our other articles on this site – we’re adding more all the time.