ESL Issues: No 2- You are completely on your own. Good luck!

What do you do when your employer gives you no real direction in terms of what to do for your English class?

This is a very common problem with many eikaiwa schools in Japan. The employer, who may have no background in education at all, may say something like, “Please make active classes for the children to enjoy.”

What do you do with that? How are you supposed to start?


Maybe you have every good intention in the world to start with a series of songs, activities, maybe a game or two and read some stories. That sounds pretty good, and this is how most eikaiwa classes for kids go. There are a series of songs you need to remember and know, some activities that are popular and fun and things go pretty good. The students are happy and enjoy the lesson and the parents are glad that you are a fun person for their child. Seems perfectly fine, and we do not say that such lessons are “bad”.

But in our classrooms, we have a different approach to how we teach classes. The first big difference is that we are very interested in teaching kids all four areas of English learning: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. We want our kids to be completely fluent and learning English is every way, and are more of a “classroom” environment for kids.

The typical open-room style of most eikaiwa classrooms is fine, but it becomes very difficult to teach reading and writing. We need to help the kids be successful in future English classes in their regular school, so at englishbiz we are very serious about helping them learn ABCs, be fluent in phonics, begin to read basic sentences, and learn how to write full sentences and some basic grammar too.

Sometimes the employer you may have has no materials that are useful to your lessons. Or, they have things that you have no interest in using, or are too old or damaged. As the teacher you feel completely unsupported, and maybe you are digging into your own funds to provide materials and worksheets for kids. That is not right.


The other big issue for the typical eikaiwa school is teacher fatigue. While it may be OK to have a more energetic and song-filled class, it can be very rough on the teacher to have to give 5 or 6 performances a day. I have met many teachers who have lost their voice, or who feel very burned out after a few months of such a rigorous work routine.
In an englishbiz classroom a teacher is provided a few things to help them make smooth classes. We have a detailed curriculum, we have thousands of flashcards to be used, we have hundreds of kids books, we have interactive materials, we have a complete curriculum of homework sheets that kids work through and office support to give you the help you may need in communicating with the kids and their parents.

Teachers in our classrooms do not entertain or perform. You will not be dancing for kids. You will not need to play a musical instrument or dress up. You will not need to lose your voice trying to be heard above a room of screaming kids. You get to keep your dignity intact. You will not wear a costume or engage in any activity resembling things that mimes do. That is the very least we can do.

We need our teachers to be healthy and happy in the classroom. Teachers also need support and some guidance and structure to make sure their lessons are smooth. Of course we welcome teachers to bring their own personality and style to the lessons as they interact naturally with kids. We don’t need robots, but we also know that teachers need support and help.

You bring the passion and love of teaching kids. We bring the stuff you need to help get the job done. That’s how we work at englishbiz.

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