Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

November 11, 2008

why i teach english in japan

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:28 am

sometimes family or friends or students ask me what i am doing over here in japan, working in a children focused conversation school.  sometimes i wonder myself. 

i don`t need to be here.  6 years of government policy and contracting experience in canberra and brisbane, a law degree, a law school degree and a masters of law … some of my friends are now associates in law firms, mid level managers in the public service, engineers. 

and i can do the hokey pokey really really well. 

i teach english because … hmmm, because i wanted to live in japan, but also because i wasn`t happy with my public service career. 

first, living in japan.  cheaper living, with better food, on part time work (with several free mornings).  less aggro on the streets at nighttime.  really beautiful countryside where i live.  being close to one cool city (osaka) and one truly international city (tokyo), building up language skills, having access to so many interesting comics, anime, videogames … girlfriend is from here. 

my public service career, 2 years working in the queensland public service, bouncing between contracts, not getting the permanent position i craved, not finding many positions that interested me … couldn`t think of a reason to stay. 

one interesting comparison between the teaching work i do now and the government stuff i did before.  my current work is much simpler, but i have greater autonomy.  i make the lessons.  i manage the class.  i decide how to run it, and what to study.  if i feel like yelling.  i do.  hell, i have even hit the table.  told kids to leave the room.  its pretty rare, but i have done it.  whereas in government, i was always the most junior member of the team.  always changing things to suit my manager, then to suit his manager … and managing upwards.  coaxing managers to my position, or giving up my positions when i had to.  i got to work on some really interesting stuff though – foreign aid, indigenous policy in queensland, economic policy …

eventually though, i figure i will have to go back home.  but i don`t want to leave quickly.  i like my current lifestyle too much.  teaching is kinda tenuous.  you don`t see too many older language teachers around.  and you don`t earn super, so either i go without a pension or I self-fund out of my salary … i want my super, and i want a job where you can grow old.  i figure i can stay for another 2 years.  maybe 3.   

but friday morning i will be out on the road on my bicycle, and i will head up the sleepy mountain road where i have seen monkeys and deer, and i will look down on this amazing view.  and everything will be right with the world.

+p.s. teaching english in japan is an entertainment industry as well as an educational one.  i am getting paid to be an entertainer?  love it.  some days i laugh my head off, and so do my students.


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