1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

PGCE Student - Planning to do two more years then off abroad. Looking for advice also about Japan

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by ComradeK, Apr 12, 2020.

  1. ComradeK

    ComradeK New commenter

    Hi everyone, thank you for taking the time to read.

    I've tried numerous websites looking for information, and was recommended I come here for help.

    Basically I am currently a PGCE student planning to do two more years here after this year then move abroad, so that I fulfill the minimum of the two years required by most international schools. Along the way I plan to do a part-time masters (already discussed this with various mentors at uni/school and they reckon I'll be fine with it) so hopefully when I leave I'll have a Masters under my belt as well.

    Intitially I am not looking for a permanent move at first, but rather to 'teach and travel' as some of my family and others I know have. Ideally I would like to visit East Asia - hopefully Japan, but happy elsewhere - and I was hoping somebody might be able to enlighten me on the best route for this as I have been given mixed information.

    One option is to go as a normal teacher and try to secure work at a private/international school. This is apparently quite a sweet gig if you can manage it, but I'm cautious as apparently these demand quite a bit of knowledge of Japanese/respective country's language from the get-go, as well as being more suitable for a permanent move.

    The other option that I was floated was duing a programme such as JET (or equivalent, as I know Korea has one). These allow you to learn Japanese more on the go, and also sort everything out for you accomdation wise, but obviously I won't be a teacher and I've been warned that the experience can vary in terms of job duties and how much of a 'teacher' you actually are, and likewise I've been informed that they don't suit qualified teachers. However they are more temporary, and I just wondered if they would be suitable for a year or two before either settling in a more permanent job there if I like it, or locating elsewhere?

    Regardless Japan may be out of reach anyway, but ideally I just want to get abroad really due to personal reasons I won't delve into.

    Anyone who could provide info I would be greatly appreciative of, and just to clear some points which have been raised before and I have already addressed in other websites:

    I understand a Masters alongside NQT etc. is tough, however discussing it with a variety of people, and from personal experience as a PGCE isn't my first rodeo with teaching in this country, it isn't actually that much more than pressures I've been under in previous work/occupations.

    I understand as well that the more years the better, but as I say I just want to get out of here as fast as possible. I orignally planed to do an NQT year abroad, but was persuaded to do it here along with another year, so I have already delayed my plans.

    (Sorry if I seem snappy, I've mostly received replies which fail to address my question but call into question others things which I have already discussed with multiple professionals very well, so I am just trying to avoid that. Thank you for your help).
  2. Duraz

    Duraz New commenter

    Thankfully the idea that you have to speak the local language to work in international schools in Asia is nonsense. Plenty of teachers never learn more than hello and thank you. I also wouldn't consider working in one as a permanent move, doing 2-3 years in one location is very common.

    I really wouldn't focus too much on one country at the moment. It's more important to find a good school. Get your qualifications done, complete your first year teaching then start casting your net far and wide.
    mermy, TusitalaH and yasf like this.
  3. ComradeK

    ComradeK New commenter

    Thank you for your reply, as well as clearing some things up for me. It is good to know international schools are more of an option.
  4. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    'Plenty of teachers never learn more than hello and thank you.'

    Hey that's not fair, I can say; turn left, turn right and stop here please, in at least four different languages, as well as, two beers please, in three more!!
  5. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I moved abroad after my NQT year to work in an international school (not in Asia). I speak the language of the country but most of my colleagues don't, nor is there an expectation that they would. I haven't heard of that from other international schools either. Many international schools offer an initial 2 year contract, so you do have to be relatively committed to the move - from the school's point of view, it's a lot of money and effort to recruit new staff from abroad, so they want teachers to stay long enough to make it worth their while. It's very common for a teacher to do the couple of years and then move on; it's also very common to stay for another couple of years, if you're enjoying it; and there will always be some people who end up staying on a semi-permanent basis. But international teaching attracts all kinds of people, not just those looking for a permanent move, so don't let that affect your decision.
  6. ComradeK

    ComradeK New commenter

    Thanky you for your message.

    This is good to hear. I'm young so I don't want to settle down anywhere just yet, but I'm more than happy to do two years then decide from there whether I want to say or move on. Based on the information I am given I will likely just go for a teaching job rather than try out one of the progammes they have going.
  7. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    ComradeK, perhaps I could be of some help?
  8. ComradeK

    ComradeK New commenter

    Please do, any help or advice on the matter would be much appreciated thank you.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I have sent you one of those TES Conversation things. You need to click on your avatar (mine shows me having a chat in the bath with my dear wife).
  10. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    For you @ComradeK it sounds like it's more about traveling and then teaching when you can to fund your travels. If strapping a backpack and moving every 2-3 months then do it. But expect to be on a tight budget.

    Forcing yourself into full-time work won't itch your traveling bug. This will eventually catch up with your work life.

    One thing you need to remember, just because you're on a 2 year contract doesn't mean you can't travel.

    Of course you can expect to work hard. Some are a lot harder than most... But..That. Is. Life.

    Whether you're 23 - 33 - 43 or 50+. There's no better way to travel than having the financial means to do so. A high % of expat teachers travel extensively. Why? Because we don't need to save for 2 months to do so.
  11. Shotokai

    Shotokai New commenter

    JET was, probably, the best thing I ever did. It impacts my life still to this day (I was on JET from 2004-2007). The alumni network is incredibly supportive and you become part of a global family which opens up many doors for you, if you know how to sell the experience.
    It was formative for the rest of my career and has impacted my life more than by undergraduate degree.

    I wholeheartedly recommend it!
  12. lau_bellagamba

    lau_bellagamba New commenter

    Interesting topic!
    @the hippo would you mind sending me a PM as well with more info? :) Thank you!
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    lau_bellagamba, of course I will help you, if I possibly can.
    lau_bellagamba likes this.
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I have sent you one of those TES Conversation things. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
  15. Bsmart19

    Bsmart19 New commenter

    You can work as an international teacher and travel for all 15weeks of your holidays to different countries should you please! Plus In some places go for weekends too.
    If you’re qualified, I’d get an international teaching job for sure - it opens doors!

    japan... maybe you need a bit more experience, they usually want 3 years plus. But from anywhere in Asia you can have a,axing Japanese holidays!
  16. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    (1000th comment!)

    You definitely don't need to know the language. Yes, it helps, but I've managed in China for 3 years so far with no more than 'thank you' and 'hello'! In fact, most international schools have some sort of thing where they insist that the ambient language in the school is the language of teaching - you can discuss the rights and wrongs of this, but that's what happens.

    I think you have to work out what your main reason for doing this is. If it's travel, then maybe the more itinerant nature of ESL teaching might suit you better. However, that's not to say it's impossible to combine with teaching (COVID-19 travel restrictions not withstanding.) You generally have 7 or 8 weeks summer holiday, plus 2 or 3 at Christmas, at least a week at Lunar New Year in most Asian countries, and others dotted around spring and autumn. The big advantage with international teaching is that (1) the pay is generally better, and (2) you get to really know the city where you are. Most schools are in and around the major capitals or cities like Bangkok, KL or Shanghai which provides for quite a lot of opportunity to travel.

    Good luck!
  17. mermy

    mermy Occasional commenter


    Nothing to add, just didn't want this to go unnoticed :)
  18. shakes1616

    shakes1616 Established commenter

    Not when you take into account that in the UK, you are saving a teacher's pension whereas you are saving zero for a pension abroad unless you pay into a private one and then your savings will be less.
  19. Rozario123

    Rozario123 New commenter

    I took a gap year to travel before I got to 50! Worked in Japan for 4 month at Tokyo University and then 3 months in Brazil to teach English to adults. The best decision ever, because you’re never too old to have a gap year. the agency I went with were fantastic, everything was done for me!
    mermy likes this.
  20. frogusmaximus

    frogusmaximus Occasional commenter

    I think it is a pretty important point to raise.

    Most people deal with the here and now but many do need to maximise monthly finds to get by. Had a work colleague in her 50s who would be desperately waiting for pay day each month.

    Pretty prudent myself and have a bit of a mixed bag. Cashed in pensions at the earliest opportunity to add to savings - i was only spending 30% of my overseas annual salary - due to the generous rates of return that can be found outside the UK. Property investment has been another option.

    As such, there are always more than one way to skin that cat.

Share This Page