If you go on Facebook Groups or Reddit forums you’ll often find people who will tell you all about how teaching salaries in Japan are capped at somewhere between ¥250,000 and ¥300,000 per month, and that “you’ll never make any more than that.” It’s often used as a thinly veiled excuse for not making more money or for leaving Japan and going home.
However, in my experience it is possible to make a lot more money teaching English when you do a few key things:
- Become better at what you do – become a great and passionate teacher
- Become better at looking for jobs – learn how to better monetise your skills and learn how to hustle for work. It’s always going to be a useful skill.
- Learn what jobs pay the best, and become capable of getting those jobs
- Carve out a niche or specialize in an area – if you’re passionate about a particular thing, teach it. I taught bakery classes, debate and philosophy, and it just so happens that the more specialised knowledge you need to teach something, the more you get paid.
- Omit the middle-man – This will not happen overnight (and I am not condoning poaching your school’s students as the school deserves the revenue for students they sourced), but build your own network of private lessons. You would be amazed at both the difference that the extra money makes in your life and how much less stress you will have when you know you can support yourself (or even just extend your exit ramp) if you decide to part ways with your employer. While keeping your employer happy is important, having some money on the side helps you emotionally if you have to refuse an unreasonable request from your boss.
A big part of this is the type of