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Getting into a Private School


Why is it so hard to get a job in a private school?


If you are one of many foreigners in Japan who decided on teaching as a long term career choice, you've probably noticed that getting a job at a private school tends to be much more difficult than finding work at a public school. While there is not one concrete reason why this is the case, there are usually several factors involved.


First of all, private schools tend to have somewhat higher expectations in regards to the experience and qualifications of their staff. They really prefer teachers - even native English teachers - to have a few years of experience teaching at that particular level already. Teaching at an English conversation school for one year is often not enough.


Also, they will probably not hire from abroad. Private schools want to interview their candidates face to face. Some interviews will be really tough, while others might just be simple greetings to get a feel for the candidate's personality, but ultimately the ideal candidates are often teachers who are already living in Japan with a few years of experience at the level they want to teach. However, this means that even someone living in Japan with a teaching license and 10 years of experience at elementary school level may not have the strongest application for a private high school position.


Sometimes, the reason you might not be selected for a private school comes down to preferences of the school that are just out of your control. If you are an older man, you have no influence over the fact that there are "too many" older male teachers working at the school already. That school may be looking for a younger female teacher just to balance the ratio of their staff and give their students a different perspective.


But just because it's difficult doesn't mean you should give up. If your dream of working at a private school doesn't work out this year, then you should try again next year. Solo teaching or main teaching in a team teaching pair at a public school shows good leadership qualities that prove you might be ready to do what it takes to succeed at a private school in the future (like design your own yearly curriculum, manage student behavior as a solo teacher, etc..). Plan for your career in advance, start looking early, and make sure your resume gets better and better in the meantime.

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