TEFL in Japan – Meet Teacher Saoirse
It’s time to talk about TEFL in Japan – What is it like to teach, travel & explore this beautiful country? We interviewed Saoirse who started teaching in Japan in 2021. Saoirse is one of our past alumni, having studied a lot of our TEFL courses in the past, she decided to move abroad and start her TEFL journey by teaching English in Japan.
Introduce yourself (a small bit about you)
My name is Saoirse! Currently, I’m a kindergarten TEFL teacher in Hiroshima, Japan. I’m also an actor and a singer. On my days off, I like to travel, go for walks and buy bagels.
What did you do before your TEFL adventure?
Before coming to Japan I did my BA degree in Theatre and Drama Studies! I spent some time working as a disability assistant in third level education and then COVID happened so, I just baked and did a lot of yoga.
How did you find the course? Do you feel it prepared you for your experience with TEFL in Japan?
I loved the course! It was really easy to follow and kept me engaged. During the lockdowns I also went on to do the 30 Hour Teaching English Online, 30 Hour Teaching Young Learners and 30 Hour IELTS Preparation Specialist Course all with TEFL Institute Ireland. So, by the time I got to Japan I was really prepared!
Your path to TEFL in Japan, was it something you always wanted to do?
It was always something I wanted to do. My parents had gotten their TEFL qualifications when they were younger and had recommended I do the same so I always felt that if I was going to live abroad I would make it happen by teaching English.
Was Japan your top destination to teach? When did you move over there?
Japan was the reason I did my TEFL course in the first place! I came here on holiday in 2018 and immediately felt like I wanted to live and experience life here so I went and did the course. I moved here to teach in 2021.
Any tips for future teachers on the interview preparation?
Be yourself! Funnily enough, a lot of the questions they asked me in the interview were personality questions like my favourite book, did I prefer day or night, cats or dogs, etc. I would say read up on the school you’re interviewing for, do your bit of research and then just relax.
How do you find teaching in Japan? What’s your favourite group/class to teach?
Working in Japan can be challenging. Work days can often be long, especially when we’re preparing for an event. But the teaching itself is really fun and even on tough days I usually get to laugh and sing and play. Unlike a lot of other teaching jobs in Japan, I only work with one class as I work in a kindergarten. So, I teach 2-3 year olds everyday and it’s interesting for sure!
One thing you never expected about teaching?
The diapers… and how much I would love the children.
Most rewarding experience?
Seeing children who couldn’t speak any English and were really shy at the beginning of the year become confident and suddenly have an explosion of English ability.
Plans for the future:
To take each day as it comes!
Tips for other teachers thinking about moving to Japan?
Don’t buy into what you hear online. I read a lot of negative opinions about teaching in Japan before I came here and it really scared me. Be prepared to work a lot and know that it can be hard but it is so worth it and the good really outweighs the bad.