Low Pay, High Qualifications

I’m working on a post about English-related books you can give as gifts. However, I just had to post this cranky message first.

I just took a look at the current issue of Ohayo Sensei (a new one should be out in a couple of days). OS is probably the best source for non-university teaching jobs in Japan.

Recently, there have been multiple job postings in which schools are proposing to offer salaries of Â¥220000-240000/month for positions requiring experience, TESOL certification/CELTA, and/or a MATESOL/DELTA. (I’m pretty sure I saw a rate of Â¥180000 in an earlier issue.) In recent years, the standard rate for eikaiwa (conversation school work) has been Â¥250000 with no qualifications besides being a native English speaker. (We won’t get into that practice at the moment, or the thorny issue of the pay differences between local and foreign teachers.) And Â¥250000 was considered low by the people who’d taught in Japan during the bubble economy glory days of the 80s. But okay, the yen is very strong against most currencies and the demand for classes in Japan is dropping…and maybe employers are aware of the awful teaching job situation in places like the USA…

No, I still don’t think it’s OK. I don’t think professional teachers with experience and certifications/degrees should be earning the same thing as completely new, untrained nonprofessionals, period, let alone less.

And keep in mind that in Japan, employers very rarely pay for housing. They may arrange it so you don’t have to pay the “key money” (nonrefundable gift) and deposit, or they may subsidize your rent, but the above positions do not have low pay because they also have free rent. I checked.

Please don’t apply for these jobs.

Just as it’s important for language students around the world to get the message that they should demand professional teachers with language-teaching training … employers need to get the message that they cannot expect to hire professional teachers and pay them as though they are not professionals.

There are other jobs out there; if you have a certification, apply to them. If you have a master’s, explore JREC.

Seek out a reasonable salary level, and even if you are in a situation where you don’t really need a decent salary, don’t aid in lowering the bar for everyone else.






4 responses to “Low Pay, High Qualifications”

  1. […] Visit link: Talk to the Clouds » Low Pay, High Qualifications […]

  2. Chris G Avatar

    It seems to me that the market for English teachers is pretty tainted right now. You have my industry, the eikaiwa, who know they can do whatever they want to their instructors because we have nowhere else to go. The increasing number of people with CELTAs and Masters and the like means greater competition for better jobs, which means they can offer lower salaries as well. And some of the universities I know of up around here don’t offer long-term contracts to foreign teachers – you get two, maybe three years and you’re done.

    The image of English teachers (helped in no small part by my industry) is that we’re all pretty much interchangeable, and that there’s no real skill involved in doing what we do. Add that to the glut of teachers, and we have salaries that top out at what’s barely necessary to maintain a visa. While there may be well-paying, stable jobs out there that treat English teachers as skilled professionals, I fear they’re few and far between.

    Or I need to do better research. That’s always a possibility.

  3. chico Avatar

    Hi, I’m here from emmie’s blog. This “low pay” issue has been a serious problem in a classroom. At least at my uni. Low pay, low qualification, low enthusiasm. The worst comb. Having an apathetic teacher in a class is a nightmare for a student like me. I can’t afford any absent-minded teachers who’s got nothing to share.
    I totally agree with you!!!This negative chain got to be stopped. Like you have said, teachers don’t tolerate the unfair wage and students don’t tolerate the unfair quality of the class. Together, the deans and employers must come up with better solution for financial problems. It seems like all eikaiwa schools, jukus as well as other educational institutions are desperate for more students. They should know there are many parents who would send their kids and pay willingly for something worthy.

    1. Clarissa Avatar

      Hi, Chico–

      Yeah, that’s a bad combination! I’ve had a lot of apathetic teachers myself over the years. That has a deadly effect on student learning!

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