TEFL Japan PDF Print E-mail

The exotic climes of Asia are a natural draw to travellers of all ages, offering a completely different and intriguing culture to be immersed in.  When you add the extra dimension of many countries in Asia having a real demand for natural English speakers, it becomes the premium destination for TEFL'd up teachers wanting to travel and teach.


As an introduction to applying your TEFL overseas in Asia, we've put together a brief summary of some of the most popular Asian destinations to consider when hunting for a job.  Our first country of focus is Japan.



Kyoto, JapanDeveloped, high-tech, clean and with some of the lowest levels of crime in the world, Japan is a natural magnet for TEFL teachers.  A beautiful country with a polite and reserved yet quietly friendly and helpful populace, it also offers some of the highest wages worldwide for native English speakers, although the opportunities and salaries are not the low-hanging fruit they were in Japan's boom time of several years ago.  Since then Japan has languished in recession, and its turgid growth has taken a toll on all areas of the economy, including those businesses looking to hire native English speakers like you.


Nevertheless, the jobs are still out there, whether you go to the private language schools or whether you plump for the government-sponsored JET scheme.  It pays to shop around and do your research, though; despite the reputation Japan has of being a "polite" and "fair" society, there are plenty of language schools which are looking to take advantage of the unwary TEFL teacher, either by huge workloads (with unpaid overtime), withholding payment (especially the month's severance package you are due at the end of your term, commonly avoided by dismissing you before you're legally obliged to it) and all manner of other cunning ways.  DO YOUR RESEARCH!  Get personal recommendations from other teachers who have worked there; proper testimonials on the internet or better still in person (e..g from a friend of a friend).


How much can you earn teaching English in Japan?  Typically you should be looking at a monthly salary in excess of $3000, but be aware that some of that will be taken up by tax/expenditures such as National Insurance.  Accommodation also needs to be met, as it is rare for a school to provide it on your behalf, although sometimes they assist you by giving you lists/ideas for accommodation or even own apartments that are owned by/associated with the school and are sometimes claimed to be "subsided".  Where you teach in Japan will vastly affect your housing costs; Tokyo is naturally pricier than teaching and living in rural Japan, but expect a different lifestyle too.  Winter in Takayama is quiet, cold and dark whereas Tokyo never sleeps!