Articles for Teachers

Re: The Forums About Teaching English in Japan Need to Take A Reality Check!
By:Santiago

Your point is well taken Kevin. The fact that so many teachers bemoan their negative experiences in the forums and that we don't hear much from the ones who have or are enjoying their experiences is something I've noticed also. I've only recently began contributing to the teacher's forum at this site after a couple of years of reading so much whining that I very nearly started sending out for some crackers and cheese to go with it. I also think it interesting to note that a vast majority of the complainers don't seem to have enough skills to write their way out of a paper bag - a sad fact that leads me to wonder if their "ill treatment" was in some cases directly related to their absence of teaching skills and/or ability to properly use the English language.

But setting all that aside for the moment, I wonder if Japan is a far more ideal setting to teach English than are other Asian countries. The horror stories out of Korea for example are endless. Personally, I can only speak from three years experience in China and aside from the fact that the complainers are often weak writers, the sad truth is that the EFL game in China is now running amok.

I wouldn't bring this up here in what seems to be a Japan only context on your part, but some of your advice was directed toward teachers interested in teaching abroad in general. My advice, similar to yours, is that teachers interested in teaching in China or elsewhere should be exhaustive in their search for information and, yes, don't listen only to the naysayers. However, I can tell you unequivocably that China is an EFL minefield right now. So much so that I've even stated in the forum my belief that there should be a moratorium on all new hiring until the government gets it all sorted out. You see, I'm not just going by what I've read here and elsewhere. I've been here three years now and stepped on a few of those mines myself and have talked to numerous teachers up close and personal about their experiences. The truth is I've yet to meet one teacher who hasn't had to pay their dues - the hard way - to finally find the one job where they can relax and be the teacher they truly want to be without worrying about the rest of the stuff.

I think though that it's fair to make a comparison. Aside from the fact that China's economy is booming its still a developing country. And most people would agree that corruption runs the deepest in countries that are still pulling themselves up by the boot straps out of past degradations and decadence. On the other hand, Japan is very developed and though not bereft of corruption anymore than say America is for example, it is far more in touch with the Rule of Law and accountability than is China.

Simply stated, China has its hands full. One can only hope that the EFL situation, worsening every day, is not too far down the list and that it will soon be addressed by those with not only the power and willingness to fix it, but also the recognition that to do so will be to the betterment of this incredibly beautiful and culturally diverse country.





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