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It was Going to Happen, but...

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  • It was Going to Happen, but...

    Hello people. I have debated and deliberated the whole idea of where I should go with my degree and desire to pay off school debt (groan...) for some time now. Too bad for me, I hadn't come across this site yet, as it seems to offer one of the better forums for this.
    Right now, I have determined that the two best markets in the ESL industry are South Korea and Japan. Initially, I thought Japan would be the better of the two, as I heard many negatives about S. Korea. However, I don't have a fetish for the Japanese experience that a lot of people seem to have.
    After many online applications to employers based in Japan, I concluded that it is an very difficult market to find work in, and the first question that came to my mind is, "Why"? Sixty applications later, I got about three inquisitors and one job offer. That one job offer doesn't seem to rosey to me, though. There are some parts of the work summary that I feel are (ahem) odd. It will be interesting to see if anyone else agrees. I will just post the details of it here:

    "Working Conditions & Services
    1.Working hours from 10am to 9pm Monday to Saturday with a one hour lunch break (this lunch break may not be at 12pm e.g. 1pm to 2pm depending on lessons) if you have no lesson you are free to leave the building & all classes are taught at our schools as we donft teach outside classes e.g. company classes. Note: If your first class does not start until 1pm you only have to arrive at ****15 minutes before your lesson(e.g. if you have a lesson at 2:00pm, you must arrive at **** before 1:45pm)

    2.The weekly day off is Sunday (You will have one Sunday-Monday two-day@consecutive holiday every month after working for 3 months)

    3.Potential holidays can be arranged after a period of 6 months e.g. short holidays

    4.Wages are per month & you will receive \230,000 as a monthly retainer, which means you, will receive that amount per month but it is possible to earn more than that with a high number of lessons. After three months your retainer will increase to \ 250,000 also a monthly transportation fee of \5,000 is on top of your wage to help cover any train & bus fees etc. If you are only interested in a part time position we can discuss working hours & a suitable retainer

    5.Apartment(working at Niigata only): We will provide an apartment for you at your expense & **** will pay all the sign up fees involved in renting a suitable apartment. It will be your responsibility to pay all the monthly fees such as gas, water, power, apartment rental, electric appliances and furniture.

    6.Work Visa: **** will provide a work visa for you that can be extended each year. We will require the following documents from you before we can process a visa: Resume, 2 x passport size photofs and your last educational certificate (This cert must be the original not a photocopy)

    7.Any references from previous employers

    8.A letter explaining why you would like to work in Japan teaching English and your future plans

    9.A telephone interview is also required if hiring from overseas

    10.After receiving your resume, your letter & speaking with you we will then inform you of our decision within one week

    1PDAny teachers employed by **** must follow our school guidelines & teaching policy
    as this is important to our company & the success of our schools.

    Main Object of **** private lessons are:

    E The best quality of lessons: by offering 1 on 1 private lesson so we can help them improve their English/French level the most efficient way, teacher can give each student 100% attention, students are able to choose the kind of lessons they would like e.g. grammar, free talking, TOEIC, travel English, business English
    E Let students speak, listen and do some exercises in the class and give them homework to build up their Grammar, vocabulary and confidence
    E Reasonable tuition fee: compared to other schools, we offer students private lessons at the same price as the other schools group lessons.
    E Flexible schedule: students can choose anytime they want and they can change and move their lessons as we have flexible school rules.

    Teacherfs role
    E Serve students coffee or tea before the lesson
    E The teacher must arrive 15 minutes before the lesson starts
    E Teacher gives students 55 minutes lesson
    E To ask the students what type of lesson they would like e.g. following a text book or free talking etc
    E To give each student regular homework suitable for their level
    E Bring students to the counter to let them make a booking for next lesson
    E See students off and if you are around the lobby open the door for them
    E Even if students are not your students it is recommended to say ghelloh or gkonnichiwah ggoodbyeh or hotsukaresamah to them and open the door for them when they leave
    E To greet students with an energetic voice this is how we express our feeling and welcome students to our school this is also **** policy"

    That's it in a nutshell. What do you people think about it? I look over it and think, "God, this is going to cost a lot of money to get set up! I can't afford this!" Airfare..., big rent.., utilities..., furnishings..., on and on. Also, I have learned that Japan is the most expensive country in the world to live in. This is the antithesis of what the S. Koreans are willing to do and pay to get teachers over there. The way it stands now, I figure I can only bring under $1700 US with me. Japan is out of the question isn't it? What about getting an advance from the employer on the paycheque?
    Anyway, I was wanting to confirm my doubts about Japan. Yet I am still curious as to why so many flock to Japan when there are seemingly greener pastures (in terms of dollar bills) for ESL teachers.

  • #2
    Hmmm...I saw those conditions on a 'pot advert not too long ago too...ouch:
    -10am to 9pm
    -230,000 per month
    -Apartment supplied at YOUR expense.

    My avatar doesn't recommend it to your avatar.

    If you're not fussed about Japan, then why not try China or Singapore...plenty to see and do over there too.


    • #3
      The job seems to be long hours and the pay is quite low. At least if you take the job, you can get your visa and then find a better paying job when you get here.


      • #4
        Parts of the job sound great; you can tailor lessons to the students and to your teaching style...
        I like that you don't have to be in the school unless you have a lesson, too.

        The apartment deal sounds OK. At least they pay the key money, etc. 5000 yen/month for transportation should be more than you need.

        I'd ask them about the 6 days/week bit, though. Maybe it's a mistake, and they mean that your other day off isn't fixed... Ask about how many teachers really work 10 hour days on a normal basis, too. Try to speak to one of the teachers!

        If most of their teachers work 6 days/week, 10 hrs/day...

        They are crazy.


        • #5
          A friendly word of advice: run!

          Sorry, but this sounds like indentured servitude to me. They want you to work 6 days a week for 10 hours a day and pay only 230,000 yen for this? And they let you pay for everything, including rent, utilities and transportation?

          Sorry Charlie, but that's not a deal no matter how you look at it. If you want, you can sign up, let them give you the visa, then skip out on them one it's done but I don't recommend you take the job.

          And on the off chance you do take this job and survive 3 months without killing yourself or your students in the process, 5000 yen a month is not enough to get you to and from work unless you live a few stops away. My monthly bill for travel is 17,210 yen (paid by my company) and I'm only 5 stops away. Okay, I take the Rinkai line into work which is majorly expensive (almost double the other lines) but we're only talking 5 stops (one changeover). The total is close to 970 yen/day!

          My suggestion is, don't take the job unless a) you really want to, b) you really need to, or c) you're into being treated like a slave.


          • #6

            The job does sound to be not so great. I would find out how many classes you are responsible for each week. Since you don't have to show up until you have a class, and most eikaiwas don't get busy until 5pm, you may have very short days. Especially if a lot of the classes are free conversation. A friend of mine works for a school where he only has to be there when he teaches, and he only works like 20 hours a week. But he gets paid full-time. So maybe it isn't as bad as it seems? And I would stay away from S. Korea. A friend of mine went there in July to teach. She died last month. No kidding. She DIED in S. Korea from pneumonia. I was shocked. Not that I am saying this would happen to you, but she was only there for four months. We weren't that close, so I don't know all the details. And like the other posters wrote, if you take the job, you can always look for something better once you are here. Good luck.


            • #7
              Nice to hear back from people regarding this... I would have liked to have posted the actual working schedule that would have shown that the work days are *not* ten hour ordeals, but the pdf file they sent me is too large to upload and I can't paste any of its text (image). I can say that the average working hours for the teachers seem to be between 4-6 hours a day, with Fridays and Saturdays being the busiest. It *is* a six-day-a-week job, though. The hours vary across the board, with some teachers getting more morning hours one day then hardly any the next but with a busy afternoon, etc. I am a routine guy myself; I would rather just have a fixed schedule and stick with it. This company's schedule would be a very flexible person's best friend (Is this common among langauge schools?).

              My second issue is the sending over the *original* degree. The pics I don't have a problem with, but the original degree...WHY? I have lost an original degree with transcript in the past to a recruiter and have vowed to never lose another. Why do these guys keep asking for gd originals all the time? It makes my angry just talking about it. What is the official stance on this?

              Finally, I would like to ask people what a very thrifty person needs to survive on during their first month working in Japan as an absolute minimum? I read somewhere that it costs $700 to hook up a phone!!! (I hope that it was just a typo and the person meant to enter *$70.00*). Using this as a comical guideline, then I consider Japan as a place that is out of control pricewise, and I can' t imagine for the life of me why people are going over there unless they have a wad of money to burn. "Yes, I would like the caviar served with the fillet mignon and the finest French wine you have...ah, just put it on my tab, I'm a new English teacher you know."


              • #8
                This is a bad job, then. Even 4 teaching hours/day will keep you in the school for 6-7 hours. More if you're new to teaching or if you have to custom-build most lessons.

                Have you interviewed with any of the big eikaiwa yet? Any of them would be better.

                You didn't mention health insurance. Does this place provide it? What about bonuses for contract completion? Bah, even if so, 6 days/week is insane.

                The degree is for immigration to look at. I don't think there's another option besides sending the original... but I'm not 100% sure.

                If you buy a phone line its expensive. You can buy 'used' lines sometimes, or you can rent. Start-up costs here are very high, especially if you have to find your own apartment.

                Anyways, keep looking! There are much better jobs!


                • #9
                  I agree with madeira; this job offer is DOA.