Friday, May 29, 2009

Quick Guide to Teaching English in Japan

It's easy to start earning some pocket money in Japan by teaching English. All you really need is email and a mugshot of yourself. There are several teacher-student matching services online that you can employ without cost. Signing up is easy but how do you make your profile effective?

The sites I use are and Kaiwa Navi. The former happens to be older and more widespread so you might be luckier with it.

As I said, registration is free. Usually teachers don't have to invest any money in this business. Only the students have to pay a fee to get access to teacher profiles of their choice.

Now, creating your profile should be very straightforward. But what you'll want to concentrate on are your profile picture and self-introduction. An awesome photo and an effective description of yourself are key to getting many quality students. Your photo will draw attention, and your text will either make the person choose you or bounce him/her back onto the teachers list.

Take many pictures of yourself. Choose the ones that you think are the best, and let your friends evaluate them. HINT: If you are a guy ask a girl to do it, and vice versa. Trust me, the teaching business in Japan is a huge chemical phenomenon - in my experience 80% of the time it's guys looking for female teachers and girls picking male teachers. Alternatively, you can make use of free online services such as Hot or Not to get critical feedback on your photos.

Writing your profile description is important. Talk to your potential student personally. Remember that it's an individual person reading your profile, so you should also communicate that you're talking to that girl or guy personally and not just collectively to a big audience. Write "Hi!" instead of "Hi guys!"

As for the content, it's all up to you how to market yourself, but I'll give you a few pointers.

  1. Be concise. Don't go into small details. Make it short and to the point. ( doesn't even support paragraph breaks.)
  2. Use effective words and expressions. "Learn natural and practical English in a fun way."
  3. Introduce one of your effective teaching strategies.
  4. Sound interesting. Try not to sound too official.
  5. Sound enthusiastic and bubbly. Use exclamation marks! (But no more than one per sentence please!)
  6. Be confident. Don't be modest by saying something like "Please feel free to contact me if you happen to be interested in taking my lessons..."
  7. Use simple English. Refrain from using academic or difficult words. They're students after all...
  8. Use correct spelling, punctuation and capitalization rules. dun rite liek a junier hi-skool onlien worior!!1 omgplz
  9. Add spice by saying something in Japanese. メールしてね!
  10. Write it in Japanese. If you have the skills, don't hesitate to write your profile in Japanese.

Experiment with it. And have fun teaching!

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