Teach at an Eikaiwa
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 2:40:54 PM
First of all, why choose an Eikaiwa school? Well, there is decent money in the Eikaiwa business. You could make twice as much as you do working your 40 hour-a-week job back home. That said, if your purpose for coming to Japan is to speak Japanese, it might not be your best bet. Your students will speak English, and most likely your coworkers will too.
I am sure that each Eikaiwa school, especially the big names, have their own teaching style, and will most likely give you training in it. That said, whether or not you follow this teaching method like a bible or not is up to you, and more likely, up to your student.
It is a misconception to think that any native speaker can teach English; it's not for everyone. That said, if you work at it, I am sure that most people could become an okay English teacher, and given enough time some will become great.
Of course you will need some knowledge of the English language and preferably how it works. I wouldn't recommend that you go in their without sorting your adverbs from your condtionals. Depending on your students' needs, you may not be teaching grammar so much. Generally speaking, Japanese students excel at grammar. This is probably part of having a society based around written examinations. What the average student needs is speaking and listening practice.
One piece of advice that I can give is simple and to the point - don't talk too much. Listen and observe. It's nice to have a pen handy, so you can write down any obvious flaws.
Don't be too quick to give corrections, either. A good strategy is to let the student correct themselves. Let them know they have made a mistake by using a recurring gesture or line (for example holding you hand to your ear with a confused face, or simply asking "what was that?"). This self correction will encourage self-monitoring in the student, meaning they will rely on you less. Hopefully, anyway.
You may or may not be interested in teaching children. There's a lot of money to be had in children's English classes. Children are usually great or horrible, in my experience, though mostly great. Kids' classes are usually so relaxed and a little more focused on fun.
But no matter what advice you get, no matter how well you know the material, there's nothing quite like just getting in there and experiencing it for yourself. You will probably be nervous the first few times. But hey, go in there, put on a smile, and hope that the student walks out with more English than they walked in with!