Teaching In Japan
- 1. Number of Preschools
- 2. Should I teach at Preschools or International Schools?
- 3. Qualifications
- 4. After-School
- 5. Teaching Materials
1. Number of Preschools and International Schools
Currently there are about 480 preschools in Japan. The prefecture of Tokyo has the most preschools with over 180 schools, and Kanagawa Prefecture has the second most with 58 preschools. If you are simply looking for a place to teach in Japan, Tokyo is definitely the best place to look. If you are looking for a teaching job in the Kansai area (west side of Japan) Osaka should be the place to look into. Osaka Prefecture currently has about 55 preschools.
Compared to preschools, there are less numbers of international schools here in Japan. Please note that some international schools have their own preschools. Some international schools have classes for 0 year olds to 12th grade, and some schools only have classes for high school students. There are about 70 international schools in Japan, and most of them are located in Tokyo. Please visit interschool-navi.com to search and gather information about some famous schools in Japan.
2. Should I teach at Preschools or International Schools?
This will depend on what kind of career you would like to build up, and what kind of person you are. If you love young children and have the passion to teach students while having fun, preschools should be the place for you. On the other hand if you have the passion to educated students professionally, help children widen their career options with the power of education, teach students how to score high marks on standardized tests, international schools should be the better choice. Also keep in mind that most international school students are fluent in English, since many students come from outside the country. For preschools, most of the students are Japanese, and since they are still very young, preschool English is going to be their first English experience.
The qualifications you will need to teach in preschools and international schools differ completely on the school. Since most of these schools are not Japanese public schools but private schools, a Japanese teaching license is not required. However, most schools (especially international schools) require teachers to have a teaching license/permit from the country they are from. Some schools also require teachers to have experience in the educational field. So, if you are planning to teach here in Japan but do not have a teaching permit, it may be wise to get one before you look for a job here. If you are looking for a preschool job, a nursery license is sometimes needed (If there is no such thing as a nursery license from the country you are from, something that is similar to that is accepted also.) Other than teaching permits, another qualification that schools look at is the TOEIC test. The TOEIC test is the most popular English standardized test that is used by cooperations and schools to check a person’s English ability. Please look at our Career Advise column for more test information.
At many preschools, there are classes held after the normal school period. On average, most preschools start from 10:00 a.m. and end classes around 2:00 p.m. However, since many Japanese mothers work and do not have the time to pick up their children, preschools have classes called “After-School”. These classes are held after 2:00 p.m. and last until 5:00 p.m. (on average). Therefore, if you are planning to work at a preschool, keep in mind that you may have classes to teach after normal classes.
5. Teaching Materials
The main goal for preschools is to teach children “how fun English can be” through many interesting activities in a friendly atmosphere. So in other words “having fun” is the top priority for preschools. In many cases, preschool will be their “first” school they go to, so it will also be their first time to communicate and play with other children in the same age group. Your job will be to assist and lead the way for the children. Students going to preschool will learn how to communicate with others, build up responsibility and learn how to have fun! For International Schools (K-12) it is a different environment. Your job is to academically teach the students. Most classes are taught in English except for Japanese and Japanese related classes such as culture class. Many international school students score higher on standardized tests compared to students in the U.S and Europe, so a high educational level is demanded at many schools. Also, if you have experience taking the IB or SAT, your skills will be helpful to many schools. More and more international schools are now teaching the IB, so experienced teachers are welcomed. If you want to add a different color to your resume, working at an international school in Japan is a great choice.