Teaching In Japan, the Best Job Ever?

By Donnie | Articles

My time with AEON is winding down, this week I’ve had to say goodbye kids and adults that I’ve been teaching for years, now. I think I’ve done pretty well, but I’ve had to fight back some tears. For me, teaching for AEON has been so refreshing, because I haven’t had the same behavioral problems that I had when teaching middle school in the U.S., I was actually able to teach, and because students at AEON were paying to be there (it’s not cheap), so in the vast majority of cases, the kids and adults were interested in learning. Students who want to learn and an atmosphere that’s conducive to learning, what more can you really ask for as a teacher?

Was working for AEON perfect? Absolutely not. There were times when my schedule would fluctuate, or when I’d have a rough class here or there, or have an embarrassing moment when I rip gigantic hole in the crotch of my pants. But let’s be honest, is any job…and I do mean any…going to be perfect? Even you were a famous Hollywood action star, where the pay scale is through the roof, your job won’t be perfect. With all teaching positions, I think you often have to take the good with the bad and make a judgement based on that. For me, the good of working for AEON Tsukuba MOG exponentially outweighed the bad. Now I can’t speak for all AEON schools, but at MOG, the other teachers were so cool to work with, the staff was incredibly funny and friendly, with amazing students to match.

Early on in my time here, when some of the American AEON veterans at my school were leaving, I remember seeing these guys crying during their speeches, and now I totally understand it. When you have this wonderful job, but you have dreams of your own, there’s comes a time when the your dream and your job have diverging paths. It hurts so much, because you have I’m looking forward to a wonderful farewell party on Saturday, but then again, I’m kinda not looking forward to it. So many people are curious about what it’s like to teach in Japan. People worry about not knowing the language and how effective they could without knowing Japanese. I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t know a lick of Japanese before I made the decision to join AEON and fly over 6,000 miles from my family and friends to be here.

Teaching in Japan has been so many things to me: a way to study a new language, a way to experience a new culture, and a way to get back on my feet, a way to get my bearing, a way to have a once in a lifetime adventure. So my answer to the question “Is Teaching in Japan the Best Teaching Job Ever?” My answer is a loud, resounding “YES!”

Donald Ash

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  • Amanda T

    Interesting. I doubt there are many people who would shed a tear when leaving where *I* work. I never thought of working as an Eikaiwa teacher as something that would inspire such devotion. Maybe it’s because I work in the city. There’s probably more of a community feel out where you are.

    • Totally feel you on that. I know our eikaiwa days are behind us, but you’re right! It’s crazy how some schools, even under the same eikaiwa brand can be so different. You can have a community feel at one school and cold/corporate at another.

  • Terry

    I must say your blog was very touching made me shed a tear.

    • Terry, this comment is extremely late I’m realizing there are so many comments I’ve never seen. Thank you so much!!

  • Joanna

    What a ridiculously airbrushed view of aeon – dreadful job, dreadful company.

    • thejapanguy

      Nope. I’m gonna have to disagree with you there, Joanna. I mentioned in the post that there is good and bad to any job. I’m not airbrushing anything.

      As with any company you teach for in Japan there are going be good schools and bad schools. I happened to get placed at a school where the managers, staff, and foreign teachers were all cool.

      I wrote exactly what my AEON experience was, a good one.

      Now, do know teachers who have hated their AEON schools? Hell yeah! Do I know teachers who loved them? Hell yeah!

      While I haven’t worked for them in quite some time, when I was with them, the company was pretty solid, too. Sometimes a bit ‘over-the-top’ professional, but solid.

      Instead of just tearing down what I say and leaving it at that. Why not share why AEON was so dreadful for you? At the very least It’ll give people an honest look at both sides, ijs

      Thanks for commenting


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