Why English teachers in Japan feel like frauds and what to do about it

An issue that is difficult to pinpoint within the English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching profession are those who have joined the ranks without the proper training, and then continue to work. There are lots of people who find themselves teaching English as a default job, or it was an opportunity that arose, and they took it. After all, as the adage is thought, “if you can do something, you can teach it” and your language seems be an easy path to teach. But, this myth can quickly dissipate as the teacher finds himself or herself bored, and often not knowing what to do, leading to all sorts of problems-from disillusionment to other feelings of dissatisfaction.

Some commercial schools have taken their ‘teacher-training’ and minimalized it to the point where the new hires are given mostly instruction on how to fill out forms such as transportation and taxes in Japanese. For those that have more training, there are cases where the new trainee is to shadow a teacher who has been in the country longer. These trainers are often either new themselves, or just experienced in teaching, but have no idea how to train. This can lead to a situation where sometimes “the blind are leading the blind”. Many of the experienced teachers will think of this new mentoring obligation as a pain and will do the bare minimum to not get in trouble, which is not what a new hire really needs to start their career here.

Negligence is often due to cost savings and lack of resources, but these difficult starts are not only limited to privately run language schools either as it can also occur with government schools, private Jukus and post-secondary institutions. There are also a number of dispatch companies that range from extremely professional and competent …continue reading