What did I know about teaching English? Nothing. What experience did I have? None. This is not to sound egotistical, but I got hired as a master of the English language because of the way I look and my charming personality. No kidding. Studies show Japanese students will sign up for more lessons with handsome Westerners than with brilliant Japanese scholars. Our school advertised it conspicuously. It's an image and prestige thing, especially with college aged young ladies who comprise the majority of enrollment.
Students and teacher.
My school was a private conversation school, which is the most common employer of foreign workers in the country. Our classes were only one to three students and stressed the students first listen, and then repeat. There was never Japanese spoken in the classroom and I was not required to know any to get hired.
Students, sensi, and secretaries.
Our lessons were 50 minutes long, mostly out of an easy-to-teach textbook called "Streamline." If the student wished to spend the time only having conversation, that was fine too. Our emphasis was on fun while learning, as well as building their confidence and ability. We also had a free conversation lounge called "Voice." In Voice, it was my duty to get the students talking and interacting with each other.
Teaching English became the finest way to learn about Japan and the Far East. My students were more than happy to answer my questions and fulfill my curiosities. I learned more as a teacher than any other job I've ever had. I'd highly recommend it for any potential traveler.
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