Kumiko has always wanted to become a teacher. She does not let the negative stories from the media or her parents expectations for another career deter her from her chosen career.
Hiroki is not quite sure which career path to take when he graduates from high school. He wants to keep his options open, so he might take initial teacher education courses in addition to his degree requirement under the Open System.
Miho already obtained her First-Class License to teach English in elementary school but she is keen to develop her skills so that she can teach in secondary schools.
After her university application is accepted, Kumiko does well in the national university entrance exams. She passes an additional exam and interview to enter the Department of Education.
After his university application is accepted, Hiroki passes the national university entrance examination and is admitted into the department of chemistry. He is considering taking additional pedagogical training, even though this is a lot of extra work.
After submitting her teaching qualifications and doing an interview, Miho is accepted into the Professional Graduate School of Education at one of the national universities to complete her Master’s.
According to Japanese law, for the first 2 years of her 4-year degree, Kumiko must complete coursework, research and some practical training in affiliated schools. In the final 2 years, there is more focus on preparing a thesis and practical training. In all, she needs 60 credits for studying content, educational theory and pedagogy, and pedagogical content knowledge, plus 4 weeks of mandated practical training, to be eligible for a First-Class teaching certificate for elementary school.
Hiroki decides to study chemistry with ITE courses, which are offered by most university departments, to keep his options open. To be eligible for First-Class teaching certificate for high school, he needs at least 59 credits for studying chemistry, educational theory and pedagogy; an additional 8 credits for studying the Constitution, physical education, foreign language and ICT; and 2 weeks of mandated practical training. He can obtain his degree and certification in 4 years.
Miho needs 46 credits to complete her programme in the Professional Graduate School, which develops her practical, leadership, research and 21st century teaching skills. Miho has the required 300-450 hours of practicum waived because she has previous teaching experience. She can obtain her degree in 2 years.
Kumiko and Hiroki heard about MEXT’s Inspection of Teacher Training Programmes, which regularly reviews ITE providers and their operation.
Miho has downloaded the evaluation report on Professional Graduate Schools by the Institute for the Evaluation of Teacher Education, which is published every 5 years.
Kumiko earned all her university credits and applied to the Board of Education (BOE) for her teaching certificate. With her certificate, she is eligible to apply for a teaching position. After passing the hiring examinations administered by the BOE, she is placed in a school by the BOE for a 1-year probationary period.
Hiroki did not pass the 2nd stage of the Board of Education employment examination. He may apply for a position as a contract teacher or in a private school – and perhaps sit the exam again in 1 year.
Miho earned all her credits and completed her Master’s. She can now apply to the Board of Education to upgrade her teaching license to a Specialised License. Once she passes the employment examination, she will return to her old position with more career prospects.
The BOE that hired Kumiko offers a 3-year formal induction programme, although a 1-year induction period for newly hired full-time teachers is legally mandated in Japan.
Hiroki is a contract teacher so he is not eligible for 1-year formal induction provided by the Board of Education.
Miho has already worked as a full-time teacher for more than 1 year so induction training is not a legal requirement. One day, she may be nominated by the school principal to mentor others.