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Guide to Japan and Teaching English in Japan

Michael Chan Former ELT News editor Michael Chan wrote this comprehensive guide to teaching English in Japan. It covers just about any question you might have, from the kind of qualifications you need to the differences between the different kinds of schools.

This resource is aimed at those interested in pursuing a teaching career in Japan. We welcome further additions and comments to this page. If there is information you cannot find in this guide - post your query on the Message Board or contact ELT News using our contact form

January 04, 2009

Teaching at High Schools

Teachers working full time in the high school system have a lot of advantages. They work in the same location (like conversation schools), yet may get a higher salary. High school classes in Japan start from 8-9am to 4-5pm. The teacher would usually teach 4-6 hours a day, with 1-2 hour's preparation time. Holidays are long, including all national and school holidays.

Being addressed as 'Sensei' is perhaps a big motivation for working in high schools!

What's the downside? A Japanese environment may entail some communication problems. What the teacher thinks is a good idea may not be considered a good idea for others. Class sizes tend to be higher compared to Western classes (30-40), so maintaining student attention could be a challenge. Teaching times may be lower compared to chain schools but a high school teacher's duty usually goes beyond the classroom. This could include test preparation and marking, school trips and excursions and other out-of-classroom duties related to the school. The JET Program is a big employer of native speakers for high schools. It hires several thousand a year from various countries.

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