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Intensive Courses

The first semester is almost over, with only a couple of weeks left until a well deserved summer break. Will you have 3-4 weeks off? Or will you still need to be at school like the other Japanese teachers? It would depend on your contract.

If you do have some time off and no travel plans, then there may be some short term opportunities available over July and August.

Sometimes at EduCareer, opportunities arise for teaching short term intensive courses. For those who have never taught an intensive course, you may have a lot of questions like:

-How many kids will I be teaching?

-What topics are covered?

-Could it lead to a permanent position?

While every intensive course is a little different, I would like to give an overview of what to expect if you apply for an intensive course position.

Most intensive courses happen over the main school vacation periods, for anywhere from one to five days a week, and in rare cases longer. Often they are put on by specific schools, meaning all the attending students will be from the same school, though not necessarily the same grades and classes.

In general they will be smaller groups than regular classes, and for students with either a higher level of English than normal, or students with a particular interest in the subject.

The content of intensive courses can vary widely. Some are specifically to coincide with a school or homestay program, others are more general.

Intensive courses often stress specialty areas that do not get a lot of coverage in the normal school year, for example, conversation, special academic writing, drama, etc.

Sometimes the courses take place at schools, sometimes at an outside centre, meaning resources will vary depending on teaching location.

There are some challenges to teaching an intensive course. You have a limited time with the students, and will probably not have a clear idea of their level until after the first day. It can be frustrating if you realise the three days of activities you planned are either far too easy or too hard, and must be redone from scratch.

With such a short time you don’t want to waste even a day on mis-matched lessons, so make sure you have some ideas beforehand on how you can adjust your plans if it looks like they’re not working.

It can also be a challenge to get the students' respect in such a short time. In most cases the intensive courses will be one shots - you will probably not teach these students again outside of the three or four days, so establishing rapport from the beginning is essential.

Also, because you are teaching during vacation periods, students who have been forced into the course by their parents may suffer from an extreme lack of motivation. Go in with a plan for getting the students’ attention and respect quickly.

Intensive courses are also, well, intensive. You can generally expect to be teaching, or otherwise being with the students all day. Some intensive courses even take the form of English “camps” where you eat, sleep, and enjoy spending time with the students for the duration of the course, even outside of the designated lesson times.

If you’re used to teaching just a few periods a day with lots of downtime, this could come as a tiring surprise. However, it can also be a lot of fun to get to know the students and use English outside of the classroom. Getting them to actually use the language they’re studying is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

If intensive courses sounds like something you would be interested in, check out the EduCareer Job Board around June-July and October-November for the best timings of such teaching positions.

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