Teaching in Japan

For anyone who is considering quitting their job and moving abroad, here are my observations of working as a  kindergarten teacher in Japan.

  1. Someone always cries. Mostly because they miss their mum. Or just another 140850600 other reasons.
  2. You will sing and dance to 5 little monkeys EVERY SINGLE DAY. However, it is quite a good workout, so you know, swings and roundabouts.
  3. I tend to make every game a jumping game. In my head, I think it’ll tire them out, in reality it just gets them more pumped.
  4. Curriculum states to teach a lesson on ‘Different homes around the world’. Making teepee’s counts yeah? 13493466_10209247314043011_732634598_o
  5. You will say ‘Who’s standing nicely?’ and ‘Who’s sitting nicely?’ approximately 8 thousand times a day.
  6. You will learn to hold going to the toilet for 8 hours. If there is no teacher to watch the class for 2 min for you to run to the bathroom, then you’re holding it. Its around this time that jumping to 5 little monkeys gets very tricky.
  7. Children have a roller coaster of emotions. For example, little girl is so excited to see Teacher Emily and come to class that she picks me some wild flowers from her garden on her walk to school. 4 minutes later, her head is on her desk, she’s wailing that she wants to go home. Classic tuesday morning.
  8. Expect to come home still singing Circle Time songs. Even though Circle Time is in the morning and you get home at 9pm. A is for Apple A A Apple, B is for Ball B B Ball… 
  9. The curriculum suggests math bingo to review numbers 1-20. I thought ‘Math Bingo? They won’t like that at all!’ I have never been more wrong. They literally loved it.
  10. Friday afternoon Teachers Choice lesson? That just screams lets make chocolate cornflake cakes and eat heaps of chocolate. Messy children are happy children.


Thank you so much for reading, I love teaching in Japan! I would recommend it to everyone! Please comment with any fun kindergarten tips or any questions on teaching in Japan.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Planet Hauth says:

    I’ve been teaching English to Japanese students in a private lesson format, but I’ve found myself in similar situations. I’ve had one child start crying for some reason myself and my co-worker never found out. Mom, who was also in the room, was unable to shed some light for us either.

    Many of my students love the kids songs and nursery rhymes I grew up with and they most definitely enjoy getting up and moving around. The songs that get stuck in my head, however, are The Days of The Week, The Months of the Year, and the phonics song we use frequently. There’s nothing too special or even particularly catchy about them, but for some reason they stick like glue in my brain.

    That being said, I too love teaching here in Japan. I earned my degree in Secondary English Education, and completed student teaching in a Freshman English class stateside, but found that to not be as great as I’d thought it’d be. It wasn’t really fun, because the group I had couldn’t really be trusted to play games for review or brain breaks, so it was always just a bunch of work. With my current students, I can play games, do crafts, sing songs, and just be silly while still teaching them what they need to know. It’s so much more relaxed and fun for everyone involved. Parents who come to the lessons with their children are always involved in the learning process and the play time, because it builds a relationship between all of us, which is something I never had a chance to do with my Freshmen, despite having been their Student Teacher for a whole semester.


    1. Japan Living says:

      Hi there! It is so lovely to hear from you, it’s great to chat to the other English language teachers! Yes, we had some crying children today, they did cheer up eventually but it was a classic as soon as the lesson starts weep!
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying teaching in Japan, whereabouts are you? Your experience in the States sounds pretty intense, glad you’re enjoying being in Japan! Yeah, I was never a qualified teacher in the UK but I was a private tutor. And it was a lot more work focused than fun based! It is much more free here. I’m really enjoying it the freedom, today the schedule for my first morning activity was outdoor play. But the kids didn’t want to go outside, so we finger painted different insects. And that was great, and no one complained that I had changed the lessons from the calendar. Just heaps more fun, in my opinion.


  2. Best wishes! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Rashminotes says:

    Such a nice post; bought many a smile to my face:) Enjoyable read:!


  4. That job will teach you much wisdom…and even make you ask yourself ‘why?’ 😀
    But it will, like all of life, show you that inner child trying to find her way home.
    It will come, as day turns into night, it will come…and slowly a smile will sit inside you as you realise that this journey is all about you, and how you teach yourself (and others), just what is important in this big wide world we are adventuring through.
    Big courage young lady, to really step outside your comfort zone to see what is ‘out there’…well done! 🙂


  5. Patrice says:

    Your site is lovely! Thank you for the ‘Follow’ !!!


  6. I was high school history teacher Miami , Florida USA 33 years. Thanks for your recent follow of my blog.


  7. iamanexpatblog says:

    Very interesting post on how teaching kids in Japan is!


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