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The Truth about Working at Shane English School
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Is Shane the best of the big schools in Japan?
Yes
25%
 25%  [ 7 ]
No
75%
 75%  [ 21 ]
Total Votes : 28

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c233



Joined: 27 May 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 4:15 pm    Post subject: The Truth about Working at Shane English School Reply with quote

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With the demise of Nova, Shane English School has been on the rise in Japan. Having worked there for a few years, I thought I would give my point of view so potential teachers can have a fair idea of what to expect, both good and bad.

Shane English School was founded by a man called Shane Lipscombe over 30 years ago. It is now one of the larger teaching chains in Japan, with over 200 schools, but is still a lot smaller than Berlitz, ECC, Geos and AEON. Shane Lipscombe seems to quite like himself- his face is on countless posters at the schools and he recently produced a wacky British Vs American English phrasebook and CD with some American bloke called Thane. (It's called 'Shane Vs Thane' and is priced at around 1300 yen if you are interested).

A typical day at Shane involves around 4.5 - 6 hours of teaching, usually scheduled between 12 noon and 9pm. In most cases the day starts with afternoon classes (housewives and retired people) which are usually a relaxed and friendly business. These students are often very friendly and generous, but are also unlikely to be too serious about learning English, preferring to have conversations instead of learning grammar, and often not very keen on homework. As a result, your hard earned TEFL qualifications (CELTA, etc) will not be put to that much use. After one or two afternoon classes, there is usually a 1 hour lunch break. Then, from around 4-7pm there is usually 2-3 hours of children’s classes. These are of course the most tiring of the day (more on them later). The day usually finishes off with 2-3 adult classes, usually one-to-one classes lasting 30 or 40 minutes. These students tend to be a little bit more motivated and serious, and usually consist of businessmen and office workers in their 30’s. By and large this is a very fair reflection of what kind of day/students you can expect to teach at Shane. There aren't many young adult students at all. If you are working in central Tokyo, you can expect more businessmen, and if you are working in the suburbs, you can expect more children. Saturdays are by far the busiest day at Shane, and it is usual to have between 5 and 6 hours of lessons.

As for kids, well when I started at Shane I had a CELTA but ZERO experience of teaching children. In the first week of my time in Japan, Shane provided their own training course for teaching young learner classes. This consisted of looking at a few games and techniques, but it was certainly no CELTYL. However, once I started working at Shane, I soon realised that standards for children’s classes were not set particularly high. This is for three reasons- the first is that there are simply too many classes and not enough time to prepare them, the second is the books, CDs and worksheets are outdated and often missing, and the third is that many students are actually too young to study. Ideally, no students should be below 6 or 7 years, but at Shane some are as young as 3 or even 2! It is not surprising that children of this age (especially boys) do not have the attention span to learn anything and cant even sit still for more than ten seconds. But if people are willing to pay money, why not throw a CELTA qualified teacher in there for half an hour and see what happens? Bosses hardly ever observe classes of kids below age 7, because there isn't much they can suggest. It is nannying- plain and simple. Of course, nearly all schools in Japan are doing this nonsense. It is by NO means unique to Shane.

Overall, Shane probably has a higher standard of teachers than at the big companies (GEOES, etc) and doesn’t treat teachers as salespeople. Unlike at Berlitz, you are free to do what you like in class, and make up your own lesson plans. If you do well when observed, you boss will leave you alone for months on end (even years!) making life very hassle free. The bosses at Shane are easy going on the whole, and do the best they can to help with their limited powers.

Resources at Shane are not great these days. There are no photocopiers, so you can’t create worksheets even if you had time. Teacher’s books are usually ok, but CDs are often unavailable, meaning that large amounts of time have to spent winding tapes.

Shane English school has quite a generous holiday allowance- possibly the best point about working there. In a year, there are only 220 working days (44 weeks of 5 days). By law, teachers are also entitled to another 5 days of discretionary paid leave. However, Shane requires teachers to work cover days and standby days when people are sick. This means you will have to work on one of your days off. In a year, you can expect between 12-17 extra days, bringing your total up to around 230. In the past, teachers were paid extra money for working 6 days a week, but now they are not. I must also add that working a six day week is pretty tiring, especially when long commutes are involved. Sometimes, you may be asked to work two 6 days weeks in a row, and even 3 weeks in a row has happened (not much fun).

An increasing number of teachers are going onto a four day week at Shane (an interesting and useful option). They get paid 80% of full time pay. This a good way to try other kinds of teaching on the days off, spend time on the things you enjoy or see more of Japan. Most teachers who have lived in Japan for a while can survive on this lower wage and find extra income from private lessons.

In terms of money, Shane school has been cutting wages recently. A few years ago, CELTA qualified teachers were paid 270,000 yen per month and 10,000 for every 6 day week they worked. 2 years ago this was reduced to 260,000 plus 5,000 yen for a 6 day week. Now, it is closer to 250,000 yen, and NO money is paid for working a 6 day week (a major complaint for new teachers). There is a quarterly bonus system at Shane. If you work more than 275 hours in an 11 week period, you will be paid about 2,500 yen for every extra hour. Most teachers get around 40,000 yen each quarter. Shane also offers a contract completion bonus- around 60,000 in the first year and 100,000 yen in the second year (this is also being cut!).

Accommodation at Shane is small and expensive. Expect to pay 75,000 yen per month for a single room apartment, possibly with a small bedroom loft, and a very small kitchen and bathroom. You won’t have to pay ‘key money’ (this is an up front payment of 3 months rent that people pay in Japan) so you make a considerable saving in that regard. In all other ways, the Shane accommodation is over priced, and when you wish to leave, you will need to give 3 months notice and also pay a 60,000 yen deposit, which will be refunded to you six weeks later once the bills are dealt with. Everyone moves out of these apartments before long, either into shared houses with other teachers, or into their own private accommodation.

In terms of social life, I would have to say that Shane is not as good as the big companies. At NOVA teachers worked in big schools and shared their breaks together. They shared apartments and had planned social events together. At Shane, they do not have this. Schools have either 1 or 2 teachers, and since your breaks are at different times, you often don’t have much time to chat. In a typical week, most teachers see only 2 or 3 other teachers, and don’t have much time to chat with them. There are no planned social events for teachers, and most teachers at Shane make their friends during the initial young learners training course. As a result, working at Shane can be a bit lonely and boring for some unlucky teachers. Another problem is that new teachers are unable to meet experienced teachers and get vital tips and advice from them.

In summary, the best things about Shane English School are the (relatively) generous holidays, friendly students, friendly receptionists and easy going bosses. Unlike at the big corporation schools, your boss is not going to be an ex army sergeant who shouts orders, hassles you, makes you take out the trash and generally treats you like an idiot. At Shane, you are a teacher, never forced to be a salesperson. You can make your own lessons and it is an easy place to work.

The bad points at Shane are the poor accommodation, lack of social connections between teachers and the tiring six day weeks. Until a few years ago, money wasn't too big a problem at Shane. Now things are changing. Last year, when presented with a new contract, I was only offered an extra 1,600 yen per month (not even enough to buy a movie ticket in Japan!). At the same time, students are being charged increasingly large amounts for lessons and books. In the end, I am sure Mr. Shane himself knows where all the money is going. If anyone else knows, please post your comments...[color=darkblue][/color][size=18][/size][size=12][/size]
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Sour Grape



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 240

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep - that's quite a good summary. Key money can depend enormously. I wouldn't say 3 months is the norm - most places I've seen have one or two months key money and a deposit. But it's a moot point.

I disagree about the social aspect. Most teachers finish more or less the same time, and Shane holidays are all at the same time, the five days discretionary leave apart, so I had plenty of time to do things with other teachers when I was there.

When I was there, now seven years ago, CELTA people were paid 260k a month. If what you said is true, looks like they upped it, then lowered it again, and are now reducing it further. I didn't know that.

Anyway, it was a balanced account - hope people thinking of working for Shane read it.
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Never Ceased To Be Amazed



Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 3500
Location: Shhh...don't talk to me...I'm playin' dead...

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shane sux!
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Hoser



Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 694
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a former Nova employee, I can say that while I usually had another teacher to eat lunch with, NEVER did all the teachers have the same lunch break.
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GIR



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hoser wrote:
As a former Nova employee, I can say that while I usually had another teacher to eat lunch with, NEVER did all the teachers have the same lunch break.

True, but the OP didn't say "lunch break", just break. Which we did all have together, in between every class, and it did offer a nice opportunity to socialize.
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untmdsprt



Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 16
Location: Hino, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently had an interview with them and they pay 13,000/day, or 2500/hour. They had quoted 15,000/day or 3000/hour in their ad on Gaijinpot.com. The difference is a "bonus." From my experience, bonuses are not to be relied on when figuring out your salary to pay your bills.

The interviewer was insistent that I work on a Sat because it's their busiest day. As long as they set a part-time schedule and stick to it then everything will be alright.

The other interview I had was another ALT position, and it sounded like yet another bunch of BS I'll have to go through just to have a paycheck. Sad
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ShioriEigoKyoushi



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 364
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by ShioriEigoKyoushi on Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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untmdsprt



Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 16
Location: Hino, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ad from MOD EDIT

Part-time teaching positions for qualified EFL teachers in and around Tokyo.
Training course provided.
Enquiries accepted from NATIVE SPEAKERS of English only.
Competitive daily rates
Travel Costs paid
Renewable six-month contracts
Adult-only teaching
Teaching schedules full day Saturday and/or Sunday and weekday evenings
Daily rates (Weekend days) of JPY 15,000 and hourly rates (evenings) of JPY 3,000 paid

Hmm, a 6 month contract. Not bad to check them out. I'll have to save as much as I can though during this time. If I can keep them to 28 hours a week, I'll be happy to put up with any BS concerning classes. The bonus I think was maybe an end of month attendance thing. I haven't signed any contracts so I'll know more if/when they give me one.

Personally, if I could get a lot of private students on my own, I wouldn't deal with companies.


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ShioriEigoKyoushi



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 364
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by ShioriEigoKyoushi on Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 1046
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To all those who answered the poll: I'm very interested to hear your reasons. If Shane isn't the best of the big schools, which one is, and why?
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Sour Grape



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 240

PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Times may well have changed, but when I was working there, a long time ago, any hours taught over and above the six hours teaching that consituted a working day counted as overtime, and were paid at a rate of 3000 yen an hour. Teachers could decline those extra hours if they wanted

To get a bonus, which I think was paid at 2500 yen an hour, you had to accumulate more than 275 hours teaching in a quarter. I think that the overtime hours did NOT count towards the bonus.

If you taught - not just worked, but actually taught - on six days a week, you got 5000yen for that extra day.

That's how the bonus system was when I left. Perhaps someone working there now will explain how it is now.

I enjoyed my time there, and have little to complain about.
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SweetTea



Joined: 27 May 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to teach adults. Where do I sign up? Razz
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greenwing



Joined: 31 May 2009
Posts: 13
Location: Liverpool, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just had my departure date from Shane bumped back from July to an as-yet-unspecified time.

Am a teensy bit gutted, but trying to keep smiling! Anyone else in the same boat?
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ShioriEigoKyoushi



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 364
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Last edited by ShioriEigoKyoushi on Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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greenwing



Joined: 31 May 2009
Posts: 13
Location: Liverpool, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe they're thinking if people get bumped back a couple of times (this is my second!) they'll be so keen to get to Japan they won't mind the six day weeks...
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