I want to tell you about my experience. A few years ago I got highly involved in a university Japan exchange and teaching program. I was actually a scientist at the time, but enjoyed the program so much that I decided for a career change! I travelled to Japan twice and loved it more than I ever thought I would, and felt the growing urge to go live and work there, and get involved in teaching and cultural exchange!
But how? I was a single parent, working? I came across the ATA website while searching online for jobs in Japan. The courses looked really interesting! And there was the online chat forum, not to mention the job board. But I was a bit reluctant. Could I really get a job by doing this course? I called the information line and had a great chat with a very helpful woman who’d just come back from working in Switzerland. I told her what I wanted to do and she me gave great advice. I enrolled in an Advanced TESOL Diploma. I opted to stay in Australia and study because my son was younger at the time. I studied the Foundation Unit on location. It was great meeting people doing the same thing as me and gave me great hands-on English teaching experience.
Well, I bet you can guess how my story ends – well it hasn’t ended yet because my chosen work opportunities are endless! But I’ve been working in Japan for a year now. I applied for a school teaching program, and after I was accepted, this prefecture chose me because of my qualifications – yes, that’s right, my ATA TESOL Diploma. And I am often asked can I do extra work by other organisations!
Being a TESOL teacher is great! I recommend this career choice to anyone thinking about it – whether you are single, want to teach for a short or long time, no matter what your age, have kids (my 16 year old is doing very well here, studying by distance education whilst experiencing another culture first hand!) – JUST DO IT! It will change your life! And make sure to get some training! ATA has a range of courses to suit exactly what anyone needs. But it is more than that – it is a support network, a resource network, and a learning institution. I often use my ATA manuals for ideas and as a starting point, and I often look at the website and read the newsletters to see what’s happening!
I speak now from my own wonderful experiences! What I learned from my course gave me the skills and confidence for this wonderful and life-changing opportunity!