MIL - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What kind of people work at MIL?
A: Well, lots of unique characters; that’s for sure! We usually have about half Canadians and half Americans teaching English on our staff, from all different parts of their respective countries. MIL Instructors’ ages range from recent college graduates in their early 20's to folks in their 50's and 60's. We've even had entire families working here. MIL hires people of every age and all walks of life -- the one thing our teachers have in common is that they love teaching and they enjoy interaction with others!
Q: Does MIL sponsor working visas?
A: Yes, we do sponsor Japanese working visas for our teachers. In order to be eligible for a working visa, a candidate must possess a four-year (BA or BS) degree from a recognizable and accredited university or college.
Q: Do MIL teachers have to do any marketing or sales?
A: No; we don't do that under any circumstances. You WILL be asked to give Trial Lessons to prospective MIL students. But, you won't EVER have to sell textbooks or tuition renewals.
Q: How many hours a week will I work?
A: You will be scheduled up to a maximum of 26.6 regular classroom Teaching Hours (1600 teaching minutes) in a 5 day workweek. Anything longer than an 8 hour workday or more than 320 teaching minutes per day is compensated as overtime. We don’t track your class preparation time, but we DO require that teachers adequately prepare for every class and complete all necessary paperwork.
Q: What about days off and holidays?
A: MIL teachers work a 5 day workweek, with 2 days off per week. Your days off are not consecutive for your first term, but after that you may request whatever 2 days off you want and, although we can't guarantee it, we try our best to honor your request. (Many teachers prefer to keep their split shifts.) Every year we have off a week in the Spring (usually right at the beginning of May - Golden Week); 2 weeks in August (Obon); and 2 weeks, from December 21 to January 3, at New Years. MIL also provides teachers 5 additional personal days per year, which can be used at almost any time. All told, if you take all of the personal days to which you are entitled, you will work about 240 days in a 1 year contract.
Q: Will I have to commute?
A: Most MIL teachers live within about 10 minutes by
foot (and much faster by bicycle) of one or the other
of our 2 main schools, in Katsutadai or Kitanarashino.
These main schools, and all MIL branch schools, are
located at or very close to train stations. If you do have
to commute to a branch school for the day, the average
commute from the station where you live is usually
about 20 minutes one way.
Q: Is my travel reimbursed?
A: Yes; all work-related travel is reimbursed once a month with your monthly pay.
Q: Will I teach at the same school every day?
A: MIL has 6 schools, and usually teachers teach at a different school each day. However, you almost always teach at only 1 school each day, and you teach the same classes at each school every week.
Q: Do I have to teach children?
A: Absolutely! About 2/3 of our 800 students are children. At MIL teachers don’t specialize, so you will teach Playgroup classes (3 year olds who come with their Moms), Adult classes with students who are 80 year old retirees, and every age in between!
Q: Is it OK to socialize outside of work with my students?
A: Of course. As long as the students are not minors, and you are not doing anything inappropriate or illegal, we encourage you to spend time socially with your students. It’s a great way to promote cultural exchange and communication. Students often invite their MIL teachers to dinner at their houses or a restaurant, or to go to a baseball game, museum, onsen, sumo match, etc.
Q: How much money can I save each month?
A: As with anywhere you live, that really depends on your lifestyle. The starting base salary for MIL teachers is 250,000 yen per month. If you go into Tokyo every day off, or eat out a lot, or go out drinking every evening, you probably won't save very much. But, if you make most of your meals yourself at home, and only go out once in awhile, you'll save more. Realistically, after all fixed expenses (rent and utilities), and with a reasonable amount of food, travel and entertainment counted in, most people usually end up about 30,000 - 50,000 yen ahead at the end of each month (roughly $300 - $500 USD).
Q: Is Japan safe?
A: Just like most places in the world, there are certain areas of Japan’s bigger cities that are more dangerous than others, and it is always a good idea to be cautious, especially when you are traveling alone. However, compared to most countries, Japan is one of the safest places in the world to live. The Japanese generally have high morals and are extremely polite, and the crime rate in Japan is very low.
Q: Are MIL apartments furnished?
A: Yes. Please refer to the Apartments page.
Q: I’m a vegetarian. Will I have problems finding
things to eat?
A: Being a vegetarian in Japan can be difficult, but
it's certainly not impossible. If you prepare all
your own meals, being a vegetarian is absolutely
no problem at all. The fruit and vegetables, while
a little more expensive than you may be used to,
are plentiful, of extremely high quality, and
always fresh. There are always plenty of tofu and
soy products around, too. The difficulties come
when you eat meals out -- almost everything
soup-like has a fish or meat stock base, and in
some restaurants pork and fish are not really
considered to be meat. In addition, adding MSG
to foods is very common in Japan. When you order, you can try “Niku nuki, onegai shimasu.” (Without any meat, please.) and that will work in some places!
Q: I don’t have any Japanese language skills. Do I need to speak Japanese before I come?
A: Although it’s helpful to speak and understand a bit of Japanese before you arrive, it certainly isn’t necessary. Many of our teachers do not speak any Japanese at all before they come to work at MIL. We are located in an area of Japan where people are used to seeing and interacting with foreigners (MIL is on the main travel corridor between Narita airport and Tokyo.) and most Japanese people everywhere understand at least a little English.
Although it isn’t mandatory, we encourage our teachers to study Japanese while they are here, both because it will make your daily life richer, and because it will give you a good idea what your students are going through trying to learn another language!
Q: Will I be able to find books and newspapers in English?
A: No problem. Both the major dailies, the Yomiuri and the Asahi, publish English editions that are available at most newsstands and convenience stores. All the major bookstore chains have at least a small selection of imported books and magazines available. Also, since we are not too far from Tokyo, you can easily find many shops there which specialize in selling new or used books in English. So, there is never a lack of English books around for you to read. Not to mention your friend Amazon . . .
Q: What is the weather like in Chiba?
A: Generally this part of Japan has beautiful Springs (just wait until you see the cherry blossoms!); long, hot, humid Summers; short but spectacular Autumns; and very mild Winters.... it seldom stays below freezing for long. The climate here is probably about the equivalent of Vancouver in Canada, or Virginia in the USA.
Q: I like nightlife! What is there to do in Chiba?
A: Well, if you are just looking for some interesting bars (izakaya) or restaurants, or some neighborhood karaoke, there are many good local places to go. For group entertainment you'll find bowling alleys, game centers, movie theaters, pool halls, etc. Or, on your days off, you can always travel in to Tokyo for shopping or sightseeing. The commuter trains leave about every 10 minutes, so, and Tokyo is just a 45 minute minute train ride away!
Check out some out some Fun Stuff to Do!