Located on the southern end of Japan, Okinawa is the site of one of the biggest battles of the Pacific War in World War 2. The tranquillity and serenity of the island today belies the ferocity of the battle that heralded the ground invasion of the Japanese mainland by the Allied Forces over half a century ago. If you want to know more about teaching English in Okinawa, you’re in the right place. Keep on reading!
Modern-day Okinawa features a highly-urbanized yet culturally-rich city with a tropical vibe that can bring out the love for nature in anyone.
The island features a UNESCO World Heritage site, white sand beaches, and historically-significant tourist spots. Moreover, visitors can also look forward to a gastronomic experience when they indulge in Okinawan dishes at the Makishi Market.
But, Okinawa is more than just a place for you to take some time off from the stress of life. If you’re a nature-loving ESL teacher, Okinawa is a good option for you to practice your profession. Plus, you can also expect a very good salary when teaching here.
Did we pique your interest already? Well, continue reading and find out more about teaching English in Okinawa. For more general information about teaching in this amazing country, have a look at this article: Teaching English in Japan Guide.
Teaching English in Okinawa
Japan has been one of the more popular destinations among ESL teachers around the world. Aside from being safe and clean, the people are kind and friendly. Additionally, Japan has a lot to offer to visitors from all over the world.
In Japan, Okinawa is one of the best places you can work as an ESL teacher. Aside from the natural beauty of the island, you will find out that Okinawans are kind, patient, and generous. They are also quite respectful to their teachers. This is similar to the experience that many people have teaching in Puerto Rico.
With this in mind, teaching English in Okinawa can be quite fulfilling and rewarding. It will also be a unique experience for you, especially if you enjoy exploring different cultures around the world. Another option to consider is tutoring in Hong Kong if you’re looking for these kinds of things.
Moreover, you’ll likely enjoy teaching in Okinawa and will not experience any major issues, especially if you already have a good amount of ESL teaching experience under your belt.
Requirements for Okinawa Teaching Jobs
The requirements to teach in Japan are relatively stringent since they require at least a Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience. Check out the following requirements to know if you’re qualified to teach English in Japan, including Okinawa.
- 21 to 60 years old
- Citizen of a recognized English-speaking country
- For the Bachelor’s degree requirement, it should be either of the following:
- Bachelor’s degree in English or any course related to English
- Any bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution from an English-speaking country and a 10-year education from schools with English as the primary medium of instruction
- Any bachelor’s degree and a three-year verifiable ESL teaching experience
- Work Visa
- A clean background check may be required by many private schools in Japan
- Many schools require some form of TEFL certificate
Salary and Benefits for Teaching Jobs in Okinawa
Since the Japanese government has put emphasis on increasing English proficiency among Japanese students, you can expect a good salary from working as a teacher in Japan, or Okinawa in particular.
The following are the expected salary you can get from teaching in Japan or Okinawa.
- JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program – up to 280,00 yen ($2,700 USD) per month
- Public Schools – 200,000 Yen ($1,900 USD) to 250,000 Yen ($2,400 USD) per month (find jobs in public schools through a company like Interac).
- International Schools – 250,000 Yen ($2,400 USD) to 600,000 Yen ($5,700 USD) per month
- Private Language Centers – 250,000 Yen ($2,400 USD). These institutes are known in Japanese as Eikaiwas.
- Private Tutoring – 1,500 Yen ($15 USD) to 2,600 Yen ($25 USD) per hour (check out: ESL tutoring activities)
The following are some benefits you can expect when you teach English in Okinawa
- Airfare reimbursement
- Some schools and institutions provide housing for the teachers
- Medical insurance
- Teacher training
Okinawa offers several teaching opportunities for ESL teachers, including the following:
The JET Program was established to entice university graduates who are native English speakers to participate in a professional exchange position. Participants are assigned as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT) in different Japanese K-12 public schools. An ALT will assist in making a lesson plan as well as lead games and activities. They are also asked to help motivate students to study the English language.
Similar to a number of non-English speaking countries in the world, some Japanese or Okinawan public schools hire English teachers from other countries. While the general requirements are basically the same, some public schools hire teachers with TEFL certifications as well as those with relevant teaching experience.
International schools also hire ESL teachers for their students who aren’t fluent in speaking English. But, you should also take note that proficiency in the language may vary from one student to another. You may even encounter students who are native English speakers in these schools.
Universities also hire native speakers to teach English. But, it’s not easy to get a job at a university in a major urban area since they are in demand. The turnover rate of these jobs is also low. You’ll have a better chance of getting a university teaching job in one of the smaller cities. Moreover, a master’s degree will also increase your chances of getting a university job, especially if the degree is in English, linguistics, or TEFL.
Private Language Centers
Another option for ESL teachers to land a job in Okinawa is through private learning centers. These centers specialize in teaching conversational English and may have longer hours. They may even ask you to teach in the evening and during the weekend. These centers normally require at least a bachelor’s degree before you’re hired.
Things to Consider When Teaching in Okinawa
If you’re planning to teach in Okinawa, you should consider the following things before you finalize your plans.
- The cost of living is rather high. It’s comparable to the cost of living in Hawaii.
- The students are typically shy and may require some motivation for them to participate in class.
- School administrators may not appreciate the natural way of teaching English. So, it’s best to discuss it with them before the class starts.
- Be aware of the culture of the Okinawans and their customs and traditions. It’s best for you to read up about the people and their culture before finalizing your decision.
While teaching in Okinawa can be an eye-opening experience, it’s a good place to work once you become familiar with the customs and traditions of the Okinawans. This will help you enjoy this amazing tropical paradise! If you love the heat, you may also want to consider teaching ESL in Mexico.
Have your Say about Teaching English in this Tropical Paradise
What are your thoughts about teaching ESL in Okinawa, Japan? Please leave any comments or questions you might have below about it. We’d love to hear from you.
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