Osaka YMCA International School (OYIS), now with Search Associates, is a regional leader in international education and the only school authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in the city of Osaka. Principal Dr. John Botting describes his school:
“First, our schools are part of the larger YMCA, which means we have heart; we are connected to community, and we care about people throughout their entire [lives]; second, we are Osaka, a city of 9 million adventurous, down-to-earth people whose flare is born out of an historic and intrepid Japanese merchant culture. Osaka is a coastal city famous for comedy and delectable food; third, we have solid partnerships with the Osaka Board of Education that put Osaka YMCA schools at the forefront of exploring the emerging possibilities of international education . . .”
Osaka sits between Kobe to the west and Kyoto to the east--a cultural sprawl from cosmopolitan to funky to old world. Dr. Botting says many native English speakers chuckle to hear that Osaka is located in the Kinki region of Japan. Just south is Wakayama, a prefecture famous for its beaches and surfing. There are many intriguing destinations in and around Osaka.
OYIS, housed in the YMCA’s Osaka City center campus, includes intimate classroom and specialist teaching settings as well as a first-rate gym, an outdoor swimming pool, and a spacious playground. The school has not only recently added an early learning center in September 2017, it has also expanded its library and built a science lab and an art room.
In addition to IB authorization to deliver the Primary Years Programme (PYP), OYIS is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges as well as the Japanese Gakko Hojin and the Canadian Alberta Ministry of Education. The school enrolls 175 pre-kindergarten to Grade 9 students representing 23 nationalities. While 38% of the students are Japanese, 17% are from North America and the U.K. The teaching staff of 23 provides individual attention to students and creates a family atmosphere in this small school. Three of the teachers are from Japan, and 15 of them come from North America and the U.K.
OYIS offers inquiry-based learning to its youngest students, followed by the PYP, both of which celebrate human richness, diversity, and curiosity. The Junior High division uses the Ontario Curriculum for mathematics; Science, Design and Technology; physical and health education; and the arts. The school also uses the Common Core State Standards for language arts and an international Individuals and Societies Program for social studies, aligning closely with the PYP social studies strand.
Optional after-school clubs—run by teachers, YMCA staff, and outside providers—are available for students every day of the week for 45 minutes. A rich selection of about 21 clubs target academic, physical, and creative development. Some of these clubs include yoga, photography, hip hop dance, Lego Club, Arts Club, Band Club, swimming, basketball, and piano lessons.
Field trips are organized at every grade level. By Grade 2, students are invited for a sleepover at the school. Grade 3 students visit a traditional Japanese farm for a two-day overnighter. Grade 4 classes go on a two-day camping trip, which includes team building activities, outdoor cooking, campfire, and canoeing. Grade 5 students camp for three days near a marine education center while kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling. By Grades 6-9, students are able to hike and camp for four days through the Mount Rokko ranges near Kobe and Osaka.
OYIS is interested in hiring singles and couples, including those who are not married and those with a non-teaching spouse, for which there are local opportunities. Candidates must be certified; however, exceptional newly-certified teachers—with a minimum three years’ experience at an accredited school—and those certified in non-English speaking countries are welcome to apply. Additionally, candidates need not hold an academic degree in the subject they will be teaching. Work visas are issued in Japan up to the age of 60. Dr. Botting says,
“We strive to be a recognized center of educational excellence. We do a lot of application screening and are vigilant in our selection and retention of educators. We look for good people, and in return, we hold up our end of the bargain and give you the chance to do some really cool teaching and learning. . . In the end, if you are a nice person, flexible, teacher-certified and have solid experience and perhaps hold a master's degree or doctorate, then we are interested.”
The OYIS salary and benefits package includes monthly housing allowance, a one-time moving and settling-in allowance as well as annual airfare for both the employee and his or her spouse. Details regarding a tuition benefit will be discussed. OYIS also contributes 50% to its employees’ retirement plan. Local health insurance is provided, with the employee paying a percentage of the premium. Each teacher is provided with an individual budget of 50,000 Japanese yen per year for professional development (PD). Additional funds are available through the general PD fund, and annual school-wide PD is also provided. The OYIS benefits package allows for some savings, and there are local employment opportunities for non-teaching partners.
Osaka YMCA International School’s full profile on the Search Associates database, including a list of all open positions, candidates can apply for membership by clicking here. Candidates already registered can easily access the school profile directly through their dashboards.
Please note: The information presented about this school was valid on the date published. This information may change, and the most up-to-date information can be found on the school profile.