Teaching After JET
October 29, 2012 8:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm completing my last year on the JET Programme and am interested in learning about teaching jobs and alternative licensing programs open to about-to-be-finished-with-JET seekers of teaching positions.

Participants of the JET Programme usually come out of it with a year or more of experience teaching, or assisting with, English classes in Japanese elementary, junior high, or high schools. Some participants have a teacher's license already, many don't. Some have TEFL/TESL certification, some don't.

I'm particularly interested in learning about:
- teaching jobs that don't require a license/certification
- international schools and other ways a licensed/certified teacher can teach away from home
- alternative licensing programs available outside of the USA

Also, if there are any former JETs out there who've made the leap from JET to full-time teaching, I'd love to hear your stories.

I'm asking these things in the hope that I can help myself and fellow JETs as we prepare to move on career-wise. I'll be using some of the advice and information I get here in a presentation I'm giving about teaching after JET this November.

Thanks in advance!
posted by merenight to Work & Money (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've done pretty much exactly what you're talking about. I taught ESL in a Korean high school for a year (very similar to JET) and then, using that experience and my B.A. in chemistry, got a job teaching middle school science for 2 years at an international school in Hong Kong.

Most teaching jobs at international schools don't require any license/certification beyond a bachelor's degree, ideally in the subject you plan to teach. More established schools will want several years of experience teaching; newer schools or schools in undesirable locations (like Qatar or Saudi Arabia) often take newbies. Typically you get a job by attending a recruiting fair, such as those held by Search Associates or the Council of International Schools in locations around the world several times a year. The standard contract is 2 years, and I've heard that if a school offers you a 1-year contract, watch out -- there's a reason they have a high turnover rate, whether it's problems with management or undesirable location or something else. The job market is quite lively, and many teachers hop from country to country during their career.
posted by danceswithlight at 9:03 PM on October 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Look at the CELTA if you're still interested in teaching English in an ESL/EFL context overseas.
posted by mdonley at 9:29 PM on October 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am an ex-JET. The difference being that I had already finished my Post Graduate Certificate in Education (UK teaching qualification) before I went to Japan. But still.

I came back to the UK and began teaching at teaching agencies in and around London. Most agencies want you to have a full teaching qualification before they put you in schools, but my advice (for UK residents at least) is a kind of side-door option. Tell your colleagues to start further down the ladder.

Teacher Assistants (TAs) are in high demand, ALL the time. Especially in Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools. With a year of JET under your belt a teaching agency will jump at the chance to sign you up as an assistant. (Note: to teach in the UK you need a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, which basically proves that you have never been arrested for anything that might compromise your position in a school. These can take a couple of months to arrive sometimes, but teaching agencies will sort them out for you when you sign up).

OK, the next step is to work as a TA for a while, build a relationship with a few schools until one in particular begins hiring you on a regular basis. Get yourself really stuck in at that school, make connections with teachers and senior staff.

Towards the end of a school year, talk to the school about them taking you on as a Trainee Teacher. This is called School Based Training and it's something a lot of schools are very keen to be involved in. Taking on a TA whom they know and trust is often more appealing to a school than taking on an unknown with a long CV. Teacher trainees need a degree, but then, so do all JETs, so your colleagues will be ready to go.

That's my very roundabout way of getting into teaching. Of course it only applies for JETs who live in the UK, but it takes into consideration their general lack of experience (sorry, but JET is not recognised as a particularly strong set of qualifications, at least, not where teaching is concerned. This may depend on various factors, but I wouldn't recommend going from JET straight into a teacher training program anyway. If JETs want to become teachers, great, their experience will be a valuable first step on the ladder.)

I hope that all helps. I could talk more about my personal experience as an ex-JET and teacher (I now teach at University level), so let me know if you have any other questions.
posted by 0bvious at 5:17 AM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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