Here are three reasons why Japan is the best place to start teaching abroad!1) Japanese kids are fantastic
Of course, not all Japanese kids are fantastic. There are some who get their kicks by goofing off and generally being a pain , but as a whole they are wonderful. Time and time again, as I walk around the classroom and see kids diligently completing their worksheets or battling with the new conversational objective I am brought to mind of the way I and many of my classmates were at their age: cheeky, lazy, sullen; particularly if we had a new teacher.
The vast majority of kids in Japan show you the same respect as they would their regular teacher meaning that, rather than spending your time berating the difficult kids you can get on with the task of actually teaching them.2) Free time
Everyone knows that the one of the best things about teaching is the holidays, but this isn’t necessarily the case for most Japanese teachers. They will likely spend their vacation times with club activities or helping with festival plans, as well as getting bogged down in various other administrative obligations. But not you. You will likely have long, vacations during which you can check out everything that this amazing country has to offer.
As an teacher you may find that you have random days off in the week, particularly during exam times, which are perfect for day trips or exploring your hometown. And the free time doesn’t stop there, as some schools don’t always require you to be working flat out, and you may end up with time here and there throughout your working day, during which you can hit your Japanese textbooks, brush up on teaching techniques, or even write blog posts telling people how great it is teaching in Japan!3) Job satisfaction
You knew this was coming, because that’s what everyone says about teaching: ‘oh, it’s so rewarding’, and you look at their prematurely grey hair, their stress lines and the look of the cult in their eyes, nod, and put it down to self-delusional brainwash making up for their low salary. But I can honestly say, in my professional life, there really is nothing to compete with that moment when the look on a student’s face goes from complete confusion to being filled with the spark of understanding.
Yes, there are many professions out there where you can earn a ton, and I have no doubt you could be happy and fulfilled. Maybe one day in the future that will happen to me.
China: if you are starting out as a first time English teacher, China is definitely the best choice. What you can expect is teaching a group of students who are very eager to learn and not shy to participate in the classroom. Outside of work you will find amazingly delicious food on the cheap, friendly and outgoing people, and a fast moving nightlife. Depending on which city in China, you can enjoy the modern amenities of Shanghai and Beijing, or the more traditional Asian lifestyle of second tier cities like Hangzhou and Suzhou, both a short train ride away from Shanghai. If you make through a year of teaching in China, it means you’re highly qualified for the top jobs around Asia. You’ll have your TOEFL already as many jobs don’t require teaching experience but do require your teaching certificate, and one year of solid experience under your belt.
Vietnam: Vietnam is currently experiencing a boom in demand for English teachers thanks to their skyrocketing economy. It’s one of the best places to get your feet wet as you won’t need experience to get started and you’ll be in the middle of a culture that’s electrified by economic growth. Vietnam has bustling cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, and sleepy beach towns like Na TRang and Mui Ne. Many teachers find themselves spending extended amounts of time working in both country and the city. The food is light and lacking the typical oiliness of Chinese food. The people are friendly and open. The nightlife is buzzing.
Thailand: In Thailand you’ll encounter tourist infrastructure no matter where you go, making it ideal for getting started in Asia. Hostels, burger joints, and English speaking service people everywhere make it easy to transition if you’re taking the plunge on your own to start teaching English abroad. The downside is salaries are lower than other teaching destinations like China and Vietnam. Did I mention the exquisite beaches?