My name is Nicholas,
My name is Nicholas,
My name is Nicholas, I'm 22 and I'm new to this forum and for that matter the ESL industry. I have an interview with Peppy Kids Club and want to know more about them. I have some searching on this forum as well as other forums. To put it simply, I'm divided over what to think of them. Most of the reviews are either very bad or pretty good. I'm not sure what the truth of the matter is or if its all truth and teacher experiences are truly this diverse. I understand people are more likely to post a horror story than a decent review so before I decide if I would like to work with PKC, I figured I would just ask. I would prefer responses from those with first hand experience with PKC or iTTTi or at least from someone who knows a PKC teacher but any input is appreciated. I have read amany posts, but much of it 5+ years old so recent experience would be best.
What I would like to know:
1. How are iTTTi and PKC related?
2. I've read conflicting information about salary. iTTTi says its \250,000 a month but I have read posts saying it can be as little as \150,000. Whats the real deal here? If it's salary so how can it fluctuate?
3. I've heard that they have poor working conditions. For example, run down buildings and unsafe structures. I've also read that despite this the teachers are liable for their students safety regardless of the fact the the area is dangerous. I understand I'm responsible for the children and have no problem with this but if I were put in a dangerous building I'd say any teachers best efforts couldn't prevent everything. Has anyone had this experienced these conditions? Is your experience similar or different?
4. I've read that the company tells its employees to lie about hours to cut corners and avoid paying health insurance. Is this true? I've read that this is somewhat common amongst companies. Is that true?
5. These are my major questions, but if anyone has any other useful information or would like to give me advice please do.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR ANY HELP! I'm a newbie and need some guidance.
I would like to speak to someone who is as unbiased as possible. Which is why I'm asking here. I'm guessing someone here has been or is a PKC teacher. I know at some point I'm just going to have to dive in, but I'd like to be as informed as possible. As I said I've read some unsettling horror stories and I'd like to avoid becoming one.
Again, Thanks for the input. It really helps.
Last edited by nikorasu; 2010-05-08 at 08:44 AM.
Hello Nicholas, I did not work for PKC while I was in Japan, but many of my friends did, so here's what I know.
The salary of 250,000 sounds about right. It may be a little lower (245,000?) but it's not higher. 150,000 is way out. maybe someone was talking about what they had left after bills, living expenses etc.
As for 'dangerous buildings', I don't know about that. PKC has lots of schools in different locations, so maybe some of them aren't completely modernised. I've heard the rumours of unsafe buildings before but nobody I know from PKC ever reported anything like that.
Here's some general info about PKC: I think by eikaiwa standards, they have a pretty easy deal. They work WAY less hours than most eikaiwa teachers, and get more days off. They do not have to wear suits at work, and they have some kind of gaijin support helpline in case their teachers have any issues. From what I've heard, as long as you don't abuse the service (call them up and whine about every little unreasonable complaint) they are very accommodating and helpful. PKC also allows its teachers to take sick days. This does mean you may get called on your day off to cover for some other lazy sod who decided to pull a sickie, BUT remember that most eikaiwas would sooner drag your infected corpse into the classroom and prop it up against the white board than let you take the day off.
On the downside, PKC teachers do often complain about having to commute to their schools. You would teach at several schools in your area, and you will likely spend as much time on buses or trains as you do in the classroom. Transport costs are reimbursed, but if you screw up your transportation arrangements, find yourself stranded and have to call a taxi, PKC will not be jumping to pay your fares. Commutes might be even longer (think hours) if you're called to cover a school for someone who called in sick. If you are the only person available, you are the one they will call. The commuting doesn't bother everyone, but some complain about it endlessly. It's something to consider.
Overall, my friends at PKC had positive experiences and were happy with their jobs.
I'm really grateful for your input on the school. These are exactly the kind of things I want to hear. I've done my own homework and found similar answers, excluding the aforementioned horror stories. It's nice to hear it from someone who knows better than myself about the topic.
Again, thank you to everyone for your help.
If anyone else has comments I'd like to hear as many as possible.
Last edited by nikorasu; 2010-05-08 at 12:32 PM.
iTTTi is simply the umbrella company, which itself is under the even larger umbrella of Chuoh Publishing.
The pay is AFAIK holding steady at 25万 for Westerners. I heard people from other countries ie Philippines may be getting offered less.
I don't think you are liable for anything beyond your control, but definitely are for anything within it, ie kids running into the street after their lesson, ie if their parent is parked across the street. It's hard to know all the potential classroom hazards without experience, for example today the grill covering the ceiling vent fell after being hit during a perfectly normal game. Biggest hazards seem to be students fighting, running and slipping or hitting something, etc. I've considered myself as being pretty lucky so far all in all, but with more experience I can now maintain a safer environment.
It's true they keep your recorded hours below 30 even if you may (though highly unlikely) work more than that in a week. It's also true that pretty much all the comapanies do it. Can't do much about it, but health insurance is so cheap the first year it's all in all not such a big deal.
PKC is the only company I know of that leaves you with enough free time to do more involved things while you work here. For example I am taking fulltime Japanese classes every weekday morning. This would be next to impossible anywhere else.
All in all, although sometimes it's really a pain with the more troublesome kids given that you are expected to manage to keep them in check using the company protocol despite being left more or less on your own to figure out how to implement it successfully without being pretty much laughed at by the student(s) in question, it's really a pretty good deal. If I were to change jobs, I imagine I would only bother if I landed something at an international school, university and the like, or something outside of the ESL field altogether. I don't think any other place within the Eikaiwa or ALT fields offers as good a deal (with the possible exception of JET, but then you're really out in the inaka).
Hope this helps and let us know if you have any more questions.
Last edited by desu; 2010-05-08 at 06:40 PM.
THEY DON'T WANT ALL YOU GAIJIN HERE ANYMORE!!!
After&Desu gave you most of the information you're looking for. The negative stuff you read-was that a phony website with really angry complaints plus some scat porn thrown in for good measure? That site is crazy, but somewhat funny.
A good friend worked there for 5-6 years. The commutes can be long, but he had time for morning Japanese lessons, private students (keep that hush-hush) and took vacations regularly. And made 250K. Good enough.
Hey, just because I can get laid a lot here doesn't make it paradise. Or a "free" society.
Last edited by nikorasu; 2010-05-09 at 03:54 AM.
To all who are wondering I went to Japan for a year with Peppy and had a blast. Overall its decent pay, they worked with me and were a good employer. The hours are shorter than most other schools which is good cause pay is Salary not hourly. I'd say its a great option to anyone who wants to try teaching in Japan.
I am back now but only cause I want to continue my career. If you have any questions about my experiences with Peppy you can PM me.
I have a few questions, if yourself or anyone else can help.
i)If you wanted to set up your own classes teaching kids do you think you'd be in a position to handle that now, skills wise? Or does teaching at PKC just involve working from a script. Do they use some specific PKC materials or a regular textbook for kids?
ii) Do these guys do much hiring from within Japan? Most of what I've heard about them involves people being interviewed etc overseas.
iii)What's the minimum contract length?
iv)Is the training good, what does it involve? To what extent are you micromanaged by a Japanese supervisor etc while teaching your classes? Did you find the routine fun/boring/stressful etc?
v) What level of "genki" is expected from the teachers?
vi) How many teaching hours did you have per day, how many days a week(5 or 6)? Holidays?
Last edited by scoey; 2012-06-14 at 08:13 PM.
1. They do have a set curriculum to follow. However they encourage you to alter the lesson, so long as the core lesson remains the same. I feel I could start an English class of my own with little difficulty, but that depends more on the person.
2. They do hire locals but for some reason prefer people outside of Japan. I'd say your chances are good if you are in Japan. Call the local office in your area directly and ask for the PS (personal supervisor). The PS (a gaijin) is in charge of the English teachers in his/her area. They seem to be more receptive to the idea of hiring locals than the head office. The offices can be hard to locate so you may need to do some investigating.
3. A year is the minimum contract but you can quit early with no real repercussion as long as you give 3 months notice so they can replace you. After the first year you can re-up in contracts of 3, 6 and 12 months.
4. The training was ok. Kind of short for the amount of information you had to learn but it was acceptable. The worst part of training was long days. You train about 10 hours a day for 2 weeks. That plus commuting made it 12 some days. Once you get to you final schools the time is much shorter. Supervision is done by your PS. They have a review about every 3 months where they watch one class and grade you. They do parent observations twice a year where parents watch the class. At first the routine can be stressful, but it fades quick then it comes down to your personality whether you'll have fun or not. I had a good enough time. Kids are kids, some are great, others are a pain. Most of my students were great.
5. They want off the charts genki which is hard. Basically though, after training you can play it by ear. The young kids like the genki style, the older kids look at you like your crazy. For young classes your expected to learn songs and dances.
6. Classes last an hour and there is 15 minutes between each to see the kids off and prepare for the next class. Weeknights have up to 4 classes (avg of 2-3). Weekends have between 0-8 classes (avg 4-5). It was in my experience some of the lowest hours of any school I saw. You teach at 3-4 schools, one week at each school in a month, rotating from school to school. The 3 weeks that you're not at a school, a Japanese teacher teaches the students. Some schools have lots of class other very few. 2 of my schools were packed. 2 were fairly empty. Sometimes commuting can take a lot of time. My schools were close but my coworkers had schools as far as an 1.5 hours away. Normally only one school is far off and the others are close, they try to be fair. Commuting costs are all covered by the company.
Overall I enjoyed it. I'd suggest the school to others and would return if I didn't want to continue my career of choice.
Last edited by nikorasu; 2012-06-15 at 03:10 AM.