Japan has always been one of the top places where teachers can go to teach English with a company like Interac. Aside from the good salary, teachers have the opportunity to experience the unique culture of the country. People go to Japan to experience how Western modernity has blended well with Eastern traditions.
Japan is also among the oldest civilizations in the world. Visitors can look forward to visiting one of the thousands of temples and Zen gardens in the country. Moreover, the natural beauty of the country will also leave visitors in awe at the way the Japanese were able to preserve it even with the modern conveniences available in the cities.
At this point, you may already be looking for an English teaching company in Japan. Well, you don’t waste your time since we did the work for you to help you decide if teaching in Japan is the right option for you. You can try exploring the possibility of working with Interac in Japan.
What is Interac?
Interac is the biggest provider of foreign teachers to the government of Japan. Established in 1972, the company provides assistant language teachers (ALT) to different elementary, junior high school, and high schools all over Japan.
In addition to schools, Interac has also provided professional English teachers to different government and commercial organizations in Japan. The company was initially a provider of training programs to major companies in Japan. These programs consisted of intercultural understanding programs and English language learning programs. In the 1990s, the company became a private ALT provider for the Japanese government.
This is unlike many other teachers in Japan who work at private institutes known as Eikaiwas.
ALTs work with Japanese teachers inside the classroom to ensure the efficient presentation of the assigned English curriculum of the school. This means ALTs may have to do the following:
- Prepare worksheets
- Model how English words are read and pronounced
- Demonstrate target language dialogs
ALTs are also requested to review and comment on the home and other written work of the students. They may also conduct one-on-one or even group progress assessments from time-to-time.
But ALTs are more than just simple language teachers. Aside from sharing their knowledge of the English language and English communication skills, they are also cultural ambassadors. They will share their background and culture while teaching the English language. This means the students will also learn about the culture of ALTs while improving their English skills.
Requirements for Interac Teachers
Most Interac teachers come from North America since the company requires its teachers to be native-level English speakers. The company has other requirements for its teachers.
The following are the requirements Interac has for its English teachers:
- Native-level English speaker
- Received education taught in English for a minimum of 12 years
- Bachelor’s degree or above from an accredited university
- Under 60 years of age
- Team player who is flexible, energetic, cheerful, and professional
- Mentally prepared to work and live abroad
Increase your Chance of Getting Accepted if you Have the Following…
Teachers will also have better chances of acceptance into the ALT program if they have the following:
- Driver’s license holder
- Teaching experience
- Teaching certificates or qualifications, such as TEFL, CELTA, and DELTA
- Studied a second language while at the university
- Can speak basic Japanese
ALTs who come from abroad should go through a company-paid health check once they arrive in Japan. The health check is also done annually for ALTs who come from other countries and Japan.
Drug screenings are also conducted regularly since Interac wants to maintain a drug-free workplace. Random drug testing is also conducted and ALTs are required to pledge that they will not possess or take substances that violate Japanese law.
Even as Interac hires teachers the whole year round, most of the teachers are assigned to Japanese schools in time for the Spring and Fall terms. The initial assignment of Interac teachers will be the rural areas, but they may be able to transfer to the city after one or two years.
Expectations for ALTs
Once you become an assistant language teacher for Interac, you are expected to do the following:
- Comply with all the laws of Japan and all the processes associated with the implementation of these laws
- Comply with the spirit and letter of the values and ethics of Interac
- Uphold good behavior and character within and outside of the school
There are high social expectations for teachers in Japan, including ALTs. Due to this, ALTs are expected to be role models for their students inside and outside the school. This means they should exude exemplary character even when they aren’t teaching.
Salary of Interac Teachers
ALTs receive a gross annual salary of around 2.4 million ($23,000 USD) to 2.7 million yen ($26,000 USD). The teachers can expect to receive their salary in equal monthly payments. This makes it one of the highest-paying English teaching jobs in Asia.
Since the first and last months of the ALT in the contract are not full-teaching months, their salary will be adjusted accordingly.
The salary of ALTs is deposited into the bank accounts on the 20th of the following month. But if the 20th day falls on a weekend or a national holiday, they ALTs can expect it to be deposited on the preceding business day,
The first salary is normally deposited around six t eight weeks after the start of the contract of the ALTs. Due to this, teachers should have at least 500,000 yen ($4,800 USD) at the start to cover rent and living expenses for the first month until they receive their salary.
Travel expenses of ALTs that are related to their work are reimbursed every month by Interac. It is included in their monthly salary. ALTs teaching in rural areas can lease a car. The cost of leasing the car is offset through an allowance provided by the company.
Interac Contracts and Taxes
The contracts of ALTs usually run for a year and will normally start on April 1 and end on March 31 in the following year. While Interac automatically deducts national taxes and employment insurance from the salary of the teachers, health insurance and local residence taxes aren’t deducted.
Everyone living in Japan should enroll in a health insurance program approved by the Japanese government. More often, ALTs are enrolled in the National Health Insurance (NHI) of Japan and they’ll have to make the necessary payments.
Residence taxes are paid to the municipality the ALT lives in. It’s required if you’re going to live in Japan for at least one year and is collected on the 1st of January.
Interac offers some benefits for its ALTs. These benefits include:
- Reimbursement of work-related commuting expenses after being assigned to a school in Japan
- Free beginner’s level Japanese course upon arrival to Japan
- Career Navigation Program (CNP) of Interac provides ALTs with the tools to enhance their skills. It also provides ALTs opportunities to advance their careers within the company. They can aim for different positions, including Head Teacher, Trainer, Management Trainer, and Managing Consultant.
- ALTs can also tap the sister company of Interac, Link Japan Careers for other career opportunities in Japan.
- Paid two-week holiday leave for Christmas and New Year
- Five personal days after 90 days of continuous employment
The application process to become an assistant language teacher (ALT) for Interac is as follows:
- Online application submission – your application is routed to a recruiter handling your area. The recruiter will screen the resume and contact you if you pass the initial screening.
- Phone interview – after passing the initial screening, you’ll go through a phone interview. You should promptly respond to voicemails or follow-up emails. If you’re unresponsive despite several attempts, your application is abandoned.
- Seminar attendance and/or online interview – if you pass the phone interview, you’ll receive an invitation to attend a seminar or an online interview depending on your location. You will receive all the details about the seminar or interview ahead of time to allow you to prepare for it. You’ll also receive a list of documents to submit to Interac.
- Sending of a package containing the required documents – After passing the seminar or interview, all your documents are sent to the Global Resource Management Division of Interac in Tokyo. The head office will assess your documents and related materials before deciding to send you an offer.
- Acceptance of employment offer – if your application is successful, you’ll receive a written employment offer from the company.
- Placement – at this point, the company will start processing your visa, which takes up to eight weeks. You’ll also be placed in the regular placement track or the alternate track, and you’ll receive details about your arrival in Japan.
- Initial orientation and training – upon your arrival to Japan, you’ll go through an initial orientation and training to prepare you for your classes.
Two Recruitment Tracks
ALTs go through one of two recruitment tracks of Interac. These tracks are as follows:
- Regular Track – ALTs are informed of their placement at least a month before they arrive in Japan. These are typically for ALTs who arrive before the start of the Spring term in March or the start of the Fall term in August. The ALTs will go through the initial orientation and training immediately after they arrive in Japan.
- Alternate Track – ALTs are not informed of their placement when they arrive in Japan. ALTs in this track should expect some time to pass between their arrival and the initial orientation and training. ALTs will stay in temporary accommodations on a full salary. They’ll also be asked to perform short teaching assignments before their final placement.
ALTs follow the schedule of the school they are assigned to. But generally, the schedule is as follows:
- Weekdays from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Teaching hours are typically three to five classes per day at 45 minutes per class
The Takeaway on Interac
Even as the ALT of Interac offers a smaller salary than the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program of the Japanese government, the application process is easier and faster. Moreover, the ALT program allows English teachers to explore areas in Japan that aren’t normally included by tourist guides. So, the program gives native English speakers the chance to explore Japan while getting paid for it.
Have your Say about Teaching ESL In Japan with Interac
What are your thoughts about teaching English in Japan with this company? Is it a winner, or is there another one that you’re considering? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Oh, and want to know more about teaching in one of the most exotic locations in Asia? Check this out: Teaching English in Okinawa.