For all the rumours that you’ll hear, teaching at a private high school is not all that different from teaching at a regular Japanese high school. Granted, every situation is different, but our school experiences can be as equally rewarding as that of any other school environment.
There are two main differences between a ‘regular’ Japanese high school, and a private high school. Firstly, Japanese private high schools tend to be of a somewhat lower academic calibre. However, please note that this isn not always the case. High school entrance exams are designed so that the best kids enter prefectural high schools, and the rest are shuffled down the educational ladder. Now that I’ve said that once, I want you to forget it. Just be open-minded and flexible about what you expect to achieve in class. As the teacher, you are your own best judge of what the students will understand.
The second difference between prefectural and private Japanese high schools is in regard to the March-April faculty changes. These do NOT occur at private high schools, and depending on how you get along with your teachers, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, it is a definite benefit to the educational system and the inter-school relationships. Some teachers will undoubtedly be young, but there will most likely be a group of teachers who have been around for years. This all means that at school life functions, people act more like a family, which is to the direct benefit of the students and yourself. Teachers who are comfortable with their job and each other make school life much more enjoyable.
There are only a limited number of private high schools in the prefecture. Keep in mind that private schools are given first choice over incoming ALTs, which means that you were selected for your unique talents and abilities! With a little humor, patience, and flexibility, your job will be a wonderful and satisfying experience.