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three language schools to avoid at all cost in Japan
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James Brown



Joined: 02 Oct 2015
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:21 pm    Post subject: three language schools to avoid at all cost in Japan Reply with quote

Four Seasons Language School and Cultural Center in Hamamatsu
- horrific bullying, even by Japanese standards

Shane English School
- no brainer? I saw new teachers crying due to abusive treatment

ILC International Language Center
- overall just an average hellish sweatshop

PM me if you need any info.
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victory7



Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is good info for those new people or even people experienced at teaching English in Japan who are looking for new eikaiwa jobs.

I'm going to add a huge red flag to this thread based on conversations I've had with friends' friends who have been shafted by schools in Tokyo that should basically not exist. Ive listened to their verifiable stories of how teachers at some schools with a number of branches in Tokyo that pay NOTHING, no basic salary, until students take a class, have been messed with.

Do not work for these kinds of schools. Only go for schools that pay at least some basic salary. When native English speakers start to refuse to work for these places, they will improve their conditions or go out of business.
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Lamarr



Joined: 27 Sep 2010
Posts: 190

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of these places are money factories, purely looking to get as much cash off the customers as possible (and keep on getting cash off them for as long as possible), while keeping their outlay and overheads, including staff wages, down. No doubt the proceeds of this racket are quickly shovelled into offshore bank accounts.

That seems to be the rule of thumb at a place like Shane. I heard stories of instructors losing the plot there, two instructors specifically who were canned for having rows with Japanese staff in front of other students, due to the Japanese staff demanding that they do more lessons, and basically just treating them like pieces of meat.

These places can quite easily ditch you any time they like, and get somebody else in fresh off the boat, paying them the bottom rate of pay. My advice would be to get a proper teaching qualification and experience in your home country, and then try to land a decent teaching job in Japan off the back of that.

Avoid eikaiwa and ALT like the plague, unless there really isn't anything else you can do, and you really want to come to Japan. The whole business is nasty and cut-throat at heart (though you may not see this side of it straight away). These places aren't schools, they're simply money-making rackets for the people that finance them (often associated with organized crime: look it up).
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The Angry Brit



Joined: 27 Mar 2014
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would add Lakeland University Japan. They are particularly frustrating because they have the university title but are actually an Eikaiwa. They hire and fire like rotten candy.
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mcsilks



Joined: 03 Feb 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lamarr wrote:
A lot of these places are money factories, purely looking to get as much cash off the customers as possible (and keep on getting cash off them for as long as possible), while keeping their outlay and overheads, including staff wages, down. No doubt the proceeds of this racket are quickly shovelled into offshore bank accounts.

That seems to be the rule of thumb at a place like Shane. I heard stories of instructors losing the plot there, two instructors specifically who were canned for having rows with Japanese staff in front of other students, due to the Japanese staff demanding that they do more lessons, and basically just treating them like pieces of meat.

These places can quite easily ditch you any time they like, and get somebody else in fresh off the boat, paying them the bottom rate of pay. My advice would be to get a proper teaching qualification and experience in your home country, and then try to land a decent teaching job in Japan off the back of that.

Avoid eikaiwa and ALT like the plague, unless there really isn't anything else you can do, and you really want to come to Japan. The whole business is nasty and cut-throat at heart (though you may not see this side of it straight away). These places aren't schools, they're simply money-making rackets for the people that finance them (often associated with organized crime: look it up).


I really do resent these remarks.

Who are you to speak for the whole of the ESL market?

There are some excellent ESL jobs out there and some excellent schools offering lucrative contracts to those who are starting out in their teaching career.

It is the likes of you that help give this type of work a poor name with your negative comments. By all means single out employers and schools, but don't tar all with the same brush.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 522

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcsilks wrote:
There are some excellent ESL jobs out there


Fully agree (although they are getting harder and harder to find).

mcsilks wrote:
and some excellent schools offering lucrative contracts to those who are starting out in their teaching career.


This is very unlikely in my experience. Most 'lucrative' contracts are not ones you can just walk into as a green teacher.
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mcsilks



Joined: 03 Feb 2012
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcsilks wrote:
and some excellent schools offering lucrative contracts to those who are starting out in their teaching career.


This is very unlikely in my experience. Most 'lucrative' contracts are not ones you can just walk into as a green teacher.[/quote]


Perhaps I should be a little more specific with the term 'lucrative'.

For a moderately inexperienced ESL teacher, a salary of ¥280,000 with four weeks of paid holiday is what I would consider to be fairly lucrative. Added to that, there are schools that offer subsidized housing and help with getting settled.

I just think that it is easy to knock the market.

When I started out, I had wonderful employers and should I decide to employ myself, will be a wonderful employer.

The hardest thing to find is good staff and it is more likely that those who have taken the trouble to whinge about their hardships with their employer and thus chastising the market in general, likely need to take a look in the mirror and decide if their employers grievances are indeed merited.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
Mod Team
Mod Team


Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 6312
Location: Need to know basis only.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread is being closely monitored by the Mod Team because of since deleted inappropriate postings containing personal jabs and less than professional language. Future similar postings will also be deleted along with the makers of same.

I kid you not.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcsilks wrote:

I really do resent these remarks.

Who are you to speak for the whole of the ESL market?

There are some excellent ESL jobs out there and some excellent schools offering lucrative contracts to those who are starting out in their teaching career.

It is the likes of you that help give this type of work a poor name with your negative comments. By all means single out employers and schools, but don't tar all with the same brush.


It's actually the criminal, money racket eikaiwas, which make up the majority and most visible part of the eikaiwa industry, that give the business a bad name, not comments like the above, which are merely a reflection of that.

I could name a few smaller eikaiwa schools that offer what you call "lucrative" contracts (280k-yen a month is mildly "lucrative", over and above what criminal eikaiwa rackets like, say, Gaba pay), and that aren't just money rackets, but they're in the minority. These kinds of places also usually look for people with experience and a commitment to Japan, not people "starting out their teaching career".

mcsilks wrote:
The hardest thing to find is good staff and it is more likely that those who have taken the trouble to whinge about their hardships with their employer and thus chastising the market in general, likely need to take a look in the mirror and decide if their employers grievances are indeed merited.


A lot of eikaiwa "teachers" ("professional talker" is a more accurate description) are in Japan to travel and have fun. Eikaiwa is a means to an end for them, not a serious, professional job. Likewise, eikaiwa are often looking for cheap newbies that they can exploit as much as possible. In general, they are not serious, professional operations committed to teaching the English language. They're simply looking to rip people off, so it shouldn't come as any surprise when their employees treat them with the contempt they deserve.

Eikaiwa requires little skill to deliver: all you need to be able to do, as the name suggests, is to hold some semblance of an intelligible English conversation. As with any low-skilled industry, there are all kinds of flotsam and jetsam looking to get in on the act, either as employers or employees. Many people are only coming to Japan for a year or two. Good teachers tend not to stay in eikaiwa too long, hence the dearth of good staff.

Perhaps "serious" eikaiwa schools and drones should take a look in the mirror and ask themselves whether employees' grievances are indeed merited, and that being outraged at the fact that eikaiwa are largely an exploitative money racket is likely because that fact reminds them of themselves.
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Shakey



Joined: 29 Aug 2014
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eikaiwa was never meant to be a career.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing the "big" eikaiwa are good for is to have your fun abroad for a year. Beyond that, the only thing you can do to improve your lot is to try and get promoted to some sort of middle management position, though then you have to start administering the company discipline to the serfs below you, and might find yourself caught between a rock and hard place.

The only thing I'd say in their favour is, if you think you might want to teach English as a longer term career, getting better qualified with TESOL certifications or a Master's further down the line, then eikaiwa are as good a way as any to start out in and get some experience for a couple of years.

One of the more painful aspects of eikaiwa is seeing people stuck there indefinitely in bog standard, dead-end eikaiwa instructor jobs, unable or unwilling to get out. The classic crazed, alcoholic ex-pat, going more and more weird and round the bend. I've seen a few of those, even people with spouses and kids. That is not a position you want to be in.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1373
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People should not be complacent.
I was at a bar this month, talking to a guy who got divorced, has a kid and is stuck in eikaiwa. If he goes back to the US, he will never see his kid again.

People need to make sure they have the skills that employers want, if they are going to stay in this economy. There are too many teachers now, and not as many students as before.
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what you can do if you're still stuck there from the old days. These days, since the pay and conditions have gone down, at least people who get into it are less likely to stay in it, and are more likely to pull their finger out to improve their lot within it if they can, or do something to get out of it completely.
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Vince



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 532
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
People should not be complacent.
I was at a bar this month, talking to a guy who got divorced, has a kid and is stuck in eikaiwa. If he goes back to the US, he will never see his kid again.

That's a discussion that deserves its own thread.

The Transformer wrote:
I don't know what you can do if you're still stuck there from the old days.

When you say "the old days," how far back do you mean?

When I was in eikaiwa, the standard annual pay for full-time eikaiwa was 250K. I had a few coworkers who had been there since the 80s, and they were still on contracts that paid well over 300K and provided flights home every so often. Needless to say, management really wanted to get rid of those people. They were active in the union and fought to keep their positions with their current terms, and they were winning - if you can call being an eikaiwa teacher for that long winning. Maybe some of them were stuck because they were divorced and had kids in Japan.


Last edited by Vince on Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vince wrote:
The Transformer wrote:
I don't know what you can do if you're still stuck there from the old days.

When you say "the old days," how far back do you mean?


I'm thinking before Nova crashed at the end of 2007. Until then, the pay scales were still starting off on 250-260k but going up to well over 300k yen a month, with allowances on top, though the pay raises had been shrinking for the previous 5 years or so.

You see hangovers now from that period at various eikaiwa, on much bigger salaries than anyone starting out since the crashes of 2007-10 (Nova, global recession, Geos) could possibly achieve. It seems like those "hangovers" are gradually being culled. In fact, I wonder how many people will survive at eikaiwa beyond 5 years from now on, now that the new 5-year rule is in force, beyond which companies have to keep renewing your contract.
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