How To Become A Japanese Teacher in the USA
Updated: Sep 18
Teaching language courses in the United States is something that is becoming increasingly popular with foreign students who get their education elsewhere. Many students in the US are trying to expand and diversify their skills, and one of the ways to do this is by learning a foreign language or two. Japanese is one such option, and it can raise the profile of any students who might be looking to stand out in the corporate or global business environment later.
Online services can make it relatively easy to find starting jobs that give you a few hours each week. However, in order to reach this point, you’ll need to have some of your own education in the field completed first.
While this might seem like a daunting task, you’ll start by gaining a clear understanding of the mechanics of the language itself. In doing so, you’ll also gain some insights into the culture that surrounds it. Once you’ve completed these steps, there are ways that J1Teachers.com can help you with your ultimate dream of going to the US in order to share your knowledge of Japanese with others.
Are you looking for better salary? We've already reviewed the highest paying jobs in education for you!
What Do I Need To Become a Japanese Teacher in the USA?
The first step on the road to becoming a Japanese teacher in the US would be to get the basics of your own education out of the way, and this all starts with the appropriate certifications. Although knowledge of the Japanese language is crucial to your success, you should be aware that it is not the only thing you will need in your repertoire in order to succeed here. You’ll need to become certified to teach in Japanese, but there are other Japanese teacher requirements you’ll need to meet before you can use your skills in the US. The country may require you to get some experience in the field at home before they will take you on to work abroad.
Thanks to J1Teachers.com, the logistics of getting approved for an appropriate teacher visa to work abroad might be much easier than you expect. We will work with you in order to facilitate and smooth out as many of the steps as possible. Additionally, we have some resources that can help you learn what you need to do in order to prepare for things before your trip begins. We can also provide you with handy places that can help you look for and find placements before you even move abroad to start your job. In short, J1Teachers.com can be with you every step of the way.
Japanese Language Teacher Certification
Although the specific certification process can vary depending on the path you take as a student, many of the benchmarks you’ll have to meet will be similar to one another. J1Teachers.com can help you keep track of some of the most expedient ways to meet your final goal of heading off to the US to teach Japanese to foreign students. One of the most common paths you might take is to get a general bachelor’s degree in the field of education itself. This is something you would complete while you are still getting your credentials in your home country. You might also be able to get a degree at this same level that is specific to the Japanese language.
Once you’ve obtained one of these, your next step may be to get additional training and certification in teaching foreign languages in general. There is a particular Praxis test that applies to teaching all foreign languages, and it may be instructive to go this route. The reason some programs place importance on getting both certifications in the language of your choice and teaching linguistics, in general, has to do with the cultural role of language. When teaching any language to students, there is some expectation that the educator in question will be able to integrate other aspects of daily life and culture from the native speakers of that language whenever it is appropriate. Such a test will also make sure that you understand the broader theories around the mechanics of linguistics.
If your institution at home offers it, you may be able to get direct certification in teaching Japanese to others as a foreign language. Even if it does not, you should be able to get certified in education in general, and then you can move on to Japanese specifically. J1Teachers.com has some resources that may help you determine what your most likely options are.
After all of this is done, you’ll still need to obtain additional approval from the specific US state in which you’d like to teach. Different states have their own requirements for what they might expect from foreign teachers coming to stay. J1Teachers.com can help you navigate all of this, but you can also go over those requirements yourself to be sure you know how to reach those benchmarks. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way to getting approval for the J1 visa program that can grant you a position in the US for a few years.
The Importance of Japanese Language Teachers
Japanese is among the top 10 most spoken languages in the world today. Aside from the cognitive benefits of learning another language in general, it is clear that knowing Japanese at a high level is something that can better position students from a wide variety of backgrounds for professional success. Personal, mental, and social enrichment are also important, and a qualified Japanese language teacher will be able to expand the horizons of foreign students who want to learn about the customs and cultural values of the country.
In many ways, the Japanese culture is one that can seem quite far removed from how the US works. A good teacher of Japanese can bridge this gap in a student’s knowledge, providing them with a reasoning that is based on how a native of Japan might think. In turn, this provides valuable insight that can eliminate cross-cultural misunderstandings, build empathy, and create lasting connections between different people.
Japanese Language Teacher Requirements
A certain proficiency in both spoken Japanese and the written word is a basic requirement that US schools will expect from foreign teachers coming to teach the language. If you are a native Japanese speaker, or if you come from another country in which English might not be spoken widely, the institution of your choice will also want to make sure that you can communicate to the US students effectively in English. While it may not be necessary for those who are not native speakers, having spent some time living, teaching, or working in Japan will be a huge bonus as well as a Japanese teacher qualification. Being flexible in meeting your students’ needs, modifying your lesson plans, or adapting to different situations that may require you to change your approach in how you deliver knowledge of the language is also a skill you should have.
Here are some things you need to know about teaching Japanese
The majority of Japanese speakers reside in Japan, where there are more than 120 million speakers. The language is widely spoken in the United States as well, particularly on the West Coast due to the large population of Japanese Americans living in California and Hawaii.
Teaching with respect
Lesson plans are regularly reviewed by teachers to ensure that questions are designed in a language students can understand, at their level, and can respond to using vocabulary they have already learned.
In order to cultivate a love of the Japanese language in students, Japanese language teachers must be respectful of them and refrain from being condescending. Students are encouraged not to be discouraged from learning by correcting their pronunciations and answers.
A Japanese language teacher is responsible for keeping their students interested by praising them and being respectful of them. For native English speakers, learning Japanese is more difficult than learning Spanish or French. Because Japanese sounds and grammar differ significantly from their primary languages, they need more time to get used to the language.
Teachers avoid showing examples of students who make errors regarding certain terms in order to avoid discouraging students from taking the course. The entire class may be given multiple chances on a daily basis to discuss the weather if a few students struggle with weather terms. All students will have improved conversational skills as well as be more familiar with the terminology that is causing them difficulties.
Awareness of cultural differences
In foreign language classes, teachers go beyond teaching students how to write and speak in a language other than their native tongue. As they discuss Japan, the way of life, the food, habits, and interests of the Japanese, they talk about a specific culture.
Cultural education should be included in the classroom regularly. This can be accomplished by providing samples of food to students or by having them bring in authentic Japanese dishes. Students can also benefit from visiting a Japanese restaurant or a Japanese cultural center if their community has one.
The recent popularity of anime, video games, and game shows in the United States, as well as the widespread availability of these shows on the Internet, have made the Japanese culture a popular subject for these teachers to teach. Students can also learn about Japanese fashion in the U.S., giving teachers another subject to keep their attention.
Students are engaged in the subject and motivated to understand the language because these teachers use modern culture to hook them into the subject. They also spend a great deal of time talking about traditional Japanese ways. Tea ceremonies, which include food and tea preparation, are popular rituals in Japanese language classes.
It is also possible for teachers to celebrate Japanese holidays and events in class. The holidays are a great time to introduce foods to students and brighten up the classroom. Japan's Star Festival, for example, celebrates the writing of wishes (in Japanese, of course) on colorful paper that is hung on a wall replica of a bamboo tree. The Japanese create a version of a Christmas tree by placing wishes on bamboo branches and folding origami.
Education through creativity
It is important for Japanese teachers to make classes fun and interesting for students in addition to teaching the basics of a language. Their creative lesson plans are more likely to keep their students' interest, as well as their own interest in the subject matter.
Students will be encouraged to be creative by these teachers. To measure a student's understanding of a language, creative tests are more effective than standard tests, such as multiple choice, because they test proper spelling and definitions of words. There is no such thing as a structured test in real life. Verbal and written communication does. In order to assess their student's proficiency in the Japanese language, these teachers will give them the task of writing poems or short stories in the language.
The writing of Japanese characters is a great example of creativity in the classroom, regardless of student's age or level. In order to decorate classrooms, teachers will have students paint large Japanese letters. By doing this, students can practice Japanese writing in a fun, engaging manner while learning the intricate details.
Learning any language can be an important skill for students in the US, and Japanese can be a great place to start. Students who try to learn at least a second language tend to be good problem-solvers, and they may have more creative ways of thinking due to understanding how different cultures might approach certain things. While the road to get here can seem long, J1Teachers.com has the resources to help. With many years in the business, we can guide your path to get the most expedient result. Don’t hesitate to reach out today and explore how we can help you in the process of getting a visa and approval to teach Japanese in the US.