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Am I being realistic? 2008/4/11 09:23
I have a dream to live in Japan. I was born in Okinawa to a US Marine and an Uchinanchu woman. We Moved to Hawaii when i was still in diapers, and i have been here ever since. My mom and dad were only 19 & 20 respectively when they "accidentally" became pregnant with me. My parents divorced within 3yrs of moving here, and i was raised by my dad - i have no relationship with either of them as they are both very angry people drunk on doses of lunacy. They are the only family i know. I am often heartsick with regret at not having been raised in Japan where i would have enjoyed growing up with my huge family (my mom is one of 9 children, and each has many sons and daughters). To this very day i feel an undeniable and irrepressible pull toward Japan. My dream is not about righting any wrongs, or the long lost lamb returning to the flock, no. I don't know how to explain my desire other than to describe it as a deep feeling that i belong in Japan - I am supposed to be there.
So, I am finishing my degree in graphic art/fine art at UH, and i will attain my masters in TESL in about 2 yrs. But, here's the deal... I will be 52yrs old when i get my Masters and am ready to move to Japan!
{As a Hapa-Haole (half asian, half caucasian) i must say that i am well-preserved, pickled... ok, i look really good - I run and surf daily. Most of my classmates know that i am old - they guess my age to be 33-35. Ha!}
What kinds of obstacles does my age present in finding good work? Are the obstacles surmountable? Are there any employers who seek/value professional teachers regardless of age? Am i being realistic about my dream?
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I will sincerely appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.
by dreambot  

. 2008/4/11 12:20
I'm not in the teaching field, so I'm not an expert but I do know a guy who's a little older than you who works as an English teacher. He had a tough time finding anyone who was willing to hire him and he ended working for a dispatch company. He gets paid below average wages.

With a Master's degree, I hope you're looking a college level position. I would avoid eikaiwa schools, if possible.
by Po rate this post as useful

. 2008/4/11 14:58
Thanks Po.
And thank YOU Jupiter!

Getting my Masters degree in TESL covers the suggestion for having a tefl certification, so credibility wont be an issue.
Most colleges are interested in younger applicants because older instructors/professors
merit higher pay. The younger (foreign) professors are usually not offered contracts after the age of 35 because the college admin doesn't want them on a tenure track (though this is beginning to change).
Nova, Aeon etc. sound like fine
places to work for a sprout...
but i don't want to move to Japan to work in a mall for companies who primarily have their eyes on the bottom line.
Is there any one out there who is a... a... a mature teacher, or knows one. Any anecdotes?
by dreambot rate this post as useful

... 2008/4/11 17:41
At your age, potential employers will definitely ask you what you have been doing so far as your career - so be prepared to answer that question
credibly, meaning, if you can somehow show that you've always loved teaching, and have taught English/other classes, etc., etc., that would be
met with favorable response. If you come with the Master's in TEFL but without any teaching experience, then you would be competing against younger guys whose aim is to work in Japan (not for the love of teaching, but because teaching English is the easiest way into Japan for those without any career/ skills yet).

Another thing is - Japan is not immigrant-friendly country, you have to keep that in mind. I think some people have also asked here if they can just move to Japan as a place to retire to... I don't know what you want to eventually, but if you find employment in places like ECC, AEON and the like, the contract is likely to be for one year, the employer sponsoring you for the visa for that one year. For you to be eligible for permanent resident status (provided that is your objective), you would need to repeat that contract, or find similar employers.

I think so far the most mature... ahem, teachers I know (personally - and whose age I know of lol) working at ENglish conversation schools (ECC, Aeon and the like) are in their early 40s or so... of course if you are going after college or university positions, that would be different, but that would mean you have to have teaching/academic experiences already.

Is there any way you can come visit Japan first (as a tourist) to see if your feelings of belonging here remains unchanged? :) Good luck in everything!
by AK (Japanese) rate this post as useful

Aloha 2008/4/11 18:54
I'm also from Hawaii. I'm a sansei, Japanese American and my mother's side is from Okinawa and my father's side is from Kumamoto. I'm 40 years old and a grad from Roosevelt. I got my MA in TESOL a while back, not from UH but from a school in California. It sounds like we have a lot in common. I had the same desire to come to Japan, and now I run an English school here. It helps that my wife is Japanese though.

I think finding the right job for you will be more who you know rather than your degree, age, experience...If you know anyone one in Japan that can help you start out, I would go that route. As a professional, I would not recommend teaching at English schools. Many teachers with less credentials than you will have are teaching there and they are unhappy; I think you will me even more frustrated than them. If you haven't heard, Nova closed down recently and left many teachers hungry. There are better English schools than Nova, but I would not work for them.

How about starting your own school? It is easier than I thought, but again, my wife is Japanese.

I hope you can find yourself. I feel my calling is here in Japan, and plan to stay here permanantly. I am a Christian, so I believe God has a plan and purpose for us all. Seek and you shall find.

by Kiyo rate this post as useful

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