There are few foreigners in my neighbourhood but when I do see them it is usually in Geos, the DVD rental store. I sometimes stop by in the evening on my way home to return a DVD that I may have shown an excerpt of in class. Jamie Oliver is quite popular here, and the modern BBC version of Sherlock has just come out.fl
There are two kinds of foreigners in Geos. The first is the 7-foot blonde Russian girls who drop off their DVD's on their way to work at the local hostess bars. The second are the language school teachers. They also work evenings. I have never been a language school teacher although I have known a few. They are generally recent graduates who have come to Japan for a year or two to pay off student loans. They are generally treated appallingly badly by their employers and so return the favour by showing less than professional attitudes to their jobs. Language schools tend to recruit young people who look more attractive to students, but they usually have no language training whatsoever except being native speakers of English. If they recruited qualified teachers they would have to pay a living wage and benefits (many language schools don't even provide any health insurance options), and that would cut into their profits. And English after all is a business in this country, one that it losing more and more money in the recession.
I am sometimes asked about such jobs and I found this article in Japantoday.com, '5 Challenges of working for a major english conversation school', which may be useful.
Some are the comments are interesting too. Here are couple of excerpts:
"Taught English at Shane for 6 years. Back in the UK did Pgce and now in 2nd year of teaching. Will be back in Japan next summer with spouse to live permanently. I will be glad to teach in Japan again after the nightmare that is the British school system. Yes, school finishes at 3.30, however most evenings preperation and marking keep me at my desk until 9/10 pm. Point being that I find the "dullness" of eikaiwa quite relaxing in comparison. I feel the rewards outweigh the negatives. Frienfly keen students, reasonable salary No need to take work home. If you think management at your typical eikaiwa is overbearing and petty, try tge average UK school."
"Most of the small English schools are treating the teachers are lower than office furniture. They make contract signed that if you are dismissed the job or you resigned then you have to pay the money for a new person`s recruitment which include advertising and other expenses. And all ways make pressure or bully by so called manager.. The reality of the teaching and the advertisement or the welcome at the interview are different.. beware of it before you come to Japan. Need website to share the difficulties of each schools which people want to share..."
"teaching english" in Japan for 98% involved shud be something that is done for 1yr............2MAX!
Then get the hell out! It is seriously deadend stuff, by all means come to Japan for a bit & "teach" but unless you have the nads to open your own small school & TRULY ENJOY teaching, its best to only do for a short period so it doesnt hurt your career path or do something else in Japan!"
I think a website for foreign teachers to share information is a good idea however, the majority of foreigners who come to Japan stay for around two years and then go back to 'real' jobs. Therefore there may not be enough people with an interest in such a site.
People sometimes ask me about teaching and life in Japan so I have interviewed a few friends and colleagues about it and I will put those interviews online soon.