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Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/8 07:10
Many people say teaching english overseas is not a job forever.

You can only do it for so long.

Is this a rule you can only teach to a certain age. If it is, what age?

If not, what is typical age for someone to 'retire' from teaching english overseas and come back home?

I know it varies, just wanting to hear your personal opinion. Maybe even personal experience?
by Mikel (guest)  

Re: Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/8 11:42
I have met people in their 60s teaching English here. Most of them were married to Japanese people, so this is their home.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/8 13:35

As far as Japan is concerned, it's like this;

One of the easiest jobs a native English-speaker newcomer can get is teaching English conversation. You can usually get better money for the quality of your skills.

But usually these jobs provide you less insurance. For example, you can work at English conversation schools for years and still not be provided with reasonable welfare pension programs. So your future is practically unstable.

For this reason, people prefer to move on to better jobs like teaching English permanently at a proper high school or even becoming a professor at a university or teaching business English at big enterprizes. Of course, you need to upgrade your skills on the way.

Or for some people, teaching English wasn't their goal in the first place. It was an easy job to get for the time being until they get used to the country, and then they'd move on to totally different jobs that make dreams come true for them.

On the other hand, it's not that you can't teach English for so long, but it's that you can't go back to your home country and expect to get a brand new job once you get too old. And you can't expect to earn enough money teaching English conversation in an English-speaking country. So people also tend to move on to jobs that would get them ready to go back home.

But like Sira suggested, I know people who work as English teachers at English conversation schools forever, partly because they can't expect better jobs back home, partly because they like the job and partly because they can manage to continue the job. It's really up to the person and his or her family to decide what's best. My former English conversation teacher in junior high taught English almost until she died of old age, single.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/8 14:01
I think Uco hit the nail on the head.
I used to work with a guy who was 61 and teaching Ei-kaiwa at one of the chain schools. He had been doing it for 20 years (not sure if it was the same place all the way through) and had no intention of quitting. He had a working visa and was not married to a Japanese person. I think he just loved Japan and teaching...He would be 73 now and probably still teaching!
by halfnhalf rate this post as useful

Re: Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/9 04:27
You all provide such great information! Thank you!

I wonder how hard it would be to get a permanent job teaching English at a school?

I have already read that getting a permanent job at a university is very difficult. I am sure I can find this information in other threads though. Permanent job questions seem to be more popular than how old teachers ha ha.

Thank you all again.
by Mikel (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/9 12:52
Also note that at least at a lot of public schools, the ALT (assistant language teacher) jobs are often a 1 year contract. That doesn't mean that you can't be offered a pretty clear "you can have this job pretty much as long as you want it and don't do anything stupid", it just means that it feels like a short-term job because you are signing a 1 year contract EVERY year. This could be different at universities or private high schools, I don't know. But this also contributes to the view that the post is temporary, because signing a contract every year does not invite long-term planning easily like tenure would. You also don't have any increase in pay or benefits with a 1 year contract, so there is little to no growth available.
by scarreddragon (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/12 13:08
I think people say it's not a lifetime job because for the most part it's not a career. There's not much room for advancement in your job if any. And most positions be them at schools or English conversation schools have limited length contracts. Also as a foreigner in Japan, I think there's always a feeling of being an outsider or that your existence is a bit more ephemeral here than in your own country where you could put down more roots and be involved in more things like politics and even in the community.

Most places don't have an age limit so you could teach at every age but unless you are married to someone in Japan or have a true deep and passionate love for Japan with no reason to return home then teaching in Japan is probably not something you want to do forever.

by Sage (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Oldest english teacher? 2013/2/12 16:50
it is possible to become involved in japanese politics even if you're not a citizen. politics is about connections and networking.

as far as eikaiwa schools i agree that they're definitely not good careers, they're mostly mass consumption fast-food like education centers, primarily created for the purpose of extracting as much money from their customers as quickly as possible.

but for qualified professional teachers (i.e. university professor level) the pay can be quite high and the career is somewhat stable, and in general everyone is over 40.
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

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