Thursday, January 15, 2015

Working in Japan: The creme de la creme of contracts.

I'm down to two months left before moving back to Seattle and am anxious about working in the states again after 2 years of quite the setup. This post isn't designed to create envy, though I'm not going to deny that it's delicious to feed off every once in a while. It's more for ESL teachers who are tired of getting financially jacked around, and wonder if it's possible to make a decent living as a teacher. Given my last 2 years of financial discipline, I would now argue that a 'decent living' can be had on my old wages (part-time teaching at roughly $20 per hour). But I digress. Here are the deets of this contract:

There are 365 days in a year, and I work Monday through Friday, and one or two Saturdays per year. Summer break is 5 weeks, Winter break is 2 weeks, and Spring break is 2 weeks. Ohh yeah, these are paid. (365 - 104 - 35 - 14 - 14) = 198 work days, but let's not forgot about the holidays!

There are 16 holidays in Japan. However, for the paid-days-off calculation, a few of those fall during holidays, so we'll count it as 12. What's often done is that if a holiday falls on a Sunday, it's moved to a holiday Monday. This is a Japanese law. 186 work days.

But wait! It's a Japanese school and their education system undulates students in 1-2 monthly tests if you factor in the 5 days of finals each term. Let's call that 15 days where I administer a test or take early leave because I'm not needed. 171 days. Finally are preparation days: the week before, after and during finals, the workday generally ends 3 hours early, which works out to almost 7 days of no classes. Not only that, but for Sports Day, classes are stopped for 2 days to prepare. 177. The contract is an annual salary. I work 48.5% of the year and receive the same paycheck every 15th.

Oops, I forgot that there are 10 paid personal holidays, which are basically used via going home or to appointments after classes are finished. It is also customary for Japanese companies to reimburse you for transportation, which is a big deal.

As if this wasn't all good enough, the salary itself is roughly what a public school teacher makes, with probably twice the work burden I have, under the current exchange rate. However, 2 years ago, the yen traded very favorably with the dollar, and I was making more like a programmer or someone in the IT field. However, this salary is by no means simply handed over.

Get dat contract!
I knew the right person, I speak and read Japanese in a limited capacity, and I am good at what I do in the classroom. My talent is imported because Japan needs native speakers to teach English, in a more useful way than rote rehearsal. The contract I have is generally signed inside of Japan, and is rare, but not completely impossible to find. Ohayo Sensei is a great place to start, and you'll either find the salary or workload that I've mentioned. Look for 'international school.' Finding both is a little harder, but you can make your money go pretty far by coming to teach English in Japan.

1 comment:

Raul Pope Farguell said...

Shout it from the rooftops! Nice post.

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