Louise B.

Assistant Language Teacher
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Louise B.
Historical Archaeology
United Kingdom

My employment

Assistant Language Teacher
Board of Education Sapporo
Medium-size business (50-249 employees)

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A day in the life of a Assistant Language Teacher in Japan

Teaching English in Japan

How I looked for work

I researched options for teaching English abroad as I wanted to travel. I looked online and in the careers center. I applied for various roles as it is competitive. I went through the JET application process which included application form, interview and medical. I also applied for the British Council.

How I found out about the job

Employer's website

The recruitment process

Applications take a very long time. Application forms are released in September of the year before leaving for the job (if you get it). Applications are due in November and require a lot of preparation including doctor's notes and references. Interviews happen in January/February and the results of the interviews come out in April. You receive details of your placement location in May and you then have to attend training in July for an August departure.

My career history

I started the job after graduation as a part of the JET programme. There is no direct career progress. Location of job within Japan is not at the control of the applicant. I was lucky to get a large city by the name of Sapporo. Some people further their careers from this job by moving to a different employer. Otherwise the maximum contract length is 5 years. I decided to leave this job after two years to change to a different job back in the UK because I was home (country) sick. I'm currently employed in the Civil Service.

Courses taken since graduation

TEFL Certificate

Where I hope to be in 5 years

The assistant language teacher job with the JET programme allows only a maximum 5 year contract and only the ability to shift sideways to one other job (CIR). There was no ability to progress unless you join a private educational institute. (This isn't why I left though - I'm not much interested in career progression just happiness and money to survive comfortably).

My advice to students considering work

Get involved with other activities outside of the degree. Employers want experience so think about what you want to do and go out and get it. The university gives many opportunities to gain experience in many fields.

Also take advantage of the York Award and Careers to really learn how to put together a good application and give a good interview. It's no use doing well on your degree and getting lots of experience if you can't display it right to potential employers!

My advice about working in my industry

Research the place you want to go, and be prepared to explain why you want to go there in the application and interview. Learn some basics of the language as it shows interest in the country and dedication and commitment in going there.

Talk to people who come from or have lived where you want to go to get a realistic view of what living there would be like. You may realise that it isn't what you think it is. Don't go to Japan to live if you are only interested in anime and manga!

What I do

My work involved attending a variety of schools of all age ranges (primary and secondary) as well as special schools for disabled children. I prepared activities and sometimes lessons to teach English for students varying in age approx. from 10-17. I also helped prepare and mark homework and tests. This is done in collaboration with the Japanese English teachers. Also I was occasionally involved in helping to judge speech contests and taking part in multi-cultural events at schools.

Skills I use and how I developed them

A degree was required to get the visa. The level was not as important. The subject of archaeology is often found interesting by the interviewers and can demonstrate an interest in other cultures which was important for this job. The transferable presentation skills were the most important thing I learned. Research skills and IT skills to make sheets etc were also useful.

Extracurricular skills:
Experience and skills to interact and teach children through the YUSU schools program was very useful. The Japanese from the LFA course was a life saver! :)

What I like most

I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to lots of students and teachers, to help people learn. I also liked to learn more about Japanese culture.

What I like least

I didn't like the lack of independence.

What would I change? I left because I missed UK things - such as food.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Louise’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Louise a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Louise to be your mentor.

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