One of the best things about being a SALT (Super Assistant Language Teacher – In truth it’s less emphasis on the “Super” and more emphasis on the “Assistant”) are the perks we receive for having a college education and knowing the ins-and-outs of a nearly unteachable language that only the Gods themselves can create. A little language commonly known as Englishhhhh.
Ok, so maybe I went a little overboard with the Gods and unteachable thingy, but hey, it takes a special breed of person to teach English in Japan. Nah, I’m just kidding. Anyone can do it and you should to. Hit the jump for the perks of being an English teacher in Japan.
At the time of writing, I will have just completed my third year of teaching English in Japan and will be coming back for one more round. The reason why I’m coming back? Hey, those kids aren’t going to teach themselves English. Actually, those kids are probably better suited to teach themselves outstanding English than I am at teaching them mediocre English. That’s a topic for another day.
Anyhow, there’s a lot of information out there about why you SHOULDN’T teach English in Japan, but I’m going to be that cunning devil that I am and tell you why you SHOULD teach English in Japan.
Where Art Thou Time Has Gone?
Depending on where you’ll be living and teaching, you’ll more than likely have a lot of time on your hands. For a lot of SALTs (Remember? Super Assistant Language Teachers), this can be the best thing EVER! or it can be equivalent to being bitch-slapped by the devil himself.
In that downtime, you can do things like read a book, learn some Japanese, plan your next vacation, secretly complete your ninja training without your coworkers knowing that you’re actually here in Japan using your ALT title as a disguise in order to operate within a secret society, brainstorm some business ideas, or start a blog. Time is your friend and your imagination is the only thing that binds you.
Opportunities are Never Ending
Every teaching situation is different, but in my experience, there have been a tremendous amount of opportunities for me to improve in other areas as well. Year around there are always opportunities for me to give presentations for a number of workshops, as well as the opportunities to attend said workshops and lectures. As well, I teach swim lessons in the summer and am able to attend English camps – they kind of operate like internment camps, but less prison-ish and more English-ish and for kids!
Basically, if you have an interest, skill, or special knowledge, there will be an opportunity for you to do something else other than standing in a classroom everyday. You just have to find out what that is.
Sense of Adventure
Up in the Great White North (Hokkaido) we get crazy amounts of snow. Honest to death, before I came to Japan I thought Japan was too warm of a climate and believed that snow in this country would be absolutely terrible. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In some parts of Hokkaido, it isn’t uncommon for snow to pile up higher than the second story of your HOUSE! Wait there’s more! This year I went boarding all the way up until the second week of May and it was still fresh and powdery – No joke seriously.
Before moving to Japan, boarding was only a slight interest of mine. I was only able to go three or four times at most each year, but when I moved to Hokkaido, I started going about 20 to 30 times in a year.
What I’m saying is that from the cold of Hokkaido to the sandy beaches of Okinawa and everywhere in between, there’s an adventure out there for everyone.
Save Your Money
I can’t pretend to know what other SALTs in different situations make and spend, but in my situation
by switching to Geico I’m able to save a shit ton of Yens each year. Over the years I’ve been able to save enough to either start a business, go on a trip, or lay in my bed eating KFC and sipping convenient store wine for as long as possible. Got to milk every yen, dollar, pound, rupee, insert desired currency. Know what I’m sayin?
Long story short, you should be able to make enough money to enjoy yourself and have some left over for a tidy little savings.
Yes, I’ll admit it; classroom time, especially at the middle school level, can be mundane, and a general lack of creativity can make you want to bore a bit drill into your brain, but there’s a ton more reasons why you SHOULD teach in Japan.
Experiencing a different culture, exploring new boundaries, making new friends, getting as fat as a whale because Japanese food is so delicious, Asian women fetishes, or just a general interest in education are just a few. As a result, I purposely left out a lot of good reasons so that people can discuss those in the comments section.
So current, potential, and curious SALTs: what are some other reasons you SHOULD be a Super Assistant Language Teacher in Japan?