Many foreigners go to Japan to teach conversational English or “Eikaiwa”. In the 1990’s it became popular for private schools to import native English speakers for their students. There was a boom for a while and the English teacher was a hot commodity.
Then, foreigners from every English speaking country across the globe caught wind of the opportunity and made a dash to Japan. The English teaching market was flooded and the English teacher meat market crashed.
English teachers were forced to find other ways to make ends meet. Some found private English students as a source of income and others, like myself, got out of the biz completely.
I found teaching conversational English in Japan to be great fun and an unforgettable experience. I made a lot of friends as an English teacher and I managed to learn a lot about my own language by teaching it. I was occasionally bored to death by some students who would give the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers…but for the most part I found it to be an interesting experience overall.
Teaching English to children, however, was completely different and was not at all cool. Most kids are not interested in learning a second language and I found that teaching kids is more like babysitting than anything else. Teaching youngsters involves singing songs and wearing ridiculous ties. Needless to say I didn’t last long in that environment. Now the only singing I do is Karaoke!